Top 10 Powder Resorts Report
We’re mid way into January and once again we’re looking at snowpack and where the best powder turns lie. We’re well into an average powder season and the question is, who has the most snow today? In this season’s Top 10 Powder Resorts Report, once again it’s no surprise that the top five resorts with the most snowfall are in British Columbia—with Whistler in the lead, followed by Revelstoke. The Kootenays fill out the top 5 positions with Kicking Horse, Whitewater and Fernie.
British Columbia is the number one destination for powder fun in North America because of its consistent and reliable snowfall. We compared “total snowfall” at lift serviced ski areas throughout the powder region. Most lift-serviced resorts are close to towns and at lower elevations and the snowpack reflects this. Backcountry powder facilities are generally at higher elevations and have considerably more snowfall. See John Eaves early January powder take from CMH:
So here are the Top 10 Resort Total Snowfalls and Snowpacks as listed on the resorts websites on Monday, January 14th, 2019:
Total Snowfall and Snowpack
1 Whistler – 684cms – 255cms
2 Revelstoke – 674cms – 209cms
3 Kicking Horse – 518cms – 164cms
4 Whitewater – 500cms – 199cms
5 Fernie – 439cms – 184cms
6 Lake Louise – 379cms – 159cms
7 Big White – 328cms – 173cms
8 Castle Mountain – 273cms – 112cms
9 Marmot Basin – 256cms – 103cms
10 Red Resort – 193cms – 129cms
We chose total snowfall for ranking as snowpacks can vary based on the uniqueness of each resorts snowplot location. Resorts do specify their snowplots altitude however that can also be a false indicator of snow coverage with variable such as wind and shelter influencing the totals. Some resorts snowplots do overstate conditions, some can understate–there is no exact science. For example, Fernie and Whitewater have better snow conditions than Kicking Horse.
Lake Louise, Castle Mountain and Marmot Basin are true Rocky Mountain classics and tend to have a drier climate with less powder. Lake Louise skis well and a recommended stop on a road trip to Kicking Horse and/or Revelstoke. Castle sits one kilometer from the British Columbia border and is a 45 minute drive from Fernie. Castle is a must visit when in the Fernie area, the terran is steep and a powder day can be epic. Marmot Basin is a big drive however a rewarding destination when the conditions are right.
Big White and Red Resort make the top 10 and these resorts should be high on your list. Big White is great for families and Red offers a unique mountain experience and the new slopeside boutique Josie Hotel is a must for those with a budget for quality and location!
The snowpack is even more important when determining avalanche stability. There are weak layers in the snowpack for most regions in British Columbia and Alberta’s mountains. These layers are buried deep in the snowpack and in some locations they could be primed and waiting for a human trigger. Be sure to check with Avalanche Canada when making trip and route decisions.
Powder Canada’s Top 10 Powder Resorts offer more that the most snowfall, these powder towns are a great places to visit. They offer and abundance of snow culture, great food, nightlife, and a variety of powder options including heli, snowcat, backcountry lodges and lifts.
So enjoy our wonderful 2019 powder dumps and plan a trip to one of these destinations. Powder snow provides us freedom–the more you ski and board powder, the happier you will be. And from a health perspective, playing in powder ensures that we will live longer. Happy powder skiing and boarding in the New Year!