By this point of the winter season, many of us are seeing snowflakes fall from the sky and collect in our yards and on our highways. Snow means different things to different people: epic days on the slopes for skiers, excitement and fun for kids, and grueling traffic for corporate commuters. But whatever you think of it, some places definitely see a lot more snow than others.
So next time you think your hometown is getting a lot of snow, take a moment to compare it to these destinations around the world. These are some of the snowiest places on planet earth!
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Aomori City, Japan
By many accounts, Aomori City is the snowiest place on the planet, receiving around 312 inches of snowfall per year. In general, Japan receives more snowfall than anywhere else, so if you love snow, this is the place to be in the winter. One reason that Aomori City gets so much snow is that it is perched atop the highest point in the Hakkoda Mountains. This area also tends to see lots of heavy clouds and fog in the winter. At least 299,000 people call Aomori City home and deal with this snow each and every winter.
Mt. Rainier, Washington
Mount Rainier is an amazing place to visit in the state of Washington, especially in the winter if you love snow. The snowiest place in the park is the Paradise Ranger Station, which reportedly gets around 56 feet of snow per year. This is a Pacific Northwest mountain pass that often gets more snow than anywhere else on earth, according to some weather reports. The mountain rises about 4,392 meters above sea level, the pressure systems and jet streams here create a perfect environment for lots of snow. Another really snowy peak in the state is Mount Baker.
Way up north in the state of Alaska, snow falls in huge amounts each and every winter. The town of Alyeska usually gets between 42 to 53 feet of snow each year and is near the larger city of Anchorage. One recent winter saw 73 feet of snow, which completed buried the town of Alyeska. With this much snow each year, it should come as no surprise that Alyeska has one of the most popular ski resorts in the state. Other than the ski resort, a great place to experience Alyeska’s snow is at Chugach State Park. Another very snowy place in Alaska is the town of Valdez, which gets around 27 feet of snow each year and is also home to great ski resorts.
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Canada is known as a very cold and snowy place in the winter, but St. John’s is definitely one of the best places to be in the winter if you love snow. This region of Newfoundland tends to get around 131 inches of snow each year, and the high precipitation doesn’t stop at just snow. When the temperatures are warmer, St. John’s also gets more rain than pretty much anywhere else in Canada. More than 100,000 people call this town home, and its rich history as an English colony makes it a historically significant place for tourism.
Another city in Japan that receives lots and lots of snow is Sapporo; however, it doesn’t typically receive as much snow per year as Aomori City. By some accounts, Sapporo receives around 191 inches of snow each year, which makes up about 17 feet of the white stuff annually. This is a very popular place to visit in the winter because of all this snow because there’s a snow festival that draws thousands of visitors. Events at the Sapporo Snow Festival include snow sculptures and lots of delicious food. In addition to the two snowy spots in Japan highlighted here, other snowed-in areas include Niseko, Akita, Toyama, and Nagano.
Mt. Washington, New Hampshire
The East Coast of the U.S. is certainly no stranger to snowstorms, and one of the very snowiest places here is Mount Washington in New Hampshire. This is also a very windy summit, so the snow typically gets blown off the top pretty quickly and transported to the ravines nearby. Hurricane-speed winds have been recorded on the peaks of this mountain for over 100 days per year, and it has also held the record for the highest wind speed in the Western and Northern Hemisphere. The Tuckerman Ravine is a magnet for snow blowing off from the top of Mount Washington. All of this white stuff makes Mount Washington one of the best places to ski in the East. At the top of the mountain lies the Mount Washington Observatory that calls itself the “home of the world’s worst weather.”
One of the best places to ski in all of Europe is Chamonix, France, and that’s because of the tremendous amount of snow this place gets. Chamonix gets around 31 feet of snow each year, and it was also the home of the first winter Olympic games back in 1924.
Quebec City, Canada
Another Canadian city known for its heavy snowfall is Quebec City in the province of Quebec. This area gets around 124 inches of snow per year and really embraces its snowiness. There’s an ice hotel here where you can stay overnight and lots of arts and cultural events scheduled throughout the winter too. The Quebec town of Saguenay is another very snowy place in the province and receives around 123 inches of snow every year.
Kirkwood Mountain, California
Many people wouldn’t expect to find a California mountain on a list of the snowiest places on earth. But California is a huge and diverse state that is a land of extremes and much more than just sandy beaches and sunshine. Kirkwood Mountain is near Lake Tahoe and gets around 39 feet of snow each year. The large lake has a lot to do with the high amount of snowfall this mountain gets. It’s also a magnet for winter storms and moisture coming in from the Pacific Ocean. This is a prime spot for snow sport enthusiasts who crave snowy cliffs, drops, and wooded terrain. Blue Canyon is another California destination that’s located near Tahoe National Forest and gets around 20 feet of snow each year. It’s about an hour from the lake and totally off the beaten track.
Syracuse, New York
Overall, the state of New York gets more snow than pretty much anywhere else in America. The college town of Syracuse really tops it all off though with around 124 inches of snow per year. One reason for the heavy snowfall here is Syracuse’s location along Lake Ontario and lake-effect weather that results from that position. Rochester and Buffalo, New York are also super snowy cities in the state of New York.
There are several amazing ski resorts in Utah, but the Alta Ski Area is one of the absolute snowiest. Utah is an incredibly interesting and diverse state in terms of landscapes and weather. Here you’ll find desert, rolling plains, and high mountain peaks just a short drive from one another. Alta gets around 43 feet of snow each year. Alta is located in the Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains above Salt Lake City. The mysterious and eerie Great Salt Lake is one of the reasons why Alta receives so much snow each year. Alta is a mecca for skiers and one of the few resorts where snowboarders aren’t allowed.
Glacier National Park, British Columbia
British Columbia is a popular travel destination for outdoor enthusiasts at any time of year. But if you want to see a ton of snow here, head to Mound Fidelity in Glacier National Park. Unlike many of the other snowy spots in the providence, this mountain is located inland and away from the ocean. One reason that this mountain gets so much snow (around 48 feet per year on average) is the large bodies of water nearby that don’t freeze when the temperatures drop low. Revelstoke is another area in British Columbia that gets tons of snow and is about 30 minutes away from Mount Fidelity.