Alta   |  Adam Clark
A Photo Essay

The Science Behind The Greatest Snow on Earth®

Discover why Utah snow is the best for deep-powder skiing and riding.

Written By Evan Thayer

The slogan, The Greatest Snow on Earth®, was coined in 1960 and has subsequently adorned Utah license plates and travel posters for decades. It would be easy for one to dismiss this as simply marketing. “Snow is snow,” you might say, “can Utah’s snow really be better?” Of course, if you are a powderhound and a meteorologist like myself, the answer to that question is simple: Yes. Utah’s snow really is better than almost anywhere else on Earth. In fact, a serious argument can be made – at least from a ski and snowboarding standpoint – that Utah does have the planet’s greatest snow.

There is not one single factor that makes Utah snow better than the competition. Rather, it is a combination of different ingredients that combine to elevate our powder beyond the rest. Let us take a look at these factors and lay out the case for why Utah really does have The Greatest Snow on Earth.


Big Cottonwood Canyon

Photo: Angie Payne



Alta Ski Area

Photo: Scott Markewitz


With an inland, continental climate, Utah sees plenty of cold air dropping down from Canada into the intermountain west and northern Rockies.

Photo: Adam Clark


This cold air allows for low density snow – averaging just 8 percent water content. This means Utah snow is typically deep and fluffy, as seen here at Woodward Park City

Photo: Sean Sullivan


Little Cottonwood Canyon

Photo: Ski Utah


Alta Ski Area

Photo: Adam Clark


Photo: Snowbasin Resort


Photo: Snowbasin Resort


Photo: Courtesy of Snowbasin Resort



Utah promises pristine powder slopes.

Photo: Adam Clark



At Powder Mountain, you can take a snow cat to the powder.

Photo: Austen Diamond


And the powder lasts for days.

Photo: Austen Diamond

Plan Your Ski Trip

Utah's easy access and reliable snowfall keeps ski vacation planning simple, but you should still review our checklist to minimize delays and maximize downhill.

Utah Ski Resorts

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