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Ski area acreage

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Over on the season pass price thread, the topic of the acreage of ski areas has come up. The point that was made was that Eastern resorts only count on-trail acreage, even if they are open boundary to boundary. While it seems like a very simple question, it seems like an area's acreage can be hard to actually quantify. Obviously official acreage estimates are only going to include inbounds space. But does that include inbounds, off trail space? If an area does start counting that, do they have to figure which parts of the off trail areas are actually skiable?

 

Beyond just 'official' acreage, a lot of serious skiers are going to be looking not just at what is inbounds, but also what is found just beyond the boundaries, what some would term 'sidecountry'. For some areas, this acreage might be negligible or nonexistant. However, for some other areas, the sidecountry acreage easily exceeds the actual acreage between the boundaries. As I am most familiar, I'll use Stowe as an example. Stowe's official acreage is under 500. However, just taking into account off trail, inbounds skiing, that figure easily doubles. Then add to that the acreage you can ski off the Chin, beyond Chinclip, the notch flank of Spruce Peak, the Bruce, Hazleton, Hellbrook.... the list goes on. After you take all of that easily accessible sidecountry acreage into account, you are looking at a skiable area in excess of 2,000 acres easily.

 

So, how does one estimate actual acreage?

post #2 of 14

FWIW, although we have some cliffs here, you can get to the base of them without actually launching off them.  Beyond that, there are no treed areas within our borders that I can think of that are not ACTUALLY SKIED.  Maybe not by many, but by more than guys peeing or having a toke.  The one area that I might wonder a bit about the extent of the skiing is in between Area 51 (not on the map) and Purgatory.  I know there are tracks in there and I know my daughter has skied in there, but it is possible that there are parts of it not skied.

 

On the other hand, Hellroaring Peak, beyond the resort boundary line, is quite often skied, as is Canyon Creek and another area known by various names to the left of Gray Wolf.  All those areas in total acreage FAR FAR FAR exceed the area that I am unsure of.  

 

The resort's "permit area" is actually larger than the boundary ropes, as is shown by the fact that they are adding 200 acres on the north side that has apparently been within their permit area, but out of bounds, all along.  I'd say that the area was probably skied before by the hardy who decided not to quite get over to Canyon Creek.  

 

So, the 3000 acres are basically all skiable IMO.  Depending on where you are drawing the lines.  By the ropes?  Might be a tad less.  Commonly skied?  Way more.  


Edited by sibhusky - 12/7/13 at 4:40pm
post #3 of 14

the sidecounty and remember sidcountry does not exist........ is not part of stowe. even though is part of the skiing experience there.  FYI 500 acres is including the inbounds woods at stowe. Stowe does have the most skiable terrain(inbounds and outbounds) from its lifts than any other eastern ski area. it not the largest inbounds though.

 

by your logic western areas would get ALOT bigger. Snowbird which is roughly 3000 acres of inbounds skiing would easily be 9000 acres when you include everything you can get to in a 40 minute hike/skin.

post #4 of 14

Ski area acreage, like most ski stats is often very inaccurate in my experience.  I don't think there is much standardization of how it's measured other than that most ski areas are trying to use it as part of their marketing.

 

What I do now, is use a tool like: http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-area-calculator-tool.htm to estimate ski area.  You define how you want to measure it (include/exclude glades, bowls, etc.)  I usually just outline the overall ski area and exclude any large parts of the ski area that are unskiable.  I think it's a good estimate and one that's generally unbiased. 

 

Using Stowe as an example, I just did a quick estimate including inbound skiing, including woods between runs and came up with about 1400 acres.

 

One disclaimer, I suspect this area tool above assumes the ground is flat.  A single square shaped acre would have dimensions of 207' x 207'.  If there was a mountain in the middle of a 207' x 207' square, I think you would say it has more than an acre of surface area.  So I'm just suggesting the tool as a general estimate that is probably an underestimate.

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanvg View Post

Ski area acreage, like most ski stats is often very inaccurate in my experience.  I don't think there is much standardization of how it's measured other than that most ski areas are trying to use it as part of their marketing.

What I do now, is use a tool like: http://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-area-calculator-tool.htm to estimate ski area.  You define how you want to measure it (include/exclude glades, bowls, etc.)  I usually just outline the overall ski area and exclude any large parts of the ski area that are unskiable.  I think it's a good estimate and one that's generally unbiased. 

Using Stowe as an example, I just did a quick estimate including inbound skiing, including woods between runs and came up with about 1400 acres.

One disclaimer, I suspect this area tool above assumes the ground is flat.  A single square shaped acre would have dimensions of 207' x 207'.  If there was a mountain in the middle of a 207' x 207' square, I think you would say it has more than an acre of surface area.  So I'm just suggesting the tool as a general estimate that is probably an underestimate.

May not be the best idea to do that for a ski resort since the most of it consists of slopes. The steeper the slopes are, the more this method of calculation will throw you off. I think the way the resorts do is to do geo survey and mapping to find out the surface area, which should be pretty accurate since they are aiming for the 'skiable areas (inbound)'. Outbound does not count.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post

the sidecounty and remember sidcountry does not exist........ is not part of stowe. even though is part of the skiing experience there.  FYI 500 acres is including the inbounds woods at stowe. Stowe does have the most skiable terrain(inbounds and outbounds) from its lifts than any other eastern ski area. it not the largest inbounds though.

by your logic western areas would get ALOT bigger. Snowbird which is roughly 3000 acres of inbounds skiing would easily be 9000 acres when you include everything you can get to in a 40 minute hike/skin.
Very true, the 'sidecountry' isn't part of Stowe, which is why a resort would never count it in any type acreage estimate. But those areas outside the boundaries do have a bearing on why many people ski at Stowe, so it's worth considering in real world discussion, as opposed to 'official' discussion. Also, Stowe's acreage only includes trees marked on the trail map, not any of the typical stuff we ski.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

I just used the tool above, and got the inbounds area of Stowe to be somewhere in the ballpark of 1100 acres. This includes taking out the ravine between Nosedive and Perry Merrill. Including all the area from the Bruce, over the Chin, down into the Notch and up over to Spruce, I calculated somewhere in the ballpark of 4000 acres for skiable acreage where at least 3/4 of the vertical is gained by lift, and has an easy return to a lift. As noted above, this is all over sloped terrain, meaning the flat map estimate is going to be too small, as opposed to what the actual ground covered is. 

 

So, what are some other area's 'real' acreage? I'd be very curious to see what Sugarbush looks like with the Slidebrook area taken into account. 

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post


Very true, the 'sidecountry' isn't part of Stowe, which is why a resort would never count it in any type acreage estimate. But those areas outside the boundaries do have a bearing on why many people ski at Stowe, so it's worth considering in real world discussion, as opposed to 'official' discussion. Also, Stowe's acreage only includes trees marked on the trail map, not any of the typical stuff we ski.

 

 

there are no trees marked on the trail map anymore.....

 

http://www.stowe.com/ski-ride/trail-map/interactive-flash-trail-map/

 

as far as stowe is concerned stuff like lookout woods, nosedive glades and tres amigos no longer exist since going open boundary with the ski school.

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post
 

 

 

there are no trees marked on the trail map anymore.....

 

http://www.stowe.com/ski-ride/trail-map/interactive-flash-trail-map/

 

as far as stowe is concerned stuff like lookout woods, nosedive glades and tres amigos no longer exist since going open boundary with the ski school.

True, but they were once on the map, and Stowe wasn't going to take a hit on the acreage, so they left the acreage as what it was when those glades were on the map. Marketing is a tricky bunch.

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaserPower View Post


May not be the best idea to do that for a ski resort since the most of it consists of slopes. The steeper the slopes are, the more this method of calculation will throw you off. I think the way the resorts do is to do geo survey and mapping to find out the surface area, which should be pretty accurate since they are aiming for the 'skiable areas (inbound)'. Outbound does not count.

 

This is a fair criticism that I mentioned in my original post.  I ran the numbers to see how much error would be introduces with a ski run with a 50% grade (27 degrees) and calculated the error at between 9 and 12% (ran calculations on various shapes [cone, pyramid, various faces, etc.] but not every scenario).  I'm very comfortable with such error for my purposes.  The Stowe example in this thread lists numbers varying from 500 to 2000 which are well larger ranges.

 

I think you give ski areas to much credit for how they measure things.  I think they're using rough estimations and choosing methodologies that generally favor their marketing and vary ski area to ski area.  If I measure it myself, I know it's not perfect, but it's also free of major bias and generally comparable across ski areas.  Plus I can refine the measurement for what I will ski.  (for example, exclude a large terrain park or bunny hill area)

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanvg View Post
 

I think you give ski areas to much credit for how they measure things.  I think they're using rough estimations and choosing methodologies that generally favor their marketing and vary ski area to ski area.  If I measure it myself, I know it's not perfect, but it's also free of major bias and generally comparable across ski areas.  Plus I can refine the measurement for what I will ski.  (for example, exclude a large terrain park or bunny hill area)

Lol true. What can I say, I'm too kind~But on the other hand, I would not get too hanged up on that matter either. There are much better things to do than trying to make a topography of a ski resort. In that case if you actually did, sell it to them for season pass: P 

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeski919 View Post
 

True, but they were once on the map, and Stowe wasn't going to take a hit on the acreage, so they left the acreage as what it was when those glades were on the map. Marketing is a tricky bunch.

 

 

if they are quoting 500(485) acres now their acerage did go up from when they were on the map. it use to be 300 acres......  if you have a map from prior to the change and one from now you can see that.

 

with that said your number of a 1000 seems better. Stowe is bigger than small western areas like A basin and brighton.

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

I just figured out Okemo's in-bounds acreage to be somewhere around 1400 acres. They don't really have anything out of bounds that is skiable via lift, as they've swallowed up all the terrain available with their current trail system. Any out of bounds skiing off the backside requires a long hike or a hitchhike back to a lift. 

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaserPower View Post
 

Lol true. What can I say, I'm too kind~But on the other hand, I would not get too hanged up on that matter either. There are much better things to do than trying to make a topography of a ski resort. In that case if you actually did, sell it to them for season pass: P 

Agreed, let the snow fall again soon and often...
 

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