The Best Ski Resorts for Powder
If you're a bit of a powderhound - then finding the best ski resorts for powder (or just some new ideas) could be a great way to start your search for a ski or snowboard holiday. We've pulled together a number of ski resorts that are renowned for the powdery stuff. Having acres and acres of fresh snow is not enough, you have to have access to it as well as a way to get out of it towards the foot of the mountain.
The best ski resorts for powder are ultimately giving you regular fresh snow. There's always time for whiteouts and blue sky days to follow. From the US to Japan and even in Europe, check out the top 10 resorts below and book your holiday online once you've decided.
Hokkaido, the north island of Japan, is ideally located to get all the cold air across the Sea of Japan from Siberia. Many of the resorts here are dumped with powder that is renowned for being incredibly dry. Some of the ski resorts in Hokkaido receive an amazing 14-18m of snowfall annually. Niseko is a resort in Hokkaido and is the most popular ski destination in Japan. It is suited to all types of skier and boarder and has some great off paste skiing.
The Vail ski area is one of the largest in the world with 2140 hectares and infinite off piste. It gets an impressive 366” of snow each season and as most of Vail’s slopes are at high altitude and north facing the snow is usually cold, dry and very forgiving. Vail also offers fantastic entry level off piste terrain and of course there’s the infamous back bowls which offers powder skiing at its best. These back bowls aren’t too steep, are secured against avalanches and have trails at the top and trails at the bottom, the perfect place to perfect the art of powder skiing or boarding.
These resorts have an amazing reputation for deep dry snow; Alta is the third snowiest resort in the world and Snowbird the seventh. Snowbird for example receives on average 42ft of light dry powder every season and with steep challenging terrain, chutes and bowls in abundance these resorts are a must for powder lovers. But it isn’t just the amount of snow that is incredible it’s the quality. Utah is renowned for snow that is dry and light, often claiming that they have the ‘Greatest Snow on earth’. Although boarders take note, Alta still bans snowboarders from its slopes!
If you are looking for powder closer to home then head to Lech/Zurs. Here you will find some great snow. Lech averages over 7 metres a season and Zurs which is higher gets over 10 metres, double the average of Val d’Isere. This doesn’t match the resorts of North America but for Europe this isn’t at all bad. Off piste is also good here but be warned off piste skiing through the woods is forbidden. So for some good powder closer to home give Lech/Zurs a try out and the heli skiing offered in Zurs is also pretty awesome!
Fernie has the reputation for having the best powder in the Rockies and it gets an average of 29 ft each season. The snow really is great here as well as the terrain, 5 large bowls and great off piste. Hidden away in the heart of the Canadian Rockies are relatively uncrowded powder filled slopes offering something for all levels of skier and boarder. This really is a paradise for those who want to ski or board steep and deep! The Polar peak list installed for the 2011/2012 season also means that Fernie now has the most ski runs in the Canadian Rockies.
Many people say that the mountain ranges of the Western United States get all the snow, Jay Peak somewhat ruins this view! It gets the most snow is Eastern North America. It pulls in a massive 350” of snow each season. Its slopes can get a little windblown but the snow is just amazing. It also has the most liberal in bounds policy of anywhere meaning you can really enjoy the snow. Located in Northern Vermont if offers great gladed terrain and great backcountry skiing and boarding. And it’s not just for experts; the mountain here also has the most beginner and intermediate tree skiing in the East.
Telluride sits in Southwest Colorado but is off the beaten track somewhat. The mountains here are steeper that elsewhere in Colorado and it has witnessed a huge amount of terrain expansion over the past few years. In fact over the last 3 seasons Telluride has expanded by more than 400 acres. It offers breathtaking mountain scenery a superb lift system and relatively uncrowded slopes. And with an annual snowfall of 300 “the powder isn’t bad either!
Steamboat has plenty of terrain on offer and also has the famous ‘champagne powder’ a term that originated in Steamboat to describe the type of snow that falls here. As it is below the tree line there are no alpine bowls or cornices but the tree skiing is awesome. And whilst it is lower in altitude compared to other Colorado resorts, the quality of the snow is just amazing. It receives 350” of snowfall per season and because it is relatively remote and doesn’t get deluged with day trippers from Denver there’s more powder to go around!