The 3 Best U.S. Snow Stakes For Winter Hype

Seth Tuuri | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Steamboat snow stake. | Credit: Steamboat

Snow guns are blasting, the temperatures are in the teens, and the snowstorms are starting to dump. This could only mean one thing: the 2023/24 ski season has started. Before Arapahoe Basin in Colorado opened for its first tracks on Sunday, skiers and snowboarders watched the snow pile up on the resort’s snow stake online.

What is a snow stake you ask? For those uninitiated: a snow stake is a snow-measuring device placed around ski resorts. Often times you’ll find several, if a resort is large and spread across several mountains. Snow stakes are used to track the accumulation of 24 hours and/or sometimes track snowfall amounts from a snowstorm. The Snowbird, Utah, stake for example only shows 24-hour accumulations, while the Aspen Snowmass, Colorado, stakes show both the amount of snow that has fallen in the last 24 hours as well as the amount of snow that has been produced by a single storm. Either way, snow stakes are fun to watch. They usually look cool and can be a useful tool to help resort-goers’ expectations for the next day of riding.

aspen snowman's, colorado,
Aspen Snowmass snow stake. | Credit: Aspen Snowmass

Reddit users on the page r/skiing decided that Mt. Bachelor, Oregon, has the worst snow stake. This stake is nothing fancy, it is a white stick with black numbers on it, counting to 36-inches and it shows you the total accumulation only. This snow stake is not broken, and it does not misinform customers about the amount of snow accumulated, although to be fair the white stick can be hard to read. Hence the unfortunate title of ‘worst snow stake’. Someone at Mt. Bachelor must have read the Reddit thread because it has since been replaced with a much nicer looking red and white Mt. Bachelor labeled stake.

Mt. Bachelor Snow Stake
Snow Stake at Mt. Bachelor | Credit: Reddit r/skiing

This of course begs the question: if this stake is the worst, even though it works, what attributes make up the best stake, and who has it? I believe two factors make up the ‘best snow stake’:

  1. It needs to measure snow accurately
  2. It needs to be visually appealing.

With these criteria in mind, here are the 3-best snow stakes.

#3 Snowbird, UT, Snow Stake

The Snowbird, Utah, snow stake is simple, yet iconic.  It measures 24-hour of snowfall and gives you a good sense of the conditions for the next day. It’s also tough to beat a stake with such an iconic logo set behind a bunch of snow!

Snowbird Snow Stake with snow
15-Inches of snow piled up on the Snowbird snow stake | Credit: Snowbird Resort

#2 Buttermilk, CO, Snow Stake 

The Buttermilk, Colorado, snow stake is a stake that shows both storm accumulation and the amount of snowfall during the last 24 hours. It is a good looking snow stake on a rustic wood background finished with the clean and sleek Buttermilk logo. The bold Hublot watch face adds a bit of flare,  and at night everything lights up and makes this stake stand out from the rest.

Snow Stake at Buttermilk Mountain
Buttermilk Mountain snow stake glistening at night | Credit: Aspen Snowmass

#1 Copper Mountain, CO, Snow Stake

The Best Snow Stake Award goes to the one and only ‘SEND-O-METER’ at Copper Mountain, Colorado. The stake has a clean blue and black finish, is easy to read, and this stake tells you exactly what you will be getting when you show up to the chair in the morning. This stake measures snow and looks pretty cool. To really seal the deal, the SEND-O-METER gives awesome descriptions on the amount of snow coming down. It tells when it is going to be an fun filled powder day or a mega deep day. Once it reaches the Copper Mountain logo, it is to be assumed it will be the best day ever.

Snow stake located at Copper Mountain
SEND-O-METER at  Copper Mountain | Credit: Copper Mountain

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