Then again, there are those resort rankings in magazines which I'm sure aren't 100% biased - they have to count for something, no?
No. For one thing, they are based on surveys. They are heavily skewed towards resorts with more visitors just because statistically more surveys will come in from them. Also, people fill the things out even though they have only a day or two of knowledge of the place. The exact days they came could have varied from the norm due to sheer timing of visits. For instance, in spite of the fact that a resort NORMALLY has lots of snow, if the person filled out the survey during a one week "drought" that corresponded with a holiday week, they might think snow conditions suck at that resort. The locals who ski there all season long may know better, but the report will be skewed at resorts that predominantly attract tourists and more skewed by the fact that they all come the same weeks. Assume NOTHING with those surveys. They are not based on objective measurement criteria and corrected for margin of error, unlike political polls which use statistical sampling.
To line up the "trip of a lifetime", you have to identify what is important to YOU. Unless going to the place everyone goes is the key to the success of the trip, then throw that out as a measurement stick.