However much we would like to be able to offer a snow guarantee for some destinations, it always remains a bit of a gamble exactly where gets the snow and when. Even areas that usually receive vast volumes of powder can have bad seasons, even those with year round snow fields on glaciers aren't much fun if there's been no fresh snowfall and the surface is hard and icy.
But over years and decades some ski areas do consistently perform better than others for snowfall and we at Skiinfo thought we would create a top 10 of those places we know are, normally - or at least on average - the snowiest.
This exercise last seems to have been undertaken by a famous American travel publisher five years ago and it was interesting to see what has changed and what hasn't.
Those averages have tweaked a little bit and it seems that with 19 resorts in North America in the top 20 they created there was something of an American bias. In truth however it can be hard to find reliable data from resorts outside North America that are in the world's snowiest regions - and those are typically in the Himalayas, Japan and Western North America. We did manage to find some snowfall data from other famous Japanese ski areas besides Niseko wjhich gave us another top 10 entry and while figures from Gulmarg in the Indian Himalayas were hard to verify, it appears to deserve to be in there too. There may be other Japanese resorts that should be in the top 10 if the data was obtainable.
The Andes are famed for their powder snow in the northern hemisphere's summer but the stats show it doesn't fall quite so abundantly as in those three super-snowy regions, similarly the Alps and other mountain ranges around the world just don't get so much.
Quality or Quantity?
Some areas claim to have, usually, lighter, fluffier snow than elsewhere in the world and for many skiers and boarders this issue of quality is much more important that how deep that snow is lying - 10 feet or 20 feet of it makes little difference. Indeed when the powder snow was ‘neck deep' in parts of California in winter 2010-11 some people reported the experience rather alarming, like drowning in snow.
The Top 10
1. Mt Baker, Washington State, USA - Average 19.06m per season. Record season was ‘98-‘99 when received 28.5m of snow. This winter snow depths here passed 8m (27 feet) earlier this month.
2. Alyeska, Alaska, USA - Average 16.07m per season. Based on 31 year average: http://www.alyeskaresort.com/mountain/about-stats-lift-info.aspx
3. Alta, Utah, USA - Average 15.59m per season. Based on 5 year average 06/07 - 10/11: www.alta.com/pages/snowfallhistory.php
4. Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan - Average 15.11m per season.
5. Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada - Average 15m per season.
6. Nozawa Onsen, Japan - Average 14.44m per season.
7. Gulmarg, India - Average 14m per season. During the 2004-05 season there was 20m of snow.
8. Kirkwood, California, USA - Average 13.96m per season. Kirkwood received 20.4m of snow during the 2005-2006 ski season.
9. Grand Targhee, Wyoming, USA - Average 12.7m per season. More detail: www.grandtarghee.com/the-mountain/stats/snow-history.php
10. Snowbird, Utah - Average 12.5m per season. More detail: www.snowbird.com/about/mountainstats.html
Editor's Note: All data was collected in March 2012 using available data. Averages may be based on different time periods - the shortest we are aware of was over 5 years, the longest over more than 30 years.