I have always enjoyed studying trail maps and have even found myself making conclusions about ski areas I've never even been to based upon the area's trail map. What areas/resorts do you feel have the best trail maps? What specific information do you want conveyed to you through the trail map?
Generally, the more information contained on a map, the better. There are a couple of items which I find I really like:
• markings which identify traverses/flat ridges/runouts such as what you will find on the Aspen maps, Grand Targhee;
• advanced intermediate (blue-black or double blue) designation - Jackson Hole, Telluride, Canyons, Steamboat, Winter Park;
• elevation of top and bottom of lifts (Snowbird, Zermatt).
A lot of trail maps now include a helpful section which lists all of the lifts, the vertical rise of each lift and running time. For those who are looking to load up on vert, this information is great to have on a map.
I love it when a mountain's unique characteristics/personality are also captured in the trail map art. Alta is what comes to mind here as the map is fairly simple, no frills, not even showing the names of the individual runs (good thing since it seems that many of the named runs have alternative nicknames which are more familiar than the official names anyway).
For those of you who use trail maps, what are the things that you are looking for and what maps do you find do an especially good job of depicting the ski resort?