Dependable Powder Stashes

by Dan Giesin | November 6, 2018

One of the greatest wake-up calls ever is the sound of the ski patrol doing its morning rounds, blasting away avalanche danger.
You know it’s gonna be a good powder day.
But if you’re not one of the fortunate few who live within a moment’s notice of the good stuff, odds are the pickins will be pretty slim by the time you get to the hill.
And it’s even worse if you are sitting there three months out planning your annual trip and hoping to score some pow.
You know you’ll get the goods if you opt for a heli or cat ski outfit, but that’s not in this year’s  budget. But heading for a lift-served resort can often be a hit-or-miss proposition, depending on how much karma you have with the snow gods.
Still there are some resorts — due in part to relative remoteness, limited lift systems, sheer size and/or copious amounts of snow — that hold the goods for longer than most, and you can pretty much rely one getting some face shots even a couple days after a storm.
The following, in no particular order, are a half-dozen candidates:

Red Mountain

With 4,200 skiable acres and 2,919 feet of vertical served by five slow-speed lifts, it takes quite a while for this resort in south-central British Columbia to get skied out. Red Mountain’s annual average snowfall of 300 inches also helps.

Silverton Mountain

Just one double chair services 1,908 feet of vertical and more than 2,000 acres of Colorado light. And not one flake of the average 400 inches of snow Silverton receives is touched by a grooming machine.

Grand Targhee

I’ve been to this Wyoming resort at least a half-dozen times over the years, and only once have I seen the majestic Teton range that rises dramatically to the south. It just snows so much at Targhee — 500 inches or more per year. And with only four lifts servicing 2,600 acres, it’s tough to ski it all out in a couple of days.

Jackson Hole

On the other side of the aforementioned Tetons lies Jackson Hole, one of the more upscale and developed resorts on this list. But with more than 5,000 skiable acres (3,000 of which are accessed by “backcountry” gates), 4,139 feet of vertical and 459 inches of snow each year on average, you shouldn’t have a problem scoring some powder, even during a short dry spell.


The only thing you need to know about Revelstoke: There are just three lifts (a gondola and two high-speed quads) that lift skiers and snowboarders into the heavens. That’s three lifts servicing 3,121 acres and 5,620 feet of vertical. Oh yeah, another thing you need to know: The resort get 413 inches of Canadian Rockies powder annually.

Powder Mountain

The resort’s name says it all. But if you need more convincing try this: The largest ski resort in the U.S. (8,464 skiable acres) gets 500-plus inches of Utah powder each year. And with just six lifts (only one of the high-speed variety) and a 1,500 per day cap on lift ticket sales Powder Mountain lives up to its motto, “Preserving the Pow”.


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