Snowiest ski resorts in the world | Montec Magazine

The problem with asking which resorts are the snowiest is that snowfall accumulation fluctuates from year to year. It’s affected by the altitude and vertical of the resorts in question, along with a host of other factors! 

Usually, what we’re talking about when we say the ‘snowiest’ resort is total snowfall rather than base depth or snow pack. Total snowfall is the overall amount of snow that falls throughout the season. Below, we’ve taken the average figures from across multiple seasons to provide the most accurate numbers possible!

So, if you’re looking to learn more about which resorts get the most white stuff every year, buckle up: it’s going to be a pow-heavy ride! And what better way to get prepped for chest-deep powder than with a new ski jacket or pair of ski pants?

Snowiest ski resorts in the world

1. Alyeska, USA


Alyeska in Alaska is the snowiest and most northern resort on this list. Located just outside Anchorage in the Chugach State Park, ‘Alaska’s Favorite Ski Resort’ claims some big snow numbers despite its (relatively) compact size. With 1,500 acres of skiable terrain, Alyeska isn’t small by any means. However, with a peak elevation of just 840 meters/2,756 feet, it’s not as tall as the other resorts on this list — not by a long way. Yet, despite the lifts only reaching this humble height, touring routes take you as high as 1,200 meters/3,937 feet and open up some of the best lift-accessible backcountry in the world.

Now for the fun part — Alyeska claims a mighty 16.9 meters (55.4 feet) of average snowfall yearly, making it the snowiest ski resort on earth! And because of the low elevation, that’s both at the top and bottom of the mountain. It’s unsurprising considering that the Valdez and Tordrillo backcountry zones in the Alaskan mountains are some of the snowiest locales on earth, receiving 900-1000 inches of annual snowfall — that’s 22-25 meters/72-82 feet of the stuff every winter!

2. Mt. Baker, USA

Mt. Baker Ski Area in Washington state is built on the fabled Mount Baker itself, a dormant stratovolcano measuring 3,288 meters/10,787 feet in height. Surrounded by glaciers and close to the coast, it’s perfectly situated to receive a continual stream of wet air sweeping out of the Gulf of Alaska.

Once it lands in the US’s wettest city (Seattle), it’s pushed upwards, rapidly cooling inside of Mt. Baker’s very own micro-climate bubble, creating the lightest, fluffiest, and most abundant powder anywhere (16.8 m/55.1 ft. in total annually to be exact). With 1,000 skiable acres and some insane off-piste to be found, Mt. Baker should be one of the first stops on any powder hound’s pilgrimage.

3. Niseko, Japan

Niseko United, Hokkaido

Sneaking into third place, it’s Niseko in Japan! Known to those in the know as Japow for a reason, it’s no surprise we’d need to head east for our next stop. But unlike the towering Mt. Baker, Niseko tops at 1,308 meters/4,291 feet tall and gets 15.1 m/49.5 feet of average snowfall yearly! Though it’s an amazing resort known for its wide-open tree runs and powder so light you’d swear it’s fake! 

Japan receives so much of the white stuff because of its situation off the coast of Russia. Thanks to predominating global air currents, frigid, dry air comes across the continent, sweeping over the Sea of Japan, picking up lots of moisture before hitting Japan’s mainland, shooting upwards, and creating the same sort of precipitation cycle that Mt. Baker enjoys. The results end up much the same, aka jaw-dropping!

4. Revelstoke, Canada

We head to Revelstoke in British Columbia for our next stop to enjoy the 15 m/49.2 feet of yearly snowfall. Forming part of the legendary Powder Highway, Revelstoke (The Real Stoke!) is landlocked in the center of British Columbia, just on the edge of the massive Glacier National Park. Revelstoke’s mountain enjoys a north-western facing aspect, which means it catches all the prevailing weather coming down from the north like an oversized butterfly net!

As weather systems sweep down from the coast of Alaska and northern British Columbia, they continue to humidify over the province’s dense, unending boreal forests. Then, they rapidly cool and bunch as they reach the wall of mountains that Revelstoke nestles at the base of. The result is lots of snow even when the other resorts in the province are left high and dry.

5. Nozawaonsen, Japan

Nozawaonsen, Japan

We head back to Japan for number five on our list. Nozawaonsen is just a little taller than Niseko, topping out at 1,650 meters/5,413 feet. But, unlike Niseko, it’s not on Japan’s north island of Hokkaido with all the other resorts. Instead, it’s just four hours outside of Tokyo itself!

Nozawaonsen’s relatively coastal location and elevation mean it gets the same snow conditions as its famous sibling (meaning 14.4 m/47.2 feet of average snowfall annually), but is a lot easier to access. With a variety of runs and terrain at its disposal, Nozawaonsen is a great resort often overlooked by visitors searching for insane powder!

6. Gulmarg, India

If you read our guide to the highest resorts in the world, you might remember Gulmarg in India. It’s a small resort in the Himalayas, to the far north of the country. And thanks to its breathtaking elevation, it receives an abundance of light, fluffy powder season-in, season-out.

Official snow depths are tough to come by. Still, eyewitnesses and adventure-seeking travelers all say that Gulmarg is never short of fresh snow! The most accurate reports put it at around 14 meters (45.9 feet) of average snowfall per season, making it one of the snowiest resorts in the world.

7. Alta/Snowbird, USA

Alta/Snowbird, North America

Alta-Snowbird in Utah is a powder hound’s dream, scoring a whopping 13 meters/42.6 feet of average annual snowfall. Of course, Utah is no stranger to snow, and everyone knows that. But if you’re hunting for the snowiest of them all, it’s got to be Alta/Snowbird.

Alta/Snowbird stretches to 3,353 meters at the peak (1,1000 feet) and has nearly 3,280 feet of vertical! The resort’s website boasts a banner that says ‘Welcome to the 500” club!’. Considering at the time of writing, they’re already well over 500 inches (12.7 meters/41.6 feet) of snowfall for the year – and there’s still nearly two months – their promise of endless powder is one they’re not likely to break!

8. Brighton/Solitude, USA

Brighton in Utah gets up to a hefty 3,200 meters at its peak (10,498 feet) and offers over 1,000 acres of skiable terrain. And, just like the ‘Bird above, Brighton also likes to boast about being in the 500” club! Though this seems like a conservative estimate looking at recent years, and as such, Brighton is definitely a good bet if you’re hunting for some powder as they get 13 m/42.6 feet of snow every season.

With a central location and plenty of terrain for all levels, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more well-rounded resort with more stash to hunt down. With three separate bowls/faces to ride – offering plenty of steep and deep tree runs and open pow fields – Brighton is a rider favorite for good reason!

9. Jackson Hole, USA

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort - Unsplash

If you were wondering when the Wyoming's own J-Hole would pop up, it’s now! Jackson is a legendary name in the ski world. Sitting with a peak elevation of 3,100 meters/10,170 feet, it’s easy to see why so many riders head here every year — and that’s not even talking about the 41.6 feet of annual snowfall they receive.

12.7 meters/41.6 feet is enough to engulf most houses and then some, and Jackson gets that year-in, year out. Corbet’s Couloir is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg here, so if you’re visiting, bring some spare underwear — J-Hole’s terrain is nothing if not daunting!

10. Stevens Pass, USA

Finishing our list of snowed-under resorts is Stevens Pass, Washington. Located fairly close to Mt. Baker, you’ll find this small resort off Highway 2. With a peak elevation of just 1,780 meters/5,839 feet, it’s not as tall as others on this list. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not drowning in snow.

A quieter, more remote resort, you’ll discover plenty of untouched powder and short lift lines here. So, if you want to get off the beaten track and beat the crowds – but still find endless fun and freshies – Stevens Pass is a great place to go, clocking in with an average of 12.2 meters/40 feet of snow annually!

Honorable mentions

While these resorts aren’t official or don’t have specific snowfall measurements, it’s still worth knowing they’re out there, accumulating more snow than you can even ski!

Tasman Glacier, New Zealand

Tasman Glacier, New Zealand

Tasman Glacier is on New Zealand’s south island, near Christchurch. The largest glacier in the country, its upper slopes supposedly accumulate 50-100 meters/164-328 feet of average snowfall per year but remain totally inaccessible all year round. While these figures aren’t ‘official’, several sites cite them as accurate. So … who can say! Myth or fact?

Gassan Ski Resort, Japan

Gassan Ski Resort in Japan is only open from April to July, and that’s simply because, throughout the winter, there’s just too much snow to ski! Reporting up to 50 meters/164 feet annually (3-4 times what Niseko receives!), it’s just a few runs, two handle tows, and a double chair. Not much to see or ski, but amazing nonetheless!

Valdez Mountains, USA

The Valdez Mountains in Alaska are more of a heli-ski destination than a resort. Still, they report 25 meters/82 feet of snow every season for intrepid riders to enjoy!

Coast Mountains, Canada

Coast Mountains, Canada

The Coast Mountains of British Columbia, where Whistler is located, report more and more snow the further north you go. Lots of heli-skiing operations venture out there, and supposedly up to 25 meters/82 feet can accumulate in a good year, with at least 15 meters/49.2 feet falling consistently.

Wrapping up

Well, that’s it, the snowiest resorts in the world! Whether you’re planning a trip or just squinting upwards at the sky trying to gauge how gargantuan 25 meters/82 feet of snow actually is, there’s no doubt that a snowy ski resort is unlike anything else. Button up those skirts and gaiters – it’s about to get deep!

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