The 8 Snowiest States in the United States

Written by Dayva Segal
Updated: September 24, 2023
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The United States spans a large swath of land ranging from desert to snowy mountains. The country contains one of the world’s hottest places, and each state experiences extreme weather in a totally different way. Some states get very little snow annually while others get blanketed for months.

An overview of the 8 snowiest states in the United States.

There are several types of snowy winter weather according to the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory. These include snowstorms, lake effect storms, and snow squalls. All of these can lead to long winters with layers of snow on the ground for months. Which states are the snowiest?

1. Vermont

Snow in North Vermont

Vermont has an average snowfall of over 89 inches!

©iStock.com/George Robinson

The green and lush state of Vermont takes the crown as the snowiest state in the US. They have an average annual snowfall of just over 89 inches. However, in some of the state’s snowiest years, it has received over 200 inches.

Part of the reason for the state’s snowy tendencies is that it is landlocked. There are no coastal areas to moderate winter temperatures. However, even though it has no oceanfront property, it still gets nor’easter blizzards caused by coastal conditions in other states. These storms have the potential to dump a ton of snow in one storm.

The other reason for the state’s dramatic snowfall is that the Green Mountains are perfectly placed to create maximum snowfall in a storm. It explains why these mountains are New England’s ski haven.

2. Maine

Blizzard conditions

Maine can get up to 150 inches of snow in a single year.

©Allan Wood Photography/Shutterstock.com

Maine is another beautiful state in New England with long, cold winters. It gets an average of 77.28 inches of snow each year. However, in the snowiest years, it can get up to 150 inches!

Some coastal areas see less than two feet of snow each year, but the northern interior part of the state can get more than 100 inches. The state’s snowiest town is called Caribou and is located near the Canadian border and New Brunswick. The town often has more than a foot of snow on the ground for over 100 days each winter.

3. New Hampshire

Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site

New Hampshire receives 71.44 inches of snow per year.

©Felix Lipov/Shutterstock.com

As it is right next to Vermont, it shouldn’t be any surprise that New Hampshire is high up on the list of snowiest states. New Hampshire receives 71.44 inches of snow per year. However, the snowiest year in the state had more than 170 inches!

However, the state’s snowy conditions are changing, and experts believe it may be due to climate change. When there is snow on the ground, it reflects sunlight and solar radiation, keeping temperatures cooler overall. Without as much snow on the ground, more heat is absorbed into the ground, keeping temperatures higher and creating a cycle that causes faster warming overall.

4. Colorado

Mount Lincoln in winter

The Rocky Mountains create conditions for strong snowfalls that dump over 67 inches a year.

©Tabor Chichakly/Shutterstock.com

Each year Colorado receives 67.3 inches of snow. Similar to Vermont, the Rocky Mountains create conditions for strong snowfalls each year. However, it is further from the coast, so it doesn’t get as much moisture. It has a lot of snowfall, but not as much as the northern New England states, which are closer to the coastline.

5. Alaska

snow in alaska

Alaska averages over 64 inches of snow, but Thompson Pass can get over 500 inches a year.

©Mild Photo/Shutterstock.com

It surprises many that Alaska is not the snowiest state in the country, as it is known for winter weather and its cold climate. However, it is only number 5 on the list of snowiest states! Alaska gets 64.46 inches of snow per year. It’s important to note that some places of Alaska, especially in mountainous regions, do get a ton of snow. Thompson Pass, in the Chugach Mountains, gets about 500 inches of snow on average. In its snowiest year, the area got 974 inches of snow. That’s over 80 feet!

6. Michigan

Cross country skiing in Michigan

Michigan is a great place to enjoy winter activities. It gets over 60 inches of snow a year.

©Christopher Tipton/Shutterstock.com

It makes sense that most of the snowiest states in the country are toward the northern portion of the state. Michigan is no exception. Parts of the state are exceptionally snowy due to the lake effect from the Great Lakes. The lake effect happens when cold air comes down from Canada into the US and passes over the Great Lakes, where it picks up moisture. It then dumps the moisture as snow in large amounts over nearby land.

Michigan gets 60.66 inches of snow per year.

7. New York

Early winter New York snowfall

The average date for a first measurable snowfall in New York City is December 14th. However, in Buffalo and Rochester, the average time for a first snowflake to fall happens between October 23rd and October 24th.

©Andre Carrotflower / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

New York is a pretty large state that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean all the way up to the Canadian border. The areas toward the northern part of the state get the most snow, and Upstate New York has several of the snowiest cities in the entire country, including Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester. New York State receives an average of 55 inches of snow per year. Southern areas of the state, including New York City, see about 25 inches per year, while cities like Syracuse get more than 100 inches per year.

8. Massachusetts

Long Pond, Lakeville Massachusetts

Massachusetts gets nor’easter storms that bring large amounts of snow to the region.

©John Phelan / Creative Commons – License

Number 8 on this list brings us back to New England. Massachusetts receives 51.05 inches of snow on average per year. The state gets nor’easter storms that bring large amounts of snow to the region in addition to smaller storms that add to the yearly totals. In the snowiest years, cities like Boston can receive up to 100 inches!

Bonus: What Are the Snowiest Cities in the United States?

Now that we know about the 8 snowiest states in the U.S., you have been left wondering what the snowiest cities are. Amazingly, several of them fall outside of the 8 snowiest states, yet still make the list due to their annual snowfall. Below is a list of the top 12 snowiest cities in the United States that have populations over 10,000. 

  1. Sault Ste Marie, Michigan – 119.3 inches per year
  2. Syracuse, New York – 114.3 inches per year
  3. Juneau, Alaska – 93.6 inches per year
  4. Buffalo, New York – 92 inches per year
  5. Rochester, New York – 89.3 inches per year
  6. Flagstaff, Arizona – 87.6 inches per year
  7. Duluth, Minnesota – 83.5 inches per year
  8. Erie, Pennsylvania – 80.9 inches per year
  9. Burlington, Vermont – 80.2 inches per year
  10. Muskegon, Michigan – 79.3 inches per year
  11. Caspar, Wyoming – 77 inches per year
  12. Portland, Maine – 70 inches per year

Summary of the 8 Snowiest States in the United States

Here is a list of the 8 snowiest states in the United States:

RankStateAverage annual snowfall
1VermontOver 89 inches
2Maine77.28 inches
3New Hampshire71.44 inches
4Colorado67.3 inches
5Alaska64.46 inches
6Michigan60.66 inches
7New York55 inches
8Massachusetts51.05 inches

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/steverobertsphotography


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About the Author

Dayva is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering astrology, animals, and geography. She has over 12 years of experience as a writer, and graduated from Hofstra University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Music and a Minor in French. She has also completed course work in Core Strengths Coaching, Hypnotherapy, and Technical Communication. Dayva lives in the SF Bay Area with her cute but very shy cat, Tula.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the snowiest state in the US?

Vermont is the snowiest state in the US. It receives the most snow on average each year.

How much snowfall does Vermont receive on average?

The state of Vermont gets just over 89 inches of snow on average each year.

What is the 2nd snowiest state in the US?

Maine is the 2nd snowiest state in the United States. It receives an average of 77.28 inches of snow every year.

Is Alaska the snowiest state in the country?

Alaska is not the snowiest state in the country. It is the 5th snowiest state.

How much snow does Alaska get each year?

Alaska gets an average of 64.46 inches of snow per year.

What is the snowiest place in Alaska?

Thompson Pass, in the Chugach Mountains of Alaska, gets about 500 inches of snow each year on average.

What was the snowiest year at the Thompson Pass in Alaska?

In the winter of 1952-1953, the Thompson Pass received 974 inches of snow, which is more than 80 feet.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, Available here: https://www.nssl.noaa.gov/education/svrwx101/winter/types/
  2. World Population Review, Available here: https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/snowiest-states
  3. USA.com, Available here: http://www.usa.com/rank/us--average-snow--state-rank.htm