When is the best time to ski the USA, Canada or Japan?

by - 2:39:00 AM

Choose to ski Japan, Canada or the USA instead of Europe this year and you instantly improve your chances of floating through fresh powder – while the Alps tend to receive an average of around five metres of snow each year, most resorts in Japan and North America see double that. Snow cover can be relied upon all season long but when are conditions at their best, when will you find the fewest crowds and how can you snap up the biggest bargains?

Image credit to ftw.usatoday.com

Ski Canada in January
Receiving an average of 11-12 metres of snow per year and enjoying one of the longest ski seasons across North America and Canada, Whistler is a solid bet throughout the winter and into spring. The season tends to last from mid-November to late-April but early or late season snowfalls often mean that this gets extended – Whistler opened 13 days earlier than scheduled for the 2013/14 season. The post-holiday lull after Christmas and New Year makes January one of the best months to visit. Accommodation prices are low and the slopes are less crowded but snow is still falling and the backcountry has a good covering – perfect for Whistler’s legendary heli-skiing terrain.

Further inland, in resorts such as Banff and Lake Louise, regular snowfalls can still be relied upon throughout the winter but February and March often see the best conditions – mid-March can be particularly good. One of the best places in Canada for reliable spring snow, you can also have some fantastic late-season sessions here.

Ski USA late Feb/early March
Typically, late February and early March bring some of North America’s best snow conditions. Beginners and fair-weather skiers will also be pleased to find that the weather isn’t too cold at this time of year, while backcountry fans can look forward to full off-piste access, with a well-established snow base.

As in many other parts of the world, January can be a good time to pick up cheaper deals – accommodation rates in Breckenridge are at their lowest from January to mid-Feb, with up to 40% discounts on some condos.  During public holidays or spring break periods you might like to try the less accessible resorts, as those located an hour or two from major cities tend to attract day trippers and weekend skiers. You may find that somewhere like Jackson Hole or Big Sky is less crowded.

Ski Japan mid-Jan to mid-Feb 
Japanese winters are characterised by plenty of dry fluffy powder which blows in from Siberia. Many resorts like Niseko (one of the most popular), receive an average of 10 to 18 metres of snow per season – some weeks it feels like it never stops snowing.

But don’t come here expecting a tan, particularly if you’re skiing in Niseko, where the cloudy weather is more popular with powder-hounds than sun worshippers. The season tends to last from late-November to early-May but the best time to visit is mid-Jan to mid-Feb, when the base layer has built up sufficiently and there’s likely to be plenty of fresh powder around. Naturally, these are the most popular months, so expect busier slopes and peak prices. March is less reliable snow-wise but, if you’re lucky, you can be blessed with perfect powder fields all to yourself, with longer daylight hours.

You May Also Like


Travel & Leisure - Top Blogs Philippines