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Skiable Acres

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I remember reading a thread a while back dealing with skiable acres. After searching the archives, i came across this: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...hlight=skiable
The questions I had were not exactly answered by this thread.

How do resorts figure skiable acres?

I look at a place like Monarch that is considered small with 800 acres. Having been there I can say that it can be crowded on the weekends.

I then look at Stowe and Stratton which my friends consider big resorts back east. They are around 500-600 acres. Given the proximity of large populations, they must get extremly crowded; unless there is a difference in the way they figure the skiable acres.

By way of comparison, Stratton has 600 acres and an uphill capacity of 30,000 per hour. Winter Park has 2,700 acres an uphill capacity of 35,000.

I have seen WP crowded, even in the Jane trees! What must Stratton be like?

To get to the point, do east coast ski areas only count cut trails for skiable acres, or do they use fence to fence measurements?
post #2 of 22
I'm pretty sure they use cut trails to measure acreage, but some resorts also list how much skiing they have including the trees. This is mostly places with open trail policies, like Jay.
post #3 of 22
I'm not 100% sure that skiable acres is the best way to gauge the size of resorts. I know some places that have considerable less acres than others, but they seem about the same in size. I think it is a good way to measure resorts statistically, but I'm not sure how accurate the measurements are.
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 

formula???

It would be interesting to develop some sort of formula or index to describe the "bigness" of a ski area.

Take Breck and Copper. Breck has 1,400 more vertical, but Copper skis bigger.

Loveland has 1,300 acres and Breck has 1,600. Breck feels like it is three or four times bigger than Loveland when it is only 23% larger.

There are other mountains that are roughly the same skiable acres, but some feel big and some feel crowded.

Something doesn't add up. Maybe I just have ski fever, and should quit obsessing over things that I cannot change!
post #5 of 22
Skiable acres and vertical drops can be very misleading so buyer beware. You have to do your homework and see how much of that terrain actually suits what you like to ski. I'd rather have 200 lbs of steak that 2000 lbs of sht on a stick...
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jtran10 View Post
I'm pretty sure they use cut trails to measure acreage, but some resorts also list how much skiing they have including the trees. This is mostly places with open trail policies, like Jay.
This is true, Jay reports 385 acres of "skiiable acreage" and 100+ acres for "off-piste skiing." Yet if you look at the entire resort it is actually a LOT bigger. This is true for most if not all east coast resorts. I think I saw somewhere (great reference ) that the actual acreage at Jay was well over 1000.

-matt
post #7 of 22
Interesting thread. I was thinking about this last night while reading through the Ski Resort issue. Looking at Stratton and then reading the acreage surprised me. It looks bigger than the 600 or so acres reported. Looking at the trail system. One wonders why they don't widen the runs a bit on the EC resorts. Probably more to do with land mgmt issues than anything.
post #8 of 22
RE: Stratton

The biggest thing there is knowing how to use the lifts and skiing the upper half for the better conditions and less crowded slopes. The good thing is that from the summit you can get anywhere on the mountain.

With the 6-person high speed lifts the lines aren't bad. If you utilize the single line (which I do with friends etc)you're through on most days in a minute or two.

If you ski the gondola at the base or the Sunbowl, you will wait longer. Funny thing about the gondola is the 6 person lift next to it is actually faster, although you unload at the halfway mark. The Kiddebrook chair is also fairly quick but last year it was rarely open, not sure why sometimes because they had snow over there. My favorite is to ski sunrise (never a line and HS 6er) and Ursa single line.

Of course the best thing of all is to come during the week when there are no lines.
post #9 of 22

acreage/trail widening

Eastern trails were traditionally narrow for two reasons. Wind and sun...

The northeast is particularly windy, with persistent strong NW winds, and trees provide windbreaks to keep the snow from blowing off. In addition, trees provide some measure of shade to keep the snow from melting.

Snowmaking has only partially freed eastern ski areas from these limitations, particularly the need for shade to aid in snow preservation. Wind-scouring is still a significant problem, however, which is why so many areas are oriented to the north-east, which gives them at least partial protection from the NW winds.

Trails have been widened considerably since snowmaking.
It is far more efficient to blow snow on a wider trail, rather than lose half of the snow into the woods. Even so, trail width is a compromise.
post #10 of 22
Some places are obviously huge like Vail, WB, Mammoth. In the East I think the acreage # comes mainly from trail measurements, not fence boundary to fence boundary. The West gets big numbers because of all the above tree line terrain and/or open glades policy. Believe some Eastern places now counting open gladed areas in their acreage.

Here are lists from a couple years ago:
from fodors 2003 skiing USA, skiable acres: CA-Heavenly 4800, mammoth 3500, squaw 4000, CO-Snowmass 3000, steamboat 3000, vail 5300, winterpark 2900, MT-Big Sky 3600, big mtn 3000, WY-JH 2500, UT-canyons 3500, Alta&Snowbird 2000+ each/total:4700, VT-Killington 1200.
Vail biggest in US west, Killington biggest US east.
Canada: recent expansion put Whistler/Blackcomb at 8000, lake louise 4200, sunshine 3100
The real egregious place seems to be Heavenly. Beautiful place with a lot of lifts, but it just doesn’t feel as big as the acreage would indicate. There are large gladed areas near CA summit and in the black diamond "canyons" on the NV side that apparently up the acreage #. Otherwise, the place only seemed a little bigger than Killington to me in actual piste/trail count.
I suspect that lift lines on a bad day at Winter Park are not too dissimilar from lines on a bad day at Killington. And some of the highest traffic trails at WP or other popular Western resorts might ski just as hectically, the difference at Killington is that there are less escape areas to find relative solitude. Many of the intermediate runs at Killington on Presidents Weekend are crazy-busy with people swarming like wet hornets. Even in the East, however, you can find crowd beater zones, usually glades or double diamonds.

Here's another old thread on this topic:
http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=20610
post #11 of 22
Interesting thoughts wrt trail width.

A few observations I noticed year before last the contrast when I skied MRG and Mt Snow on consecutive days. The weather was fairly similar - cold, moderate wind. Mt Snow was promoted back when (70s?) as the new style of mountain - wide open groomed trails to make things easier and attract more visitors.

The wind on the big open Mt Snow trails was brutal as compared with a place like MRG, where it was quiet, more natural and peaceful (except for a few hollers and grunts of skiers trying to navigate it .

I think recently because of improved equipment partially there's been a resurgence of interest in tree skiing (places like Jay, even Mt Snow and others opening up woods). What tends to happen is the snow blows off in there anyway and you end up with far deeper softer snow in the woods and less scrape. It's more like passive natural recreation at that point - less runoff and wind damage in there as well.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj;Here's another old thread on this topic:
[url
Now my interest in developing an index is sparked even more! If you could take the lift served acres, skiable acres, vertical, and uphill capacity. A formula could be developed that would result in a "bigness" rating. I know this is algebra, but where is physics man when you need him?
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by matt7180 View Post
Take Breck and Copper. Breck has 1,400 more vertical, but Copper skis bigger.

Loveland has 1,300 acres and Breck has 1,600. Breck feels like it is three or four times bigger than Loveland when it is only 23% larger.
Uh... Breck has almost 2400 acres- so it really is twice as big as Loveland.

And... Breck has 3390 vert, while Copper has 2600- I'm pretty sure that's not 1400 more vertical. Where are you getting your numbers?? :
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
from fodors 2003 skiing USA, skiable acres: CA-Heavenly 4800, mammoth 3500...
The real egregious place seems to be Heavenly. Beautiful place with a lot of lifts, but it just doesn’t feel as big as the acreage would indicate. There are large gladed areas near CA summit and in the black diamond "canyons" on the NV side that apparently up the acreage #. Otherwise, the place only seemed a little bigger than Killington to me in actual piste/trail count.
yeah, that comparison always jumps out at me, having skied probably five, six times at heavenly and having a season pass at mammoth.

heavenly feels to me like MAYBE half the size of mammoth, at least where what is skiable is concerned. in fact, heavenly is easily the smallest "huge" place i've skied.
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Dunn View Post
Uh... Breck has almost 2400 acres- so it really is twice as big as Loveland.

And... Breck has 3390 vert, while Copper has 2600- I'm pretty sure that's not 1400 more vertical. Where are you getting your numbers?? :
I am getting them here: http://www.skitown.com/resortguide/usamap.cfm
post #16 of 22
yeah I think it's hard to quantify some of this - some places can talk of "continuous vertical" for instance. Not to single them out (but I will) Kmart is one of those places that even though it says 3000 vertical, it skis smaller IMO. Then there are the traverses. It's big, and you realize it, but it seems I spend half the time getting to where I want to go, then everyone's already been there .
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Dunn View Post
Uh... Breck has almost 2400 acres- so it really is twice as big as Loveland.

And... Breck has 3390 vert, while Copper has 2600- I'm pretty sure that's not 1400 more vertical. Where are you getting your numbers?? :
Actually, according to skitown.com, Breck has a vertical of 4337 and Copper of 2601 leaving a difference of 1736. My original contention was that Copper skied bigger than Breck despite a smaller vertical. Even if you are sking off of the Imperial express, it does not seem as big as Copper.

You are right about me mistating the acreage. Breck has 2200 acres and Loveland 1600 for a difference of 600 acres or a 37.5% increase. Breck still seems much, much large than Loveland.
post #18 of 22
copper skied significantly bigger than breck to me, too, but i didn't ride the t-bar and there wasn't the imperial express (peak 8), which looks to make breck a lot more fun.
post #19 of 22
Your numbers are SNAFU; from the Breck website:

Mountain Stats

Season: November 10, 2006 - April 22, 2007 (Weather permitting)
Hours of operation: 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM Mountain Standard Time
Base Elevation: 9,600 feet / 2,926 meters
Summit Elevation: 12,998 feet / 3,963 meters
Vertical Rise: 3,398 feet / 1,036 meters
Lifts: 29

As for the largest skiable acreage in the LWR 48; Big Sky, Moonlight Interconnect, Largest in U.S. Getting Bigger 06/07
That's right, we're adding 212 acres offering 5,512 acres between Big Sky/Moonlight. Details of new terrain will be announced late September.

From http://bigskyresort.com
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bunion View Post
Your numbers are SNAFU; from the Breck website:

Mountain Stats

Season: November 10, 2006 - April 22, 2007 (Weather permitting)
Hours of operation: 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM Mountain Standard Time
Base Elevation: 9,600 feet / 2,926 meters
Summit Elevation: 12,998 feet / 3,963 meters
Vertical Rise: 3,398 feet / 1,036 meters
Lifts: 29

As for the largest skiable acreage in the LWR 48; Big Sky, Moonlight Interconnect, Largest in U.S. Getting Bigger 06/07
That's right, we're adding 212 acres offering 5,512 acres between Big Sky/Moonlight. Details of new terrain will be announced late September.

From http://bigskyresort.com

I just checked Breck's web site and you are right about the vertical. Not sure what is up with skitown.com. They are usually pretty accurate.
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryan View Post
heavenly feels to me like MAYBE half the size of mammoth, at least where what is skiable is concerned. in fact, heavenly is easily the smallest "huge" place i've skied.
Well, that's just about exactly the *real* acreage of Heavenly that I came up with on a GIS program (see references to earlier discussions - too lazy to look it up myself).

Powdr
post #22 of 22
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