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What is Skiable Terrain?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am not sure how the ski areas report "skiable terrain". Assume it is meant to describe lift served areas. Still, how do they exeactly calculate the "area"?

1. Only the skiable slopes, not counting the trees, rocks, cliffs, closed areas...
2. The entire mountain in the resort boundary, include closed areas.
3. #2 plus the base lodge area, the ski-in/out hotels/condos, the lift house, the village etc.

Thanks.
post #2 of 17
Generally it is the area inside the boundaries. Trees, rocks, cliffs etc. are included. There is, however huge variation on the results. Some resorts stretch their size by including permitted acres instead of actual lift served acres. Heavenly is one of the worst offenders. They claims something like 4800 acres when it is really 2000 skiable acres. Park City claims 3300 acres (which is true) but 1000 of those are hike-to terrain.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
How about cross country skiing areas next to the down hill areas, I bet they count those in.
post #4 of 17
You can bet if it holds snow they count it! I keep wondering if PCMR will ever put a lift up Pinecone ridge and also put a lift over to 1094? not sure if that is the right name for the mountain. It is the peak just northwest to the back of Jupiter peak between there and the top of Brighton.
post #5 of 17
Yeah, it can seem like a tricky number at times. Generally the way I think most resorts do it is the amount of terrain within the permit area (not including base area) that's avalanche controlled. For example, Copper has some huge amount of permit terrain. But a lot of it isn't controlled, nor can you ski it by accessing it from the resort. So that terrain doesn't count. However, Tucker Mountain is probably about 600 acres and that area is considered skiable terrain, despite the fact you either have to hike it or ride a cat. Last year Keystone went on a big marketing blitz to announce they were the biggest resort in Summit County, however that new terrain is only accessible via a cat or a long hike.

Interestingly, Vail has 5000+ acres and all of it is pretty easy to access.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Ha ha. The above answers bring up more questions:

1. What is the differences between permitted area and resort boundaries? Do you mean some areas in the boundaries are not permitted or vis versa?
2. Silver Star has on its resort map a "back country" area that is lift served, but not AV controlled. I bet you they included that in the count.
3. Sierra @ Tahoe has a new BC area also, you have to hike it, they provide guides for your advanture, I am not sure if they have included those.
4. Is "easier access" or "lift served" a criteria to be account for as "skiable terrain"?
5. Some resorts have buildings on the Nordica slopes, do they count?

Its as confusing and subjective as the snow depth reports provided by the resorts.
post #7 of 17
If Eastern resorts did that they would have better stats. If you have ever skied Mad River everything is considered skiable terrain. I was skiing a crazy gully there the other day. At one point I had to launch a multitiered ice waterfall on it. Later on my friend e-mailed me a topo map and it seems we were skiing in a creek, which made sense after the fact.

Alfonse
post #8 of 17
Since when are trees, rocks, cliffs or closed areas not skiable?
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfonse
If Eastern resorts did that they would have better stats. If you have ever skied Mad River everything is considered skiable terrain. I was skiing a crazy gully there the other day. At one point I had to launch a multitiered ice waterfall on it. Later on my friend e-mailed me a topo map and it seems we were skiing in a creek, which made sense after the fact.

Alfonse
Some of the best skiing I have ever had was on a creek. Being used to Pennslyvania packed powder (e.g., glacial ice) I loved it.

IMHO, skiable terrian should be all acreage owned/patrolled by the resort that is not closed, excluding base areas. Cross-country, cliffs, trees, etc., count, and lifts are irrelevant.

The words some of you are looking for are lift-serviced terrian, and beginner terrian.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackwan1
Ha ha. The above answers bring up more questions:

1. What is the differences between permitted area and resort boundaries? Do you mean some areas in the boundaries are not permitted or vis versa?
Most ski areas around here, and I imagine elsewhere, have already been granted permission by the Forest Service to expand. The land is already covered by a permit that lets them conduct skiing operations on the land. They cannot build on the land though. Just because National Forest land is under permit doesn't mean you can go in and drop in lift towers or build any other "permanent" structures. Here's a good description of Copper and Breckenridge and a really confusing map:
Copper and Breck Permit Areas

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackwan1
4. Is "easier access" or "lift served" a criteria to be account for as "skiable terrain"?
5. Some resorts have buildings on the Nordica slopes, do they count?
No and yes. Buildings take up neglible space.

More interesting would be something like a maintenance yard. For example, Breck has a large building on the mountain where their snowcats are kept. I suspect there's about 3 - 4 acres there and I don't think any of it is considered skiable terrain.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Vinn,
So you are saying In the case of Brek & Copper the Permitted Area is larger than Resort Boundaries? And those extra terrains are reported as "Skiable Terrain"?

Regarding buildings on the slopes, at Big White there are many residental condos and other commercial buildings, in fact the whole village is surronded by Slopes, ALL condos are ski-in/out in middle of the down hill skiing slopes. One of the gondola is below the village and from the village you can ski to the Gondola. How do you account for that? Do you take the area and deduct the Whole Village? If so, what about those skiable trails inside of the village?

I think there is no real standards for resorts reporting any statistics and the readers are subject to marketing exploitation.

BTW, Vinn, the map link did not work.
post #12 of 17
but what does count as skiable for ski-fields without patrol?
They would be left of with no area at all, just because it is uncontrolled?
Even if it is lift-serviced??.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordHedgie
The words some of you are looking for are lift-serviced terrian
Not necessarily. At some areas, there is BC terrain that is lift served and not counted in their reported acreage.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackwan1

BTW, Vinn, the map link did not work.
It was a pooched link. Try this.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackwan1
Vinn,
So you are saying In the case of Brek & Copper the Permitted Area is larger than Resort Boundaries? And those extra terrains are reported as "Skiable Terrain"?
The permitted area is much larger than the ropeline used to denote the inbounds skiing ("resort boundaries" per se.) That extra area is not considered skiable terrain.

For example, the giant Peak 7 bowl (where the worst avalanche disaster in the US took place) is within the current Breckenridge permit area. You can actually access it off the t-bar through a backcountry gate and a short hike will take you to the top of the Ten Mile Range. That area, despite being lift served and within the permit area is not considered skiable terrain. If they were really anxious about counting it, they would probably lead some guided skiing operations in there or maybe run some sort of cat operation (just like Keystone is doing.)

Given the sheer number of clueless idiots that ski at Breck, I'm not sure how interested they are in increasing the amount of "extreme terrain" covered by ski patrol. Then again, it does sound like they're building the Peak 8/Imperial Bowl lift this summer. Perhaps they just prefer broken bones on Peak 8 rather than Peak 7.

Oh - I fixed the link above to the maps showing permitted terrain.
post #16 of 17
Hola! The HEAVENLY numbers are crazy!!! Any sites that post the real, net, or lift-served skiable terrain within boundaries? You know, the truth and nothing but the truth....
post #17 of 17
I don't think European resorts ever give figures of this sort since you can ski anywhere (except a few National Park areas where you need special permission) and there is consequently no boundary. With resorts which can have as much as 7,000 feet of vertical on one piste and often many valleys skiable from one resort (or even from one lift) it would be stupid to measure skiable area in acres: it would have to be square miles!
Here only pistes are patrolled or avalanche controlled (a few resorts have recently reclassified some black runs as off-piste itineries which are not groomed or patrolled but are avalanche controlled. This allows these runs to stay open when there are, for example, a few rocks or some ice showing, despite some litigeous skiers suing resorts over accidents caused by such things (something you have had for much longer, I believe). Normally you can find figures for pistes but that's it.
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