The Top 10 Snowiest Ski Resorts in North America:

SnowBrains |
Alyeska Sunset, AK
Alyeska Sunset, AK. Alyeska has the snow and the terrain and the views.

It’s no secret that the West gets the most snow in North America.  Cold fronts come down from the Gulf of Alaska, hit our North-South oriented mountain ranges, and orographic lifting does the rest.  There are 10 ski resort in the west that average over 500” of snow.  Alyeska and Baker average over 600″ of snow per year.  Alyeska has already gotten 58″ of snowfall this season…

Sometimes, we don’t realize how lucky we are.  This year, we do know how lucky we are.

The list below displays the largest annual snowfall averages in North America per ski resort.

LARGEST SNOWFALL AVERAGES IN NORTH AMERICA:

#1 – Mt. Baker, WA = 655” (1,140” in 1999)

Mt. Baker sidecountry = Mt. Herman with flutes of snow. photo: lee rentz
Mt. Baker sidecountry = Mt. Herman with flutes of snow. Baker dominates.  photo: lee rentz

 

#2 – Alyeska Resort, AK = 650” (978” in 2012)

Alyeska, AK in December 2015. photo:
Alyeska, AK in December 2015. photo: ralph kristopher

 

#3 – Alta, UT = 563″

Devil’s Castle. Alta, UT. photo: MelYW
Devil’s Castle. Alta, UT.   Alta gets plenty of the white fluff.photo: MelYW

 

#4 – Timberline Lodge, OR = 551”

Timberline Lodge, OR
Timberline Lodge, OR.   Buried…again.

 

#5 – Sugar Bowl, CA = 500″

The Palisades at Sugar Bowl, CA. The gnarliest in-bounds terrain in Lake Tahoe.
The Palisades at Sugar Bowl, CA. The gnarliest in-bounds terrain in Lake Tahoe.

 

#5 – Kirkwood, CA = 500″

Kirkwood’s Cirque: the gnarliest out of bounds terrain in Tahoe. photo: actionimagery.com
Kirkwood’s Cirque: the gnarliest out of bounds terrain in Tahoe. photo: actionimagery.com

 

#5 – Snowbird, UT = 500” (record of 743” in 2011)

Snowbird sidecountry. American Fork. photo: mikesandy.net
Snowbird sidecountry is endless and ridiculous. American Fork. photo: mikesandy.net

 

#5 – Solitude, UT = 500”

fantasy ridge, Solitude, UT
Fantasy ridge, Solitude, UT

 

#5 – Brighton, UT = 500”

Brighton ski resort. photo: Dr. Stephen Mascaro
Brighton ski resort. photo: Dr. Stephen Mascaro

#5 – Grand Targhee, WY = 500”

Grand Targhee, WY
Grand Targhee, WY.  Snow in the face land.

 

#6 – Crystal Mountain, WA = 486″

Crystal Mountain in October. photo: kim kirchner
Crystal Mountain in October.  This place gets snow. photo: kim kirchner

#7 – Stevens Pass, WA = 460″

Stevens Pass hiking. photo: new york times
Stevens Pass hiking. photo: new york times

 

#8 – Jackson Hole, WY = 459″

Jackson Hole, WY.
Jackson Hole, WY.  ‘nuff said.

 

#9 – Squaw Valley, CA = 450” (record of 811” in 2011)

Squaw Valley Tram Face. No, no THIS is the gnarliest out of bounds terrain in Tahoe...
Squaw Valley Tram Face. No, no THIS is the gnarliest out of bounds terrain in Tahoe…

 

#9 – Alpine Meadows, CA = 450”

Alpine Meadows protected hiking zones.
Alpine Meadows protected hiking zones.

 

**Note:  All of these snowfall averages were taken from the websites of the ski areas themselves.  There are actually 15 ski resorts listed.


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42 thoughts on “The Top 10 Snowiest Ski Resorts in North America:

  1. Hey guys,
    I’m a bit conflicted here. I’m stoked that you liked my photo (#5 Brighton), but upset you didn’t ask permission to use it.
    How about we call it even if you spell my last name correctly (it’s Woodard, not Woodward), and instead of linking to my family website, you link this snowboard video I did last year –

    Thanks,
    – Jake

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    +29 (29 votes)
    1. Good call on the inland BC ski areas. Those are powder stashes. Had two of the best skiing weekends ever at Whitewater, BC. Great to see Crystal Mountain and Mt. Baker get some love in Washington State. Those are two pretty reliable places to ski a good long season. Long days in the Spring too!

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      +1 (1 vote)
  2. Been to 11 of them, worked at two of them, I sit presently within 5 miles of four of them but I have to toss out that at Snowbird where I work our snowfall is measured at the bottom of the tram, I know that some of the others are measured further up their resorts. They’re all great though and I miss Kirkwood.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    +3 (3 votes)
    1. To keep it real… that’s a very noteworthy fact (measured at the BOTTOM of the hill at the Bird.) You are right, most hills measure way up high. Jackson gets something like 162″ at the bottom of the hill. Usually its the upper half that is working. Seems like the Bird should get extra credit for their transparency and honesty with measuring. Another point, I think it’s somewhat common to claim the first few feet that fall in September that ALWAYS melts away before the real snowpack begins to accumulate this time of year. I think Jackson already is claiming a couple feet that I watched come and go from a few early season cycles this year. For Hydrologyists, this matters, for skiers, it is kinda padding the numbers and borderline false claim. Anyway, props to the Bird, I’d bet (like any mountain) that the upper mtn pulls in a fair share more than the bottom, and they could boast higher numbers if they wanted pretty easily. Props for keepn it real.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      +1 (1 vote)
    1. 500 is the magic marketing number Dave. However out east, 200 is the magic number haha….our bad luck/geography.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      0 (0 votes)
  3. Don’t know how Crystal Mt fudged their way in here? They only average about 350″/yr being in the shadow of Mt Rainier. Storms from the south or north nail them though.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 (0 votes)
  4. OOPS !! I think you may have forgot about that country between yours called Canada and a little place called BC ! Otherwise I believe Mt washington, Whistler, Revelstoke, Whitewater, Shames and Powder King would be on there. Might want to rename the list to the snowiest in the USA.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    +4 (4 votes)
  5. Baker might technically have the most snow but it is a tiny ski area meaning that fresh tracks (even in the backcountry) only last about an hour. On top of that, most of the snow that comes in there is pretty mangy and wet. Definitely one of the most overrated ski resorts, it’s not all about numbers.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    +1 (1 vote)
  6. “There’s some funny math going on here. SIX places with EXACTLY 500 inches on average?
    0 (0 votes)
    Reply

    wilson of powder says:
    November 2, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    500 is the magic marketing number Dave. ……”

    “Jackson gets something like 162″ at the bottom of the hill. Usually its the upper half that is working. Seems like the Bird should get extra credit for their transparency and honesty with measuring. Another point, I think it’s somewhat common to claim the first few feet that fall in September that ALWAYS melts away before the real snowpack begins to accumulate this time of year.”

    I have drawn all of the points above to the attention of SnowBrains’ editors.

    If you want the real numbers, see my website bestsnow.net. Bestsnow.net is sourced from monthly snow records by snow safety personnel at the resorts. All snowfall totals are November 1 – April 30 and at mid-mountain locations where possible. In a few cases upper and lower measurements are averaged to get a mid-mountain total.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 (0 votes)
  7. Notice the Stevens Pass Photo shows 3 people hiking for turns without a stitch of safety gear. In the picture, the people are following the route that leads to the infamous Tunnel Creek avalanche that took the lives of 3 revered locals. C’mon snowsports publication editors/writers, let’s be responsible.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 (0 votes)

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