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What are the most unique Ski Areas?

Poll Results: What aspect contributes MOST to a ski areas uniqueness?

 
  • 3% (1)
    Employees
  • 3% (1)
    Customers
  • 71% (20)
    Terrain
  • 3% (1)
    Natural Snow (amount & quality)
  • 0% (0)
    Artificial Snow (amount & quality)
  • 0% (0)
    Lift System
  • 3% (1)
    Location/Ease of Access
  • 14% (4)
    Surrounding Town
  • 0% (0)
    On Mountain Restaurants & other Amenities
  • 0% (0)
    I don't think Ski Areas are unique from each other
  • 0% (0)
    Something else- post below
28 Total Votes  
post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

What areas do you find to be most unique?

post #2 of 30
I think it should be a multi choice poll. Can you fix that? Kind of surprised, given your handle, that you didn't put something to do with the ski school...
post #3 of 30

Its gotta be either the terrain or the natural snow for me.  Since i spend most of my time in the trees searching for fresh powder those are the 2 most important factors when choosing a mountain

post #4 of 30
I think on marking something "unique" (there is no "most unique", it is either one-of-a-kind or it isn't.
Quote:
1 : being the only one : sole (his unique concern was his own comfort) (I can't walk away with a unique copy. Suppose I lost it? — Kingsley Amis)(the unique factorization of a number into prime factors)
2 a : being without a like or equal : unequaled (could stare at the flames, each one new, violent, unique — Robert Coover) 
b : distinctively characteristic : peculiar (this is not a condition unique to California — Ronald Reagan)

it has to be something that if they blindfolded you and helicoptered you in, you'd know where you were. That is different entirely from "most important to you". If you want most important, then you need to change the wording.
post #5 of 30
Unique is very subjective, but I've visited about 80 North American ski areas (and five more in Europe). I have yet to ski many great places, but here are a few from those 80 that I recall as unique and the common denominator is terrain.
Le Massif, Quebec: good vertical, small crowds, stunning setting hard against the shoreline of the St. Lawrence River, which is like an ocean at that point.
Wildcat, NH: on a good day it looks and skis like an excellent trail pod somewhere in Colorado.
Taos, NM: tons of very challenging terrain, much lower key (and interesting southwest vibe) than most other renowned mountains with similar world class terrain.
Arapahoe Basin, CO: impressive high alpine terrain, fantastic bump runs off Pallavicini chairlift
Aspen Highlands, CO: scenic steeps and great side country in Highland Bowl.
AltaBird, UT: beautiful challenging terrain, great snow
Squaw Valley: accessible extreme terrain for those who want to play and for those who just like to watch others play.
post #6 of 30

For a ski area that offers what I and probably some others consider unique terrain, you'd have to list Purgatory/Durango Mtn Resort with it's "rolling terrain/benches". I've skied about 70 different areas in North America and I've seen nothing like it.

post #7 of 30

The first place that came to mind when I saw the word "unique" was Vermont's Mad River Glen and their single chair.

 

New England is blessed to have a lot of ski areas, from big to tiny and I can (probably...) think of something that makes all of them "unique" in some way at least in the New England area.

post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post

The first place that came to mind when I saw the word "unique" was Vermont's Mad River Glen and their single chair.



 



New England is blessed to have a lot of ski areas, from big to tiny and I can (probably...) think of something that makes all of them "unique" in some way at least in the New England area.


 



Good one Kevin. How could I forget the incomparable MRG? Of course, if all Stowe had was a single dumpy old chair, no snowmaking, and a lone base lodge the size of a box - to serve all its same bodacious terrain - it would fall into the unique to the nth degree category :-)
post #9 of 30

Snowbird for it's modernist, bunker like architecture.

post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
 

The first place that came to mind when I saw the word "unique" was Vermont's Mad River Glen and their single chair.

 

 

 

New England is blessed to have a lot of ski areas, from big to tiny and I can (probably...) think of something that makes all of them "unique" in some way at least in the New England area.

 



Good one Kevin. How could I forget the incomparable MRG? Of course, if all Stowe had was a single dumpy old chair, no snowmaking, and a lone base lodge the size of a box - to serve all its same bodacious terrain - it would fall into the unique to the nth degree category :-)

 

Of course, Stowe's first ski trails were cut and used for several years before the first lift went in, before snowmaking was invented, and the lone "base lodge" was just the CCC base.  I imagine it was pretty unique in the 1930s as one of the only -- if not the only -- ski areas in the state at the time.

 

Lifts?  We don't need no stinkin' lifts!  :D

 

(For the record, I'm glad they put the lift in...  I've hiked Mt. Mansfield while carrying a rather light summer backpack.  Anybody who could hike up while carrying long wooden skis and still have the energy to somehow pilot those beasts back down has my respect!)

post #11 of 30

I chose snow quality, but the most unique feature of anyplace I have every skied is the Alberta area of Wolf Creek. 1000 acres with no cleared runs and a lift running up the middle. Bowls just off the ridgeline, lots and lots and lots of nicely spaced trees below, tons of cliffs, chutes and other playful stuff hidden everywhere

 

Once I figured the place out, it was mind blowingly good, and made me wonder why more areas aren't doing this.

post #12 of 30

Any ski area ran by Vail Resorts is unique in my mind due to the rape factor.  You pay well for their product and it comes all nice and neat and wrapped up perfectly for you, too perfectly. 

post #13 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by core2 View Post
 

Any ski area ran by Vail Resorts is unique in my mind due to the rape factor.  You pay well for their product and it comes all nice and neat and wrapped up perfectly for you, too perfectly. 

Yeah, when I think of 'rape' I imagine a well polished, professionally delivered vacation experience. Not the most horrific act of violence one human can inflict on another.

post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
 

Yeah, when I think of 'rape' I imagine a well polished, professionally delivered vacation experience. Not the most horrific act of violence one human can inflict on another.

 

Their product is too polished.  They are the reason joe schmoe ski area feels like he can jack his ticket prices from $40 to $70.  I'm glad people enjoy their resorts and pay the big bucks to go to but I'm priced out. 

post #15 of 30

in my mind a ski resort is a ski resort it has terrain and lifts and snow in varying amount and that is not what makes it stand out to me in particular.

 

 

so what makes it unique:

 

1) personal attchment/memories

2) the people (community)

 

 

note: a unique ski report does not mean best. I love going to a small resort in quebec (vallée du parc) becasue i have an attachment to it but it's in no way extraordinary and i will not make it my preffered destination, still i go there regularly. So to me it's unique but to someone esle it's just a  local hill...

post #16 of 30
Thread Starter 

While the most unique runs I have skied have probably been in Europe, for the typically good tourist skier, I think Vail is the most unique resort, mainly because of the back bowls- acre after acre of open skiing at moderate pitch.



 



Quote:



Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post



I think it should be a multi choice poll. Can you fix that? Kind of surprised, given your handle, that you didn't put something to do with the ski school...



Thought about that as all the elements I mentioned (and others I left out) can contribute to uniqueness, but felt that would be giving people too much of an easy out.



 



Quote:

Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post



I think on marking something "unique" (there is no "most unique", it is either one-of-a-kind or it isn't.

it has to be something that if they blindfolded you and helicoptered you in, you'd know where you were. That is different entirely from "most important to you". If you want most important, then you need to change the wording.



No ski area that I know of is exactly the same as another, so I could argue that all ski areas are unique using your definition...I think you are confusing unique with recognizable.  Something can be unique the first time you see/experience it.



 



Mods- I just noticed I left the "i" off ski, can someone fix that?

post #17 of 30

Silverton

post #18 of 30
Silver mt. Id.
post #19 of 30

not the best areas for conditions but if your on the local hills in Vancouver you'll always know where you are.

Depending on which way your looking:

ocean, fjords, islands, lakes, a huge river delta,several mountain ranges,a volcano, glaciated peaks,endless forested wilderness or a view over the city lights.  

post #20 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by core2 View Post
 

 

Their product is too polished.  They are the reason joe schmoe ski area feels like he can jack his ticket prices from $40 to $70.  I'm glad people enjoy their resorts and pay the big bucks to go to but I'm priced out. 

 

They're not THAT polished.  Yeah there's a buttload of marketing and long walks to the lift that force you through the shop arena but once you get on the mountain it's just a mountain, not much different from other places.

 

And to me that's a lot of what makes a place unique...those where you can park real close to the lifts or at least be easily shuttled there seem far less commercial than the alternative and let the personality of the place take center stage over the glitz.

post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Silverton


I have not been there but I've have to agree. Definitely in a league of its own.
post #22 of 30

Castle-  'Get'er done by burnin' fossil fuel and drinking rye'

For those who haven't read the unofficial guide.

 

 

post #23 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

I chose snow quality, but the most unique feature of anyplace I have every skied is the Alberta area of Wolf Creek. 1000 acres with no cleared runs and a lift running up the middle. Bowls just off the ridgeline, lots and lots and lots of nicely spaced trees below, tons of cliffs, chutes and other playful stuff hidden everywhere

 

Once I figured the place out, it was mind blowingly good, and made me wonder why more areas aren't doing this.

Im making a strong pull for Wolf Creek this year to be part of my annual Western ski trip.  What you just described sounds amazing

post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiNEwhere View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Silverton


I have not been there but I've have to agree. Definitely in a league of its own.

I've been there. There's nothing like it.
post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Silverton

 

Mt. Bohemia.  The Silverton of the Upper Peninsula.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee 
I've been there. There's nothing like it.

Well actually, this is true.

 

 

But Boho does have twice the number of chairlifts =)

post #26 of 30

The uniqueness of all the surrounding areas is what I really like about living in Summit County- when I am not working I generally pick where I go based on snow report and what I am in the mood for skiing.  While 5 of the 7 nearby areas are "Epic" the terrain at each is quite different from each other- when the snow is good, Keystone is my favorite for trees, A basin gives quick access to nice steeps in compact area while Brecks steeps tend to be more open.  Copper has a bit of everything while Loveland can offer untracked into weekday afternoons.

post #27 of 30

The poll also lacks a "all of the above" option.

 

Almost every single mountain has something unique to offer. That's why they attract the skier traffic they do. 

 

As others mentioned, ski school is one big category missing. But for the most part, each mountain has a unique combination of some of those aspects. 

post #28 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post


I've been there. There's nothing like it.

 

Yeah.

 

Not all of that uniqueness is universally good- If the goal is untracked, I can stay at Wolf and get a ton more of that with a lot shorter hikes- generally with a lot more snow to boot. I am speaking of unguided- guided is probably better in that respect, but I have heard from a ton of people that unless you cram your group with chargers who have Lance Armstrong-style V02 max lungs, then you can expect 4 runs.

 

But there is no other mountain whose easiest way down is pretty equivalent to Pallavicini.  No other mountain whose base lodge consists of a leaking tent and automotive bench seats, and no other mountain that dishes 360* of salivating lines from the top of the chair.

post #29 of 30

I think Snowbowl in Missoula is unique.  Ungroomed wild slopes with good terrain and you could rent the whole upstairs for not a lot of money. Cool people with basic amenities afforded. Perfect. It's not like any other place I have skied in my adulthood. The ones similar from my youth are all gone or upscaled

post #30 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post
 

Silverton

Yes! It's the anti resort and is probably the most unique ski experience in the United States without a doubt! 

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