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Where's the snow?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
What ski area in North America gets the most snow annually on the average?
post #2 of 18
Isn't it Mount Baker in Washington?
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
I think you're right, JD. Mt. Baker gets 615 inches of snow a year.

Let me now rephrase the question:

How do other lift-served mountains in North America stack up against Mt. Baker?
post #4 of 18
Alta, Snowbird
Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows
Brighton, Solitude

Not necessarily in that order but pretty close. (I think, without looking for any statistics.)
post #5 of 18
Nolo, do you want total annual snowfall or total annual accumulated snow base? I don't know of a nation wide web site with this information but I will make an effort to find one.

post #6 of 18
This can be a pretty hard one to nail down. --Do you want to quibble over sample location, technique, frequency and any other number of factors?

We wipped this dog pretty hard last summer and the only conclusion that I saw was that there is no way to nail it all down.

There are areas up the continent that get a LOT of snow, but they don't have ski area bases in them. For the time being it is a slam dunk for the ones that have positioned themselves to be leaders in the stats, and no amount of bickering can resolve that.

Just to rehash what we came up with last year:

Utah has four resorts, Alta,Brighton,Solitude,and Snowbird that recieve benefits from canyon effects snow. Mini climes at any of these areas can provide significant enhancement of normal snowfall levels.

Grand Targhee is one of the snowier inland ski areas in the US.

Kirkwood benefits from an elevation advantage to take the snowfall crown in the sierras.

Mt. Baker has legendary snowfall levels in the Northwest.

Canadian numbers are mixed, but there are areas with significant snowfall. Whitewater is often mentioned as having areas with beneficial snowfall accumulation properties.

post #7 of 18
Wolf Creek claims 465 inches just shy of Alta and Snowbird who both claim 500in. (Why did I think Snowbird was about 50in less than Alta?)

[ June 26, 2003, 04:20 PM: Message edited by: WVSkier ]
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
I was talking about annual snowfall, not base. I guess I slept through the thread last summer, or maybe I wasn't interested because I knew el nino was in town.

I checked Mt. Baker--it's 615". I know Snowbird and Alta say 500".

I'll bet the 615 at Baker leaves a deeper base than the 500 at SB/A. I agree that one shouldn't assume too much from this statistic, but I have found that where the number is high, the chances are good that it's going to snow while I'm there.

Wolf Creek at 465 is pretty impressive. How about Steamboat?
post #9 of 18
Steamboat runs about 350" average, way short of the Tahoe resorts. What about Mammoth? I'm refraining from actually looking things up, it's much more fun to just throw out stuff off the cuff. I'd forgotten about Wolf Creek, they have a great snowfall history but you can't get there from here. Pretty much no matter where here is, unless you just happen to live in Pagosa Springs. Targhee also claims around 500" per season. Snowbird and Alta both claim 500" but every time I've been there Alta gets just a little bit more snow. Is that due due the point it is being measured at maybe? I'd hate to think the 'Bird was padding its numbers.

[ June 27, 2003, 05:30 AM: Message edited by: teledave ]
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
I thought I'd check the Steamboat site for snow stats. All I got was this:

"Gladed areas of Sunshine and Storm Peaks are Steamboat’s particular claim to fame, with Champagne Powder® in the trees for the most avid powder hounds."

Note registered trademark on champagne powder.

(Making me wonder if laudatory snow terms like Cold Smoke are also protected by the U.S. Patent Office...)

Anyway, Steamboat doesn't have a statistic on average annual snowfall on their web site that I could see. I did spend a season there and was impressed at the snowfall. Steamboat's aspen glades really are all that.
post #11 of 18
The Aspens and The Shadows ARE Steamboat (IMO).

From The Buyer's Agent of Steamboat Springs , mid-mountain snowfall averages 319 inches annually.
post #12 of 18
The Ski Resort Guide web site list Steamboats annual snowfall at 337" under the resort info link. I'm sure that you guys have seen this site, it provides various resort info for, I guess, all North American resorts.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

No, I had not seen the site. It's wonderful!

Here are the stats they present on my home area:

Bridger Bowl Ski Area


Alpine Skiing: Yes Snowboarding: Yes
Night Skiing: No Restricted Areas: No
Heli-Skiing: No Leash Required: Yes
Snowcat Skiing: No Terrain Park: No
Cross Country: 30 km Half Pipe: No
Snow Tubing: No


Base Elevation: 6,100 ft (1,859 m)
Summit Elevation: 8,700 ft (2,652 m)
Vertical Drop: 2,600 ft (792 m)
Skiable Area: 1,500 acres (607 hectares)
Annual Snowfall: 350 in (889 cm)
Snowmaking: 1 %
Number of Lifts: 7
Uphill Lift Capacity: 7,600 per hour
Types of Lifts: 4 Double Chairs
2 Triple Chairs
1 Quad Chair
Number of Trails: 69
Longest Run: 15,840 ft (4,828 m)


Easiest: 25 %
More Difficult: 35 %
Most Difficult: 30 %
Experts Only: 10 %
Trail ratings indicate the relative difficulty of the runs within a given ski area
and are not meant to be used for comparison between ski areas.
post #14 of 18

It is a pretty informative site and it covers many resorts that I've never even heard of. BTW, your home ski mountain stacks up pretty well in annual snowfall and I've heard good things about Bridger Bowl. My next door neighbor spent about a month in Montana 2 or 3 years ago and skied Big Sky, Big Mountain, and Bridger and loved them all. He's been trying to get me out that way ever since.
post #15 of 18
As far as home areas go you be from a much better one. There are bigger areas of course but give me those "Little Areas That Rock" any day. I love the homey style of BB, even though I've only spent one day there back in the late '80s.

Funny story, when I was getting my masters ('90) I had a case in corporate strategy on Big Sky and Bridger Bowl. I asked my professor what the real outcome was and he told me that they were fictious areas, to which I had to differ with him and then produced an old trail map of BB later in the week. He was a bit red-faced over it.
post #16 of 18
No discussion of "who get's the most" would be complete without mentioning Kirkwood. 582" this year!
post #17 of 18
OK, I know the post asks for the most but I gotta chime in for one of my favorite Vermont resorts, Jay Peak. Jay has a 351" average as reported in the White Book. I know that pales compared to the big snow areas out West but in the past 3 years Jay has had 414", 571" and 488". Yes there is powder in the East but it is a little wetter and it doesn't stay that way long. It's not just the crowds, it's the inevitable rain.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Yay Jay! I was wondering how the eastern areas would compare, and those stats stack up nicely.
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