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The snowiest ski resorts in the world

The snowiest ski resorts in the world

Posted by Simon Tjernström

2019-10-31 10:35

Do you feel clueless trying to plan your winter vacation? Here are the ski resorts with the most snowfall historically in the world.

You might be surprised, this is not your mega-ski-resorts with tons of eager skiers visiting each year.

Friendly warning. Snowfall averages is fun to compare but should be treated with some caution. The numbers are often provided be the resort and published by the marketing department. As you easily can tell, the numbers differ quite drastically all over the web. And, not all measurements are made on the same altitude. It's more normal to measure snowfall on resort level in Europe than America for instance.

These numbers are based on a 5-year-average.

With that being said.

Here are the snowiest ski resorts in the world


1. Alyeska, Alaska, USA

If you think of Alaska I bet you think of heliskiing. But this isn't Valdez or Haines. The lift bound terrain Alyeska offers, you won't find many other places. Once the upper mountain opens (often February or March), the terrain is as big as it gets. Cliffs, couloirs, bowls and powder fields. All common in the North Face and Upper Bowl regions.

Alyeska is located in Chugach State Park, in a glacier carved valley in the heart of Girdwood.

The nearest airport is Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC). From there, it’s about an hour to the ski resort.

Alyeska.jpgPhoto: Alyeska Resort
  • Top Elevation: 1,201m
  • Average snowfall: 17m
  • Base elevation: 76m
  • Vertical drop: 762m
  • Lifts: 7

2. Mt Baker, Washington State, USA

Mt Baker may be known to you for holding the record of the greatest recorded snowfall in one season with an astonishing 29 meters (recorded during the 1998–99 season).

For being the unofficial snowiest ski resort in the world (yes, we know they're second on our list), it is rather small. Located in the North Cascades of Washington the skiable elevation is only 484 meter. But the experience is bigger than the numbers. With 1,000 skiable acres along with a number of backcountry trails that can be accessed from the chairlifts, you’re bound to find an area that fits your riding style.

Mt Baker.jpgPhoto: Wikipedia
  • Top Elevation: 1551m
  • Average snowfall: 16,28
  • Base elevation: 1067m
  • Vertical drop: 484m
  • Lifts

3. Niseko, Japan

Known for light snow and sparse forests. The Niseko Ski Resort is located in Hokkaido, 2.5hrs drive from Chitose Airport. What is referred to as Niseko is actually 4 interlinked ski resorts – Grand Hirafu, Hanazono, Niseko Village and An’nupuri.

Niseko.jpgPhoto: Niseko Ski Tours
  • Top Elevation: 1,308m
  • Average snowfall: 15,1m
  • Base elevation: 260 m
  • Lifts: 3 Gondolas, 30 Lifts
  • Slopes: 30
  • Longest run: 5600 m

4. Nozawa Onsen, Japan

The least famous of the two ski resorts on this list. where monkeys famously bathe in natural hot springs. Located in Nagano.
Stretching from the top to the foot of Mt. Kenashi (1,650m), Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort boasts an altitude differential of 1,085 meters and a total ski slope area of 297 hectares.

Nozawa Onsen.jpgPhoto: Ski Safari
  • Top Elevation: 1,650m
  • Average snowfall: 14,44
  • Base elevation: 565m
  • Vertical drop: 1,085m
  • Lifts: Gondola lifts (2), regular ski lifts (18), moving walkway (1)
  • Longest run: 10,000m

5. Gulmarg, India

Gulmarg Resort is a huge mountain accessed by a gondola. The lift tops out at about 4,000m. Add a couple of hundred meters and you reach the summit of Mt Apharwat.

The terrain is described as unlimited. Gulmarg Resort in Kashmir includes alpine bowls, chutes, cornices and tree skiing amongst ancient pines. The Gulmarg skiing and snowboarding is suited to advanced and expert riders who enjoy off-piste backcountry terrain.

Gulmarg.jpgPhoto: Gulmarg Ski Adventures
  • Top Elevation: 3980 m
  • Average snowfall: 14
  • Base elevation: 2650 m
  • Vertical drop: 1,330 m
  • Lifts: 1 Gondola, 1 Quads, 3 Poma

6. Alta, Utah, USA

Alta and Snowbird to which it's linked could be two posts on this ranking but we chose to group them. They both get a ton of snow. Snowbird holds the longest seasons in USA and close the end of May sometimes later. Alta is known for steep and excellent powder terrain. Alta is one of three remaining ski resorts in the U.S. that prohibits snowboarders.

Alta.jpgPhoto: Visit Utah
  • Top Elevation: 3,374
  • Average snowfall: 13,84m
  • Base elevation: 2,600m
  • Vertical drop: 774m
  • Lifts: 6 chairlifts, 3 hi-speed quads, hi speed triple, 2 fixed doubles, 5 surface tows

7. Sugar Bowl, California, USA

At the top of Tahoe’s Donner Summit, Sugar Bowl Resort is the closest major resort to Sacramento and the Bay Area. The 80-year-old ski resort is one of the country’s oldest. Spreading across four peaks, serviced by 13 lifts. Sugar Bowl offers terrain to accommodate beginners and recreational skiers at first hand.

Sugar Bowl.jpgPhoto: Sugar Bowl Ski Resort
  • Top Elevation: 2,555m
  • Average snowfall: 12,7m
  • Base elevation: 2,098m
  • Vertical drop: 457m
  • Lifts: 13

8. Grand Targhee, Wyoming, USA

Grand Targhee Resort is a year round mountain resort situated in the Western slope of the Tetons in Alta, Wyoming. Located in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest, the abundance of light powder snow and lack of lift lines in the winter is what attract it's visitors. Close to more famous Jackson Hole and Tetons.

Backside of Grand Targhee Resort.jpgPhoto: Grand Targhee Resort
  • Top Elevation: 3,006
  • Average snowfall: 12,7
  • Base elevation: 2258m
  • Vertical drop: 692m
  • Lifts: 5

9. Sierra-at-Tahoe, California, USA
  • Average snowfall: 12,19m

10. Kirkwood, California, USA
  • Average snowfall: 11,99m

11. Mt. Bachelor, Oregon, USA
  • Average snowfall: 11,73m

12. Stevens Pass, Washington State, USA
  • Average snowfall: 11,68m

13. Whistler, Canada
  • Average snowfall: 11,63m

14. Squaw Valley, California, USA
  • Average snowfall: 11,43m


Snowiest resorts in Europe

Since no European resorts made the list we decided to add these. Since there are a gazillion ski resorts in Europe and often grouped tightly, this list is somewhat more floaty.

1. Zürs (Arlberg), Austria

Zurs.jpgPhoto: Ski-Zürs
  • Top Elevation: 2,450m
  • Average snowfall: 10,8m
  • Base elevation: 1,720m
  • Vertical drop: 730m
  • Lifts: 34

2. Warth-Schröcken, Austria

Warth-Schröcken.jpgPhoto: Warth-Schröcken ski resort
  • Top Elevation: 2,811m
  • Average snowfall: 10,5m
  • Base elevation: 1,304m
  • Vertical drop: 1,507m
  • Lifts: 88

3. Damüls Mellau, Austria

Damuls.jpgPhoto: Damüls
  • Top Elevation: 2,030m
  • Average snowfall: 9,2m
  • Base elevation: 710m
  • Vertical drop: 1,320m
  • Lifts: 27

4. St Anton (Arlberg), Austria

St Anton.jpgPhoto: St Anton
  • Top Elevation: 2,811m
  • Average snowfall: 9m
  • Base elevation: 1,304
  • Vertical drop: 1,507m
  • Lifts: 94 (Arlberg area)


5. Obertauern, Austria

Obertauern.jpgPhoto: TVB Obertauern
  • Top Elevation: 2,313m
  • Average snowfall: 8 m
  • Base elevation: 1,630m
  • Vertical drop: 683m
  • Lifts: 26

6. Avoriaz, France

Avoriaz.jpgPhoto: Avoriaz.com
  • Top Elevation: 2,277m
  • Average snowfall: 7,8 m
  • Base elevation: 1,150m
  • Vertical drop: 1,127m
  • Lifts: 35

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