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?