These places all record average annual snowfall figures over 200 inches (16 feet) of snow a year. Some of them get a lot more.
While it was snowing in Los Angeles, New York City experienced unusually balmy temperatures in February. Up until Feb. 28, the Big Apple had barely scraped up a half inch of snow, while Buffalo, N.Y., had already experienced a blizzard that dumped over 50 inches and killed 34 people in December.
Snow finally began to fall in places like New York City and Boston by late February. And while Buffalo is normally a snowy place, it’s still not where snow falls the most.
There are lots of places in the U.S. where snowfall isn’t officially recorded, and many of the places where it is recorded are remote and uninhabited. According to CurrentResults, a weather site that summarizes published weather data and research, a station on Mount Rainier in Washington state recorded a whopping 92 feet of snow in 1971.
The snowfall figures on this list come from CurrentResults, which compiled them from 5,659 weather stations in the U.S. that contributed quality data over the 30-year period from 1991 to 2020 for NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
Many of these places that are inhabited are, naturally, popular ski spots.
Here are the average annual snowfall figures for 20 places that receive over 200 inches of snow a year.
1. Crater Lake Park Headquarters, Ore.
Average annual snowfall, inches: 463.1
The park in Oregon is centered around a blue volcanic crater lake, and the headquarters gets an average of nearly 39 feet of snow. Average snowfall has declined over the years — from an average of 51 feet in the 1930s to 41 feet in 2021. The greatest cumulative snowfall for one season was 879 inches, a whopping 73 feet, back in the winter of 1932-33, according to the National Park Service.
Crater Lake National Park’s tremendous snowfall is a result of its position at the crest of the Cascade Mountains. The lodge, shown here, offers views of the lake.
2. Alta, Utah
Average annual snowfall, inches: 458.3
Alta is in Utah’s Wasatch Mountain Range, near Salt Lake City. It’s known for its ski resorts, naturally. By late February this year, Alta had gotten 552 inches of snow for the season.
The summer’s reward for all that snow in Alta are stunning fields of wildflowers around July.
3. Soda Springs, Calif.
Average annual snowfall, inches: 445.0
Soda Springs is a small community and ski resort on Interstate 80 just west of the Sierra Nevada’s Donner Summit. The pass is named for the Donner party, a group of pioneers who were trapped there by 29 feet of snow in the winter of 1846-47 on their way west.
A few miles from Soda Springs on Donner Summit is the town of Truckee, Calif., which averages about 206 inches of snow a year. The area is known for its Lake Tahoe ski resorts.
4. Gothic, Colo.
Average annual snowfall, inches: 389
An otherwise abandoned silver-mining town north of Crested Butte has been home to the non-profit Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory since 1928.
Charlie DeTar / Wikipedia
5. Valdez, Alaska
Average annual snowfall, inches: 325.3
This town of about 4,000 on Prince William Sound gets its share of snow and bills itself as the snow capital of the U.S.A.
6. Climax Mine, Colo.
Average annual snowfall, inches: 294.7
Climax is another ghost town. It sits in central Colorado on the Continental Divide, and was once the highest human settlement in the U.S. It is still home to a molybdenum mine. The spot has a mean annual temperature of 30.7 °F, just below freezing, and may be the coldest settlement ever established in the lower 48.
John Holm from Leadville, CO, USA/Wikipedia
7. Yellowstone Park South Entrance, Wyo.
Average annual snowfall, inches: 293.6
In Yellowstone in winter, most roads are only open to snowcoach and snowmobile travel. The only road open year round is at the North Entrance at Gardiner, Mont.
Winter temperatures in Yellowstone range from zero to 20°F. during the day. The park has a number of warming huts for snow-loving skiers, snowshoers, and snowmobilers.
8. Mount Washington, N.H.
Average annual snowfall, inches: 281.8
Crew members of the Mount Washington Observatory’s mountaintop weather station live on the summit for a week at a time, taking hourly weather observations, performing research, and conducting educational programs.
Despite its beauty, Mount Washington can be an inhospitable place. Winds of 231 miles per hour have been recorded here.
9. Holden Village, Wash.
Average annual snowfall, inches: 273.7
Holden Village is a remote wilderness community and Lutheran Christian center in the North Cascades averaging nearly 23 feet of snow annually.
10. Whittier, Alaska
Average annual snowfall, inches: 268.2
11. Main Bay, Alaska
Average annual snowfall, inches: 261.8
Main Bay, Prince William Sound, is on the east coast of the Kenai Peninsula. There is a salmon hatchery there. Whittier is the closest city, about 40 miles away.
12. Haines Highway border crossing, Alaska
Average annual snowfall, inches: 245.1
Jay Cross from Berkeley, US/Wikipedia
13. Mount Mansfield Peak, Vt.
Average annual snowfall, inches: 234.9
Vermont’s highest mountain is 4,395 feet and a popular ski spot. According to NOAA, snowfall has been recorded on the summit for every month of the year.
Mount Mansfield averages almost 200 nights a year at or below freezing, and extreme temperatures from 85 F in 2020 to 39 below zero F in 1968. It looms over the town of Stowe, Vermont, pictured here.
14. Government Camp, Ore.
Average annual snowfall, inches: 232.5
Government Camp sits at the base of Oregon’s imposing Mt. Hood and gets its share of snow.
Government Camp, with fewer than 200 people, is the gateway to several ski resorts on Mount Hood.
15. Lookout State Forest, Copenhagen, N.Y.
Average annual snowfall, inches: 227.7
16. Skyline Mine, Scofield, Utah
Average annual snowfall, inches: 225.4
This tiny town was home to a coal mine that is remembered for an explosion that killed 100 people in May of 1900. This image portrays the dedication of the graves of those killed.
17. Sherman, N.Y.
Average annual snowfall, inches: 224.5
This town in Chautauqua County, N.Y., is situated near Lake Erie and Chautauqua Lake southwest of Buffalo.
18. Lodgepole, Calif.
Average annual snowfall, inches: 220.4
The Lodgepole campground, at around 6,700 feet in the Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park gets an average of 220 inches of snow a year.
19. Alyeska, Alaska
Average annual snowfall, inches: 214.5
CurrentResults lists 214.5 inches of average annual snowfall, but the ski resort in Alyeska boasts over 600 inches of snow on the mountain.
20. Winter Park, Colo.
Average annual snowfall, inches: 214
Winter Park is 67 miles West of Denver in the Rockies. The resort makes the most of its plentiful snow with everything from skiing and snowboarding to ski-biking, snowshoeing and stargazing from a SnoCat.
Check out more of the snowiest places at CurrentResults.com.