These North America Ski Resorts Receive the Most Snow

Newsroom Best Of Topics These North America Ski Resorts Receive the Most Snow

It’s no secret that powder days are something of the “holy grail” of skiing. Many skiers are chomping at the bit for powder days once the first snowstorm arrives. But it begs the question, what ski resorts receive the most snow each year? It should come as no surprise that the ski resorts of Western North America see the most annual snow. Yet each ski season has its surprises.

So how do North America ski resorts stack up historically? Read on as we explore some of North America’s snowiest ski resorts, and read Meteorologist Chris Tomer’s long-range forecast for insight into this season.

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The Snowiest Ski Resorts In North America

The snowiest ski area in North America is Alyeska, Alaska, where the annual snow dump on the ski slopes averages 669 inches. It has jumped as high as 848 inches, but that’s not the norm. Nonetheless, most seasons see well over 400 inches of snow. So if your decision is based on whether you can guarantee you will find natural snow during your winter vacation, head to the Great Land (which is what Alyeska means in Aleut). Alyeska is located just 30 miles from Anchorage in Girdwood and offers 1,400 skiable acres, steep and deep with plenty of room to roam.

Alyeska Alaska at night.
Alyeska Resort, Alaska. @Dave Bauer

Fittingly, we head to Canada next, where British Columbia is no slouch in the snow department. Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia logs in with an average snowfall of 426 inches, while Revelstoke checks in at 447 inches. British Columbia is the snowiest Canadian province, by far, and the others don’t come close. The Ski Big 3 resorts in Banff, Alberta, for example, get about half the snowfall of BC’s snowiest resorts.

The Snowiest Ski Resorts In the U.S.

Can the U.S. ski resorts compete? Yes, many can. In fact, Mt. Baker in the North Cascades of Washington is considered one of the snowiest ski areas in the world, where it averages a whopping yearly snowfall of more than 450 inches. Need more proof? Mt. Baker broke the world record for snowfall in a single season: 1,140 inches, or 95 feet, in the 1998-99 season. The ski area’s summit elevation of 5,089 feet delivers skiers and riders 1,500 feet of vertical. As you can see, mountains don’t have to reach the sky to pull in all that snow.

Few other U.S. ski resorts come that close. However, Utah did during the 2022-23 season, with multiple resorts breaking their all-time snowfall records. Little Cottonwood Canyon is where Utah ski resorts like Alta and Snowbird collect snow by the meter. Alta averages 350 inches each season, while next door neighbor Snowbird accumulates more than 400 inches. Both Snowbird and Alta blew past their all-time snowfall records last season, with Snowbird seeing more than 800 inches of snow, and Alta receiving more than 900 inches of snow.

Skier skiing down Snowboard on a bluebird day
Bluebird Day at Snowbird ©ScottMarkewitz

Do those numbers hold up across Utah? Not exactly. The resorts in Summit Country – Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley – get about 200 inches less than those in Little Cottonwood due to a difference of about 1,500 feet in altitude. Park City and Deer Valley both broke their all-time snowfall records last season, with Park City and Deer Valley both surpassing 500 inches of snow. No matter how you cut through it, there is indeed truth to Utah’s claim of having “the greatest snow on earth.”

The most popular ski state is Colorado, where Wolf Creek, near Pagosa Springs, reigns supreme, averaging 300-plus inches of snow each winter. Crested Butte near Gunnison averages 200-plus inches. Winter Park – the Denver favorite – is a sure bet for good snow averaging 300-plus inches, while early-to-open Loveland on I-70 picks up 300-plus inches on average. Vail and Aspen average around 200 inches of snow annually, while Steamboat hits an average of 260 inches of snow annually.

And what about California? Mammoth Mountain on average receives 400 inches of snow. It doubled that by the end of the 2022-23 season, with 700″ at the Main Lodge and nearly 900″ at the summit. Further north, Palisades Tahoe also saw more than 700 inches of snow. Like Mammoth, Palisades Tahoe receives 400 inches of snow on average.

Snowmaking rules the East

You won’t find many record breakers in the Midwest, but the temperatures make snowmaking a guarantee even if the natural stuff isn’t all that exciting. Still, Michigan’s tough skiing Mt. Bohemia averages some 270 inches, aided by generous lake-effect snow. Boyne Mountain, by comparison, averages 119 inches.

The Eastern part of the country won’t set many snowfall records despite those occasional Nor ‘easters that are often unpredictable. But the averages are more than sufficient with many ski resorts in this region having the most sophisticated and powerful snowmaking systems in the world. Killington – the beast of the east in Central Vermont – averages 250 inches, while Stowe to the north accumulates about the same. Sugarloaf, Maine checks in at 200 inches of snow on average.

You be the judge. You can choose the deepest surface and the snowiest resort, or decide that no matter where you ski or ride these days because of high-tech snowmaking you’ll be just fine.

Header: @Ben W. Murdock Park City Mountain Resort

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