Top 10 Powder Resorts
It’s a new year we’re reporting on snowfall and snowpack, providing you with the top 10 powder resorts at the start of 2021! It’s been an average powder season and the question is, who has the most snow? In this season’s Top 10, once again it’s no surprise that the top resorts with the most snowfall are in British Columbia—with Whistler in the lead, followed by Revelstoke.
Whistler received 167cms of snow in the last seven days. This is a powder cycle that makes powder dreams come true! Combine that with the US border being closed and travel restrictions throughout Canada, the locals enjoyed what revived memories of powder days in the early 90’s!
British Columbia is the number one destination for powder in North America because of its consistent and reliable snowfall. Powder compared “total snowfall” at lift serviced resorts throughout the powder region. Most lift-serviced resorts are close to towns for convenience and as a result, at lower elevations and their snowpacks reflect the elevation. Backcountry powder facilities are generally in the wilderness and at higher elevations and have considerably more snowfall. Chatter Creek Snowcats or Northern Escape Heli has more snow than any of the lift serviced resorts.
So here are the Top 10 Powder Resort Total Snowfalls and Snowpacks as listed on the resorts websites on Saturday, January 9th, 2021:
Total Snowfall and Snowpack
1 Whistler – 591cms – 240cms
2 Revelstoke – 531cms – 198cms
3 Kicking Horse – 486cms – 168cms
4 Fernie – 424cms – 200cms
5 Castle Mountain – 424cms – 136cms
6 Whitewater – 360cms – 203cms
7 Lake Louise – 312cms – 110cms
8 Big White – 298cms – 172cms
9 Red Resort – 293cms – 160cms
10 Mount Baldy – 196cms – 124cms
Powder uses total snowfall for the 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 variables such as wind and shelter influencing the totals. Castle Mountain is famous for its wind and its snowpack reflects that. Some resorts snowplots do overstate conditions, some can understate–there is no exact science. For example, Whitewater and Fernie will have better snow conditions with less snowfall than Kicking Horse or Castle, because of less rock and superior snowpacks.
Lake Louise and Castle Mountain 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 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 offers steep falline and a powder day can be epic.
Big White, Red Resort and Mount Baldy make the top 10 and these resorts should be 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. Mount Baldy is a true locals mountain and a treasure. Don’t drive by it, be sure to visit when in the South Okanagan or West Kootenays.
The snowpack is even more important when determining avalanche stability and safety. There are existing weak layers in the snowpack for most regions in British Columbia. 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 the avalanche conditions with Avalanche Canada for all your trip and route decisions.
Powder Canada’s Top 10 Powder Resorts offer more that just snowfall, these powder towns are great places to visit. Unfortunately with Covid restrictions this may not be the year however, when you do get the chance, they offer an abundance of lifestyle, culture and a variety of powder options including heli, snowcat, and backcountry lodges.
Powder snow provides us freedom–the more you ski and board powder, the happier you’ll be. And from a health perspective, playing in powder ensures that we will live longer. Happy powder skiing and boarding in the New Year!