Well here we are, halfway through winter; that is, halfway between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. Groundhogs saw their shadows at Woodstock, llinois and Punxatauny, Pennsylvania, but that means it was a sun on snow day. Six more weeks of winter, anyway.
Here in the Chicago area, that means more snow. We've had over 50 inches already, and more snow on the way. It's not an all-time record ---yet, but who knows?
Still, this is merely a sampling, compared to the snowiest places on Earth.
Thanks to Andrea Mustain for LiveScience and Jon Erdman for weather.com, I have made a list for you of some places that get really epic snows. Snows that will hopefully amaze you, as they did me. Are you ready? Here we go---
12. Truckee, California---High in the Sierras, this is near the famous Donner Pass and Yosemite National Park. The average annual snowfall is 202.6" or almost 17 feet.
11. Crested Butte, Colorado---High in the Rockies, this area is famous for ski resorts like Vail and Telluride. The average snowfall is 215.3" or almost 18 feet.
10. Mt. Washington, New Hampshire---Famous for snow and skiing, this area averages 21.75 feet of snow.
9. Valdez, Alaska---Surrounded by mountains, Valdez is also home to ski resorts. Pacific moisture produces snow totals averaging 326.3, " over 27 feet annually--almost 5 times the total for Chicago (so far) this year!
8. Chamonix, France---Located in the french alps with Mont Blanc as a backdrop, this beautiful ski resort is world famous. In addition to skiing, it's a draw for enthusiasts of mountain climbing, rock climbing, gliding, and wingsuit flying. Snowfall averages 31.4 feet.
7. Nagano, Japan---Host city for the Winter Olympics in 1998, Nagano is also home to snow monkeys and many hot springs. This scenic area averages 36 feet of snow a year.
6. Kirkwood Mountain, California---In the western Sierras, just south of Lake Tahoe, this ski and resort area gets plenty of Pacific moisture. The average snowfall is 39.4 feet.
5. Alyeska, Alaska---Just outside Anchorage, this ski and resort area averages 42.75 feet of snow a year.
4. Alta Ski Area, Utah---high above Salt Lake City in the Wasatch Mountains, this area gets 43.5 feet of snow. Perfect for ski enthusiasts, but no snowboarders allowed!
3. Mount Fidelity---Glacier National Park, British Columbia--This is an inland exception, not near a big open body of water--one of the factors that produce massive snowfalls. The totals here average 48.25 feet.
2. Niseko, Japan---This resort area in Hokkaido is famous for its lightest powder snow and long ski season which runs from late November until early May. Hokkaido is also known as "Snow Country, " and this area experiences northwest to southeast Siberian winds in the winter. Total average-- 49.5 feet of snow.
And the number one snowiest place on Earth is---
Paradise Ranger Station, Mt. Rainier, Washington---Located in Mt. Rainier National Park, this location has it all--pacific moisture, mountain elevation, and glaciers. It's a winter paradise, indeed. The total snowfall averages a whopping 56.3 feet!
Want more snow? Here's a post about memorable snow in Chicago.
Correction--According to NOAA, the average annual snowfall for Chicago is about 38 inches, which makes the 27 feet average snowfall for Valdez, Alaska about 9 times the average for Chicago!
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