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舊 2011-11-24, 21:04   #1
Mike
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Where do you find the best powder snow?

A lot of skiers have been comparing the powder of Utah with British Columbia's powder. Since the mountains and the climate of the two places are quite different, it follows that the snow are different.

In B.C. the type of snow you get depends how close you are to the Pacific Ocean. Close to the coast genuine choker snorkel blower (ie. fluffy powder) like you find at Alta and Snowbird is pretty rare even at Whistler and Mt. Baker. Because it is just not that cold nor that high and the weather is full of moisture directly off the Pacific. However what it lacks in quality it tends to make up in quantity. However, the further east you go the dryer the snow gets. Fernie which is 600 miles from the ocean and just about as far east as you can go before crossing the Continental Divide. The snow there tends to be much dryer but still isn't usually Utah quality. Castle Mountain is just on the east side of the Rockies in Alberta and the air is much dryer and therefore so is the snow.

What really makes Utah stands out is in the combination of quantity and quality. Best powder in Utah was at Snowbird, the powder is dry and light. Colorado snow is actually drier, but they don't get nearly as much at their resorts. Resorts in the Cascades and Sierras get as much or more, but their snow is heavier and wetter on average. Nowhere in North America has multiple resorts that average 500+ inches of snow and offer consistent blower conditions. Utah basically gives you the best chance to not just get a storm but to get an epic blower storm.

Japan operates with a different weather phenomenon, based on the cold air from Siberia and tracking across the Sea of Japan, it sucks up the moisture and dumping it on the mountain of Niseko. With low temperatures and low humidity, Niseko’s powder snow is light and dry.
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舊 2011-11-25, 11:53   #2
styrako
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so in your opinion, how does the snow in utah compared with niseko? and what about the snow in alps, europe?
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舊 2011-11-25, 16:53   #3
Mike
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作者: styrako 查看文章
so in your opinion, how does the snow in utah compared with niseko? and what about the snow in alps, europe?
I will let you know next February when I return from SLC.

Alps - the snow is heavy.

此篇文章於 2011-11-25 18:15 被 Mike 編輯。.
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舊 2011-11-25, 21:23   #4
skier
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作者: styrako 查看文章
so in your opinion, how does the snow in utah compared with niseko? and what about the snow in alps, europe?

I have been to SLC, Utah several times, and the the last time I skied Snowbird was only a few year ago, and I have been to Colorado about 5 times in the past.

For consistant good powder snow, Niseko cannot compare to either Utah nor Colorado.
skier 目前離線   回覆時引用此篇文章
舊 2011-11-26, 00:46   #5
Hakuba
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How many times in Niseko Skier?

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Hakuba 目前離線   回覆時引用此篇文章
舊 2011-11-26, 05:10   #6
skier
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How many times in Niseko Skier?
I have been to Niseko/Rusutsu about 10 times. Do not get me wrong, Niseko's powder snow is good, but sometimes it rains.
Same thing for Whistler and Lake Tahoe -- sometimes it rains when it is not cold enough -- the wet snow is dumped in Whistler or Lake Tahoe and when the weather system passes the Rocky Mountains, the remainder lighter dry snow is dumped in Utah and Colorado. Not only that, the base elevation of most Colorado and Utah ski resorts are higher than the peak of Whistler.

Vail, Colorado:
Base elevation: 8,120 feet
Summit elevation: 11,567 feet
Annual snowfall: 366 inches (930 cm)

Snowbird, Utah:
Base elevation: 7,760 feet
Summit elevation: 11,000 feet
Annual snowfall: 500 inches

Heavenly, Lake Tahoe:
Base elevation: 6,565 feet
Summit elevation: 10,067 feet
Annual snowfall: 360 inches

Whistler:
Base elevation: 2,284 feet
Summit elevation: 7,160 feet
Annual snowfall: 410 inches

Niseko:
Base elevation: 990 feet
Top elevation: 4,319 feet
Annual snowfall: 475 inches
skier 目前離線   回覆時引用此篇文章
舊 2011-11-26, 05:34   #7
Mike
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I was told another reason why resorts in Utah come up top is because Utah has regular "lake affect" storms that last for a couple of days dumping several feet of dry powder 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.
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舊 2011-11-26, 10:54   #8
styrako
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so from the above posts, the snow quality should rank as follows?

Utah/Colorado
Niseko
Whistler/the cascades and Alps

That means i must try utah sometime in my life!
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舊 2011-11-26, 13:14   #9
Mike
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作者: styrako 查看文章
so from the above posts, the snow quality should rank as follows?

Utah/Colorado
Niseko
Whistler/the cascades and Alps

That means i must try utah sometime in my life!
You have left out South America (Chile & Argentina) in the above list. The Chilean ski resorts of Portillo, Valle Nevado, La Parva and El Colorado are at altitudes over 3600m in the Andres. The base areas are above the altitudes (Valle Nevado base area is at 3,000m) of most ski resort summits in Canada and Europe! Combine this altitude with the arid climate (cacti grow up to the snow line) you have the most unique snow conditions in the world. The snow falls as a small particle which compacts and forms a dense base so that in the spring the groomed runs stay firm and do not get soft and heavy. When I was skiing there few years ago, the humidity was single figure!

If your list is about dry powder, then the Alps should not be on the list.
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舊 2011-11-30, 01:39   #10
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I love Whistler but the snow at most Japanese resorts would beat it. If you are talking terrain (and infrastructure) then Whistler wins.

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舊 2011-11-30, 01:42   #11
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You've got a good portfolio of resorts there Skier

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舊 2011-11-30, 10:20   #12
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作者: Mike 查看文章
If your list is about dry powder, then the Alps should not be on the list.

In fact more and more people from North Europe come to Niseko for powder, even the Alps is much closer.

此篇文章於 2011-11-30 10:36 被 Mike 編輯。. 原因: Minor typo
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舊 2011-11-30, 10:49   #13
Mike
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作者: freeskier 查看文章
In fact more and more people from North Europe come to Niseko for powder, even the Alps is much closer.
Yes, I noticed this trend as well. Due to the unpredictable snowfall in the Alps there are more British and Scandinavian heading to Japan in search of powder in recent years.

Personally, I think they made the wrong decision - they should go to USA (West & mid-West) instead, where one can find very good powder, the mountain is a lot bigger, runs more challenging, hotel accommodation and food are cheaper, ski pass is cheaper if you plan and buy early.
I'm not disputing the quantity and quality of the powder in Hokkaido, but the mountains are just too small for my liking and also the high cost of skiing in Japan. For these reasons above, I am going to USA again this season for skiing.
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舊 2011-11-30, 17:52   #14
Hakuba
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Actually Mike skiing in Japan is cheap.
Lodge style Accommodation = 400 HKD
Lift tickets = 460 HKD
Bowl of raman and a plate of Gyoza for lunch = 80 HKD
300 gr steak for dinner = 260 HKD
Booze is cheaper than duty free.
Hakuba will be taken over by the scandinavians this year because of the lift accessed back country without the crowds of N.America.
Click the image to open in full size.

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舊 2011-11-30, 20:11   #15
Mike
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Actually Mike skiing in Japan is cheap.
Lodge style Accommodation = 400 HKD
Lift tickets = 460 HKD
Bowl of raman and a plate of Gyoza for lunch = 80 HKD
300 gr steak for dinner = 260 HKD
Booze is cheaper than duty free.
Here is a comparison with what I paid or going to pay for skiing in USA this coming season:
4* Hotel (not Lodge type) accommodation = US$70 per room per night.
Lift ticket = US$369 for season pass (otherwise varies between US$60 & US$88 per day)
Lunch in mountain restaurant = about US10
Buffet dinner in casino = US$15 per person
Booze = $0.00 ( I don't drink )

While I was in Rusutsu last year, I recalled I paid HK$1000 per head per night for accommodation. Buffet dinner in hotel was Yen5,000 per head. Niseko Hilton is even more expensive.
Mike 目前離線   回覆時引用此篇文章
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