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We are looking to go on holiday this December and we want to go somewhere were there is guaranteed snow.

We want to avoid the obvious areas, such as the Alps, but I am really struggling to find out which other places will typically have snow. There are plenty of sites which give information about snow cover today, but I can't find any that give average coverage over the year.

Is there anywhere that provides information about weather through out the year in different regions?

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    Are you looking for a place where there is guaranteed to be snow or a place which typically has snow around a specific date? Your question is not clear. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Nov 6 '14 at 16:16
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    Are you looking in a particular continent or anywhere in the world? – Aleks G Nov 6 '14 at 16:18
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    @pnuts By the way, Coastal Antarctical isn't guaranteed to have snow in December - it's summer there. – Aleks G Nov 6 '14 at 16:22
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    Ok generally speaking you can assume that whenever ski resorts open, there will be snow. This will be either natural or artificial depending on how warm the winter so far. Take Courmayeur as an example. I know you said no Alps but this could be a starting point for your research. – JoErNanO Nov 6 '14 at 16:40
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    Sufficient snow cover isn't even guaranteed in most of the Alps in December… – Relaxed Nov 6 '14 at 16:43
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The answer is going to depend on the country. There is no worldwide answer.

National meteorological institutes often have maps of snow frequency. Not that you want snowcover, which may be harder to find than snowfall. Some places get lots of snowfall that melts within days, whereas others might get only little snowfall, but are so cold that any snow falling October or later is sure to remain until April at least. Interpreting precipitation + temperature statistics to estimate snowcover frequency is possible but error-prone. The answers, per country, below, are all based on snowcover data.

Sweden

For example, this map shows the probability of a "white christmas" (at least 5 cm of snow on 24, 25, 26 December) in Sweden:

Sweden frequency of white christmas
Frequency of White Christmas, 1931-1980. Source: SMHI

You can safely extrapolate from the gradient in this map that anywhere further south, you can't be sure to see snow (except in the mountains).

Norway

Similarly, you can browse senorge.no to get historical snow observations, although I don't know if they have a frequency map like the Swedish do.

Finland

Finnish FMI has a set of maps with snow statistics, as well as White Christmas probabilities:

FMI White Christmas
Frequency of White Christmas, Source: FMI

Canada

I don't know about maps for Canada. I'm quite sure that on a map covering all of Canada, all will have close to 100% probability of snowcover in winter. Results for deep snow (say >30 cm) might be more interesting. However, Canadian Climate Normals can give you snow frequency per month for any weather station. For example, in January, Toronto has on average 21 days with >1 cm snow per year, Winnipeg has 31, Victoria only has 3.2, and St. Johns has 27.

  • NB: if anyone knows markdown code to make the first image smaller, help is welcome – gerrit Nov 6 '14 at 16:49
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    Change the url of the image adding an l (lowercase L) before the extension, like so: [1]: http://i.stack.imgur.com/Ub8s5l.png. The following sizes are available automatically: l, m, s. Would have done it for you but edits must be more than 6 chars. – JoErNanO Nov 6 '14 at 17:09
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    On the matter of Canada, in Southern Ontario you may get snow in December but it goes away again within days. We don't start making our rink until Dec 26th when we can count on the snow staying down. Toronto is warmer and less snowy than we are. – Kate Gregory Nov 6 '14 at 17:49
  • @KateGregory Your personal experience seems to agree with the climate normals from Environment Canada. – gerrit Nov 6 '14 at 18:13
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In an answer to a previous question about weather, there was a reference to this website called Weather Spark that turned out very great for historical values.

There is no relevant graph beside maybe the probability of precipitation (but it does not say how thick the snow will be) and the snow depth (but there does not seem to be any data). Graphs are accessible through the "Dashboard" tab.

However for each destination there is a yearly report on many topics ("Averages" tab), including snow. I took the example of Annecy, in the French Alps, close to the mountains, and the highest probability of snow falls is between December and January, with over 20%. So for this destination, it would fit your schedule.

I think it is possible to play with this website to find other tools more appropriate to evaluate the snow height (I like the graphs as well but it is harder to evaluate what probability is high enough [the website apparently evaluates the "snow season" when it is above 8%]).

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    The probability of rain is still larger than the probability of snowfall, throughout the Annecy winter. But it's a very pretty visualisation (as most visualisations on weatherspark are). – gerrit Nov 6 '14 at 23:39

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