The best Ski Resort For: Snow

Mt Baker, Washington State
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The Independent Travel

Measuring snow depth and indeed snow quality has always been more of an art than a science. Producing impressive statistics out of very little actual snow is an art form that many a ski resort marketing department has learnt to excel at.

Measuring snow depth and indeed snow quality has always been more of an art than a science. Producing impressive statistics out of very little actual snow is an art form that many a ski resort marketing department has learnt to excel at.

The quality question is hotly contested, but the residents of Utah strongly believe that theirs is the "greatest snow on earth". The state's claim is based on the "dry", light and fluffy nature of the typical local snow. Excess moisture is sucked out of the clouds as they cross the western deserts. What's left falls as powdery snow, in abundance every time of course, on Utah. First-hand experience of the state's snow, as anywhere, depends on whether your visit coincides with one of these white-powder bearing clouds.

Snow depth, and the measurement of it, is another hotly disputed issue for those who get excited about such things. At what point on the mountain do you measure your snow depth for example? Do you measure what has accumulated or what is falling? Ski area marketing departments are driven to distraction by ever greater claims of excess. These appear ever more absurd when the same resorts also claim phenomenal sunshine records – meaning that vast quantities of snow must only fall at night.

The officially recognised (by the US Weather Service, anyway) No 1 destination for snowfall is not found in the tour operator's brochures. Mount Baker in Washington State grabs the most snow from the Pacific before it even reaches Utah. The centre is proud that it has no snowmaking and equally that the slopes still have, "no power lines, no ticket turnstiles, no conglomerates and no magic carpets". They just had a record-breaking 62.5ft (1,905cm) of snowfall a few seasons back. See www.mtbaker.us for details.

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