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Publication: Travel Tips
Snowiest Ski Resorts

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Tips & Advice for the Seasoned and Armchair Traveler Alike! 

Dec. 18, 2007 

Today I have an article for you about the 'Top 20 snowiest 
ski resorts in the world'. Before you put on your skis take 
a moment to find out if your heading to one of the snowiest 
locations to hit the slopes. 

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Top 20 snowiest ski resorts in the world
Where to find yourself waist-deep in cool, white powder
By Stephen Regenold

Waves of powder snow parting like feathers. Blue mountain 
sky beaming above. 

To ski downhill through hip-deep fluff is to experience 
an archetypal form of being, an avocation so epic as to 
realign priorities, refocus expectations, betray axioms 
even. "Better than sex" doesn't come close. 

Just ask Jamie Pierre, a pro skier who in 1992 was lured 
away from his home by a single snow storm in Utah. "It 
snowed 54 inches, white powder as light as air," he says 
of his first visit to Snowbird Ski Resort in the Wasatch 
Mountains above Salt Lake City. "These waves of billowy, 
airy powder were actually rolling over our shoulders as 
we skied." 

Pierre, a native of Minnesota who fled West by way of 
Colorado, moved to Salt Lake City the next season. And 
he's never left. For powder snow, he picked a good place 
to settle. Bestsnow.net, a clearinghouse for worldwide 
ski-area snowfall data, ranks Snowbird as the No. 9 
snowiest spot to ski on Earth. Alta Ski Area, a neighbor-
ing resort up-canyon from Snowbird, claims spot No. 3 on 
Bestsnow's list, accumulating an average of 523 inches of 
fluff that buries chalets and keeps the powder pilgrims 
smiling all season. 

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This story highlights the top 20 snowiest resorts on the 
planet, as tracked by Bestsnow, which pulls meteorological 
records from weather stations, data from avalanche-forecast-
ing centers and monthly snowfall amounts from ski resorts. 
Bestsnow's numbers—which are used by publications like 
Skiing magazine and Powder magazine to rank resorts—differ 
from average snowfall numbers touted by some resorts. This 
is because, among other factors, Bestsnow looks at monthly 
averages spread over time periods of up to 40 years. 

Our list includes big boys like Snowbird as well as little-
known mountains like Whitewater Resort in British Colombia, 
which is smothered each season under an average of 397 
inches of snow. Alyeska Resort near Anchorage, Alaska, made 
the list with its yearly 513-inch figure, as did Kirkwood 
Mountain Resort (473 inches) and Boreal (395 inches), both 
near Lake Tahoe in California. 

Surprisingly, no European resorts make Bestsnow's chart. 
According to Tony Crocker, the site's editor and founder, 
the Alps have a geographical disadvantage to the mountains 
of North America. "Snow does not fall in the same 
quantities in Europe, where the mountains are oriented more 
east-to-west," he says. "In North America, particularly 
with the Cascades, Wasatch, Tetons and the Sierra-Nevada 
Range, the mountains run north-south, creating giant 
buffers where clouds run into land and dump snow." In fact, 
other than Niseko in Japan, North American resorts claim 
every other position on the list. 

The Wasatch Mountain Range is the first-contact for many 
big clouds coming off the deserts of Utah and Nevada. 
Ground zero is Alta Ski Area, a high and exposed resort 
ready to take storm after storm from its perch at the top 
of Little Cottonwood Canyon. 

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Each area listed here averages 360 inches of snow or more 
annually. Which means, essentially, that you can't go 
wrong. In addition, there are five major North American 
ski areas that just missed the top 20 mark, including 
Alpine Meadows, Calif. (368 inches); Steamboat Ski Resort, 
Colo. (367); Mammoth Mountain, Calif. (367); Jackson Hole 
Mountain Resort, Wyo. (366); and Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, 
Ore., (364). 

The deepest of all? That title goes to Mt. Baker Ski Area, 
a resort on the flanks of its namesake 10,778-foot strato-
volcano in northern Washington State. Indeed, Baker once 
recorded a snow year so mythically deep that it's regular-
ly cited as the most snow measured anywhere, ever, on the 
planet. Baker has always been known for its tremendous 
annual snowfall, but during the winter of 1998/99 the 
gloppy snow of the Pacific Northwest literally buried any-
thing in local memory. What began with some wisps of white 
in late fall intensified to snowstorms and blizzards around 
Thanksgiving. As Mt. Baker Ski Area cranked on its lifts, 
there was already a deep base. Then it really started to 
dump, swollen clouds rolling in, flakes flying from a low 
sky relentlessly, sometimes for days on end. 

Skiers and snowboarders struggled for momentum on Baker's 
flats, but then plunged in semi-controlled and sightless 
descents on Baker's steeps, giggling, turning, flying 
through fluff as blissful balls of exploding white. By 
season's end, Baker recorded 1,140 inches of snow—a near-
apocalyptic 95 feet of the frozen white stuff. "It was a 
legendary year," says Crocker. 

Read on to discover which resorts can rival Baker's 
propensity for wintertime precipitation. With some luck 
you'll hit a powder day, and ski or snowboard as a big 
ball of exploding white as part of your own legendary 

Well, that's it for this week, group. Thanks again for 
reading, and please keep those comments, complaints and 
questions coming in. 

You can send me an e-mail message at: Email Pierce

Until next week, thanks for reading.   

Your Tipmeister,   



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