Japan resorts receive huge amounts of snowfall. Niseko is astounding as it snows almost everyday in winter and the snow is deep, light and dry. As Tony Crocker points out the snowfall is concentrated into a shorter time frame with Mid January to Mid February being the best time for powder. There are many resorts in Japan that receive huge snowfalls.
Asahidake in Central Hokkaido is an uncrowded powder gem which receives 13-14 metres of snow annually. A single cable car takes no more than 20 skiers up to ski 500 metres vertical of world class powder, right off the lift. One day here the snow was so deep that every turn my head was under the surface of the snow – it was absolutely mind blowing. The barometer read -15C and 2.1% humidity!
Hakkoda on the northern tip of Honshu is a powder factory. The mountains here get hit by constant storms off the Sea of Japan which plaster snow onto the pine trees causing Junyo or Snow Monsters. These snow monsters have huge tree wells of 20-30 feet deep below them. Snowfalls here would at least equal if not better Niseko. It snowed 3.2 metres in 5 days before we arrived there.
Other resorts in Japan also receive huge snowfalls: Sapporo Kokosai 13 metres, Kiroro 13 metres, Myoko Kogen 13 metres, Nozawa Onsen 11 metres, Hakuba 11 Metres, Happo One 11 metres . The amazing thing about these figures, based on personal experience, is that Japanese resorts tend to underestimate snowfalls! An area in Honshu which gets huge amounts of snow (20 metre plus depths) is the Tateyama area where the Great Wall of Snow drive is a popular tourist attraction in the spring. See link below.
I have found this link below which has used a number of internet sources to come up with a top 50 resorts for snowfalls. Five Japanese resorts are included in the top 10.
A couple of other locations of interest are Gulmarg, Kashmir, India and Krasnaya Polyana, Caucausis, Russia. Some years ago I spent 2 weeks in Gulmarg and it snowed for 10 days straight – I would imagine snowfalls here would reach the 13-14 metre mark. Krasnaya Polyana will host events for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. The area is known as one of the wettest areas in Europe. It has classic lake effect snow from the Black Sea and its own microclimate. Internet sources quote only a 500cm annual snowfall. Other reports in blogs I have seen have quoted snowfalls of 3 metres in 3 days and when asked a question on a blog about amount of annual snowfall, the responder, who had spent a season there, said “I have no idea, only that it gets shit on!” I have seen videos of waist to chest deep powder. I would imagine 500cm is grossly underestimated.
From other internet searches I have found the following:
Roldal, Norway 12 metres
Warth Schroeken, Austria 11 metres
Andermatt, Switzerland 10 metres
Anzere, Switzerland 10 metres
Kanin-Sella Navea, Slovenia 10 metres
Val Venosta, Italy 10 metres
Nevados de Chillan, Chile 10 metres
Pucon, Villarica, Chile 10 metres
Most of the figures above cannot be backed up by hard long term measurements. I guess that means that I will have to ski all of the above resorts for a season so I can use personal experience to validate the annual snowfall claims!!! At the moment Japan is my powder Mecca, and from personal experience I can tell you that it gets shit on!!