If you are reading this article and you are an avid powder skier you might have a different idea about where to find the best powder snow in the world.
We have searched far and wide all over the globe looking for the deepest and driest powder snow on earth and to date we have narrowed it down to just a couple of locations – The north island of Hokkaido in Japan and Utah in the United States of America.
When we talk about quality snow, we are generally talking about the moisture content by volume of snow. Both Utah and Hokkaido boast 5% (or better) moisture content snow which means that for every 10mm of precipitation, a massive 200mm (20 centimetres or 8 inches) of dry fluffy snow will accumulate.
With such low volumes of water in the snow, the snow is very “dry” making it difficult for the particles to stick together (it is almost impossible to make a snowball!). This means that it takes significantly more time for the snowpack to settle and become firm or heavy. The result is dry, fluffy powder snow with very little resistance.
There are many other ski areas that are regularly blessed with these snow conditions such as Colorado, New Mexico, and areas in the Canadian Rockies as well as areas in Europe such as Austria, Switzerland and France.
The main difference between these areas and Utah and Hokkaido is the volume of snow. Many of the resorts in Utah such as Alta, Snowbird and Park City receive around 500 inches on average (around 13 metres) whilst ski resorts in Hokkaido such as Niseko accumulate an average of 15 metres (590 inches).
Our research has shown Hokkaido to come up trumps on the powder snow scale. The snow is so incredibly light to ski in with virtually no resistance. It appears to snow constantly day and night keeping the snow forever fresh.
However, if I was going to personally choose which area I prefer Utah wins. My reason for this is that Utah has regular “lake affect” storms that last for a couple of days dumping several feet of snow and then the sun comes our for several days before the next storm. There is virtually never any wind so the snow stays pristine.
Ahhh sunshine and powder snow; there is no more perfect combination!