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Ski resorts exaggerate piste lengths

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Apparently ski resorts in europe exagerate their piste length (going as far as acounting for skiers zig-zaging on their slopes)...

 

but i guess nothing new under the sun... here in quebec stations overestimate their vertical and i'm sure stations out west do some creative accounting when measuring up their acreage.

 

 

 

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/snowandski/skiing-news/10306625/Ski-resorts-exaggerate-piste-lengths.html

 

http://www.liberation.fr/vous/2013/10/15/pistes-de-ski-quand-les-stations-trichent-sur-la-longueur_939639

post #2 of 16

Definitely a few puns in this somewhere.  How about, is isn't the length that matters but how you use the length you've got?

post #3 of 16
To be honest, I never really pay attention to the piste lengths. I mainly look at base altitude (gives me an idea of how much terrain is below tree line), total vertical, and number of lifts. Then, I take a look at the piste map to see how tightly packed the pistes are (I prefer lots of space between pistes for easy-access off piste).
post #4 of 16
Base elevation, vertical, reputation .... run length is way down the list of things I care about.
post #5 of 16
Too long a run length usually indicates a flat green trail. I get the feeling in Europe that a lot of people are there to cruise? If true, that would explain the preoccupation with run length.

Here you get people, on this very forum, comparing snowfall stats. 325 being seen as better than 300 at another resort with 1) a different way of counting snowfall, 2) a different season length, 3) different type of snow, and/or 4) differing amounts of large rocks to cover.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

i don't particularly care about total piste length either but that's pretty much how they measure up resorts in europe. Much like acreage in north america.

 

An interesting fact out of this: I was convinced WB was a medium size resort by european standards but it seems they are in 5th place worlwide for piste length.  I was very surprised, maybe runs are more dense or they count everysingle named run/passage as a piste because even a medium resort in europe looks bigger.

post #7 of 16
So, basically, they're measuring the length of every run and then adding them up? That's sort of crazy for here in the West because so much of our skiing is open bowls or, here in Whitefish, trees. Are they only counting groomers? Again nuts. Most of the "more desirable" terrain here is NOT GROOMED. In fact, on a powder day, you'd cause a riot if you started grooming some areas. Basically, here, if you were comparing total groomer length you'd be destroying reputations.
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Too long a run length usually indicates a flat green trail. I get the feeling in Europe that a lot of people are there to cruise? If true, that would explain the preoccupation with run length.

Here you get people, on this very forum, comparing snowfall stats. 325 being seen as better than 300 at another resort with 1) a different way of counting snowfall, 2) a different season length, 3) different type of snow, and/or 4) differing amounts of large rocks to cover.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

So, basically, they're measuring the length of every run and then adding them up? That's sort of crazy for here in the West because so much of our skiing is open bowls or, here in Whitefish, trees. Are they only counting groomers? Again nuts. Most of the "more desirable" terrain here is NOT GROOMED. In fact, on a powder day, you'd cause a riot if you started grooming some areas. Basically, here, if you were comparing total groomer length you'd be destroying reputations.

 

Because of the popularity of World Cup racing, most people in Europe are focused on carving around on groomers, which is why most marked trails are groomed (even fairly steep blacks). Some resorts will have some marked but ungroomed trails with some avi control, but most powder hounds have to go off piste to get untouched snow.

post #9 of 16
So, note to self...Leave Hell and Backs home, bring Recons.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

So, note to self...Leave Hell and Backs home, bring Recons.

 



Not necessarily. In a lot of resorts, there's a ton of easy-access off-piste terrain, so a 95-105 ski that can hold an edge reasonably well on the groomers is a good tool to have. You can usually find some ungroomed snow to play in, but you'll have to spend some time cruising the groomers to get to it (or to get back to the lift).
post #11 of 16

Sounds like a Hell'n Back might just be heavenly! 

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by yann View Post
 

Apparently ski resorts in europe exagerate their piste length (going as far as acounting for skiers zig-zaging on their slopes)...

 

but i guess nothing new under the sun... here in quebec stations overestimate their vertical and i'm sure stations out west do some creative accounting when measuring up their acreage.

 

In the end, do you ski the snow or the measurement?

 

It doesn't mater if the vertical and length measurement is off.  You can't ski what isn't there.

 

It's the quality of the snow and terrain that really matters.

post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by yann View Post
 

Apparently ski resorts in europe exagerate their piste length (going as far as acounting for skiers zig-zaging on their slopes)...

 

but i guess nothing new under the sun... here in quebec stations overestimate their vertical and i'm sure stations out west do some creative accounting when measuring up their acreage.

 

 

 

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/snowandski/skiing-news/10306625/Ski-resorts-exaggerate-piste-lengths.html

 

http://www.liberation.fr/vous/2013/10/15/pistes-de-ski-quand-les-stations-trichent-sur-la-longueur_939639

Ski areas exaggerate (period!).  Just have a look at Jay Peak snow fall reports, if you do not believe me.  They get good snow, but there is no way they get twice the snow fall of nearby Sutton or Burke.  And you are correct:  some ski areas in Quebec misstate their true vertical:  Mont Blanc, Mont Garceau and Mont St-Sauveur respectively claim 1000, 1000 and 700 vertical feet, when in actual fact, the truth is closer to 700, 650 and 550 vertical feet.

post #14 of 16
Quote:
 So, basically, they're measuring the length of every run and then adding them up? That's sort of crazy for here in the West because so much of our skiing is open bowls or, here in Whitefish, trees. Are they only counting groomers? Again nuts. Most of the "more desirable" terrain here is NOT GROOMED. In fact, on a powder day, you'd cause a riot if you started grooming some areas. Basically, here, if you were comparing total groomer length you'd be destroying reputations.

 

Yes, the standard over there is measuring the resort in terms of 'length' and not area like they do in the US.  At a lot of European resorts, once you are off the groomed trails you are "out of bounds" in terms of avi control and rescue -- sometimes even if you're just on an ungroomed hillside between two groomed trails!  They may be prohibited from advertising such terrain as being part of the resort.

 

Also, a lot of the larger resorts are above treeline (and the trees that are there tend to be much denser than in the Western US), so my impression is that glade skiing is not as big in many areas.

 

Quote:
 Ski areas exaggerate (period!).  Just have a look at Jay Peak snow fall reports, if you do not believe me.  They get good snow, but there is no way they get twice the snow fall of nearby Sutton or Burke.

 

While I have not made it up to Jay, people I know say they do get some weird microclimate things that can cause them to get more snow than the surrounding area.  I dunno about twice as much, but I wouldn't be surprised if they got significantly more snow than some other resorts in the area.

 

There is a more extreme example in Salt Lake City.  The Cottonwood Canyons resorts (Alta/Snowbird, Solitude, Brighton) are not actually very far from Park City as the crow flies, but they get WAY more snow.  The shape of the mountains and the prevailing winds cause the storms to dump substantially more moisture on the western side of the Wasatch (SLC) than the eastern side (PC).  So this sort of thing can happen.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by yann View Post
 

An interesting fact out of this: I was convinced WB was a medium size resort by european standards but it seems they are in 5th place worlwide for piste length.  I was very surprised, maybe runs are more dense or they count everysingle named run/passage as a piste because even a medium resort in europe looks bigger.

 

Whistler-Blackcomb has 8171 acres of skiable in-bounds terrain. How much in-bounds terrain is there at typical european resorts? 

 

Whistler's longest run is apparently 11 km on Burnt Stew -> Side-Winder -> Upper Olympic -> Lower Olympic. Blackcomb's "longest run" is Green Road -> Easy Out. Both mountains' longest runs are mostly (or entirely) cat track and an unpleasant ski. Longest run is a terrible stat to use to judge a resort since I'd never go out of my way to ski the longest run. 

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

it's not longest run, it's total piste length. I don't think european resort give area since you technically are considered out of bounds as soon as you leave a piste.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post
 

Whistler-Blackcomb has 8171 acres of skiable in-bounds terrain. How much in-bounds terrain is there at typical european resorts?

 

But for fun, i just measured serre chevalier (a medium-large resort) in google earth. I took a rought area of the zone around all the pistes and come up to 9000 acres (most of it is considered out of bounds).

 

So despite my impressions that serre-chevalier felt bigger, the size is comparable but whistler is actually much bigger since almost all is inbounds.

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