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Ski Magazine's Top 30 Survey

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I would like to hear from some of you guys who are in the industry on what you think of the top 30 survey. I can tell you right now that I felt like a 'Comrade' in the USSR while reading the propaganda that these guys are paid to push out on the public. Do any of you feel that this survey is as biased as it appears to me??
post #2 of 28
Last year's poll dropped Alta out of the top 25, so they expanded it to 30 this year to "include" Alta (at #28).

This year's laffer appears in the Eastern resorts write up. Jay Peak, at 500+inches/year, real powder and the most interesting terrain on the EC, doesn't even crack the Eastern top 20 (though it is ranked in the top three for snow, challenge and terrrain as I recall).

At least they are consistent. Winner DV and EC winner Mont T. have the best on mountain dining, while Alta's and Jay's facilities are....dumps, actually. Good food and groomers top snow and terrain every time, at SKI magazine.

Question is, is there really a Readers' Poll?? Its like Nielsen ratings--no one ever asks me. Anybody ever been polled by SKI magazine?
post #3 of 28
Every year one of the issues includes a little card you can fill out ranking your top three or so resorts and listing any comments. The poll is supposed to come out of that.

Those rankings are a joke - especially the Jay one.

I wonder what formula they use? Do things like accessability and apres ski get the same rating as terrain and snow?

One more rant ... was anyone else annoyed to find the issue STUFFED with those 'special advertising sections'?? I wouldn't mind as much (other than being disappointed the magazine is half as big as I thought) if they would just use those little glue on things so you can pull them out, but no...only one of them had it. Now my magazine is falling apart because I ripped the binding. I understand the advertising dollars involved, but at least make it easier to pull those stupid things out. By contrast my first issue of Powder came today... it blows Ski and Skiing away.
post #4 of 28
Ski sends its readers to the right resorts for them. It is all about demographics. I want the cats who read ski to ski deer valley & leave Big Cottonwood Canyon alone.
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
I agree with you Ti, those Yuppie readers from the Ski survey need to be kept out of the really good places, but I was hoping to get a discussion going that struck a deeper nerve. That is the fact that these falsehoods that are pushed at all newsstands around the nation are really hurting the ski industry more than all of the other negative factors combined. Just stop and think how long an auto manufacturer would stay in business if their products were glorified to some stratospheric level prior to the customers walking into the showroom. I contend that this 'survey' traumatizes the reading public in that very way. Last season I skiied 34 different ski areas and found that many of the areas that were so glorified in the top 10 were way oversold. There were some nice surprises like Snowmass and Beaver Creek, but the rest of the top 10 don't live up to their glory staus in the skiing category(I haven't skiied Whistler yet.) I really think the G.M. at Ski magazine needs to do some soul searching on just how much the magazine should be driven by advertising dollars. They should take a look at the 'Top Ten' lists that Car and Driver uses. I don't think false information in print form is acceptable whether it is from a pole of uninformed people or from reigning experts. The ski industry must become more exacting if they intend to get the kind of attention it takes to stay intact.
post #6 of 28
Who needs a magazine to tell them where to ski? Well, no one really. But I do like the articles on the out of the way places. It seems like it would take a lifetime to hit all the places that have something worthwhile. For me, those places that rate highest on terrain, snow and such will always rank the highest.
post #7 of 28
i like deer valley. and alta. and whistler. and my driveway, were it steep enough with snow on it. <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by ryan (edited September 19, 2001).]</FONT>
post #8 of 28
A good tactic about not seeing your favorite resorts on such a list . . . is to be glad! Do you really want *more* people at your favorite hill? Of course its a joke, its about money, not about objectivity.

Seems like it could only take you wrong if you've got your ego involved - in which case you might want to lighten your load and let that ego go!
post #9 of 28
VtS, YES YES YES, there is someone else who is p*ssed at having to spend 20 minutes tearing the da*n magazine apart in order to get the stupid inserts out!!!

Before you go bashing the mag for genuflecting to their advertisers, just remember the audience the mag is trying to reach. I find the reviews mostly worthless because they don't really say anything useful (nothing is quantified). The overall ranking isn't what's important to me. It's the ranking by catagory that tells me if there is something of interest there.

To state the obvious again, it is just a 'reader' poll, and what's important to me in a ski area isn't the same as what's important to JW, Gonzo, LM, Vt Skier, etc. And that's true in every subcatagory as well. If all you live for is steeps and deeps, then Alta maybe the most perfect ski area that God ever created, for others, a day on nothing but long blue corduroy, with a four star restaurant dinner at the end of the day is heaven on earth.

Laugh all you want, take what you can glean. JW has it right; for the editors of SKI and the readers they want to reach, good food and grooming wins out over snow and terrain.
<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Tag (edited September 18, 2001).]</FONT>
post #10 of 28
Hey, that's also a good tactic for not seeing your favorite instructors on the top 100 list!
post #11 of 28
So what's the problem with DV? Great tree skiing, interesting ungroomed terrain, superb service, great food. Sure, it doesn't have lots of oh-my-gosh steeps but it's one of my favorites on a powder day. I may get ragged on by my testosterone friends but I find their advanced tree skiing to be quite entertaining. I like Steamboat, too. That's another spot with nothing special in the way of steeps and a very intermediate customer base but with superb tree skiing.

I have to laugh about Jay Peak ratings. I guess Ski Mag readers don't like poutine? (That's Quebecois French Fries with gravy and melted cheese curds to the non-gourmets here). There ain't nuthin' near the base of Jay but the skiing is pretty special. I only go there when it's _REALLY_ good and it's always been as close to western conditions as I've ever seen in the east.

In the east, I'm baffled that any ski area would make the list that doesn't get at least 250" of natural snow. That'd be Jay, Smuggs, Stowe, MRG, Sugarbush. K-mart gets 250" (or claims to, the lying bastards) but is too crowded to make my list even though I'm an every-weekender there. Sugarloaf almost gets 250 so that'd make the list too.
post #12 of 28
Let's see, a trip to Telluride or a trip to Diz World? Chair 9--one of the best anywhere--or Space Mtn? I had a good laugh when I saw the Ski article comparing the two, but am now wondering, is that really who/what DV, VAil and the other big corporate mountains see as the competition for skiers dollars? I have made the obligatory trips to Diz. World, but it never would have dawned upon me to do that in lieu of a trip to CO or Utah.
post #13 of 28
As I understand it, the ski resorts view all other resort destinations as their competion. Disney, Carribean, cruise ships... The people they're going after are the once or twice a year people, not the obsessive types who hang on ski message boards who count the days 'til their next time on the boards. That's why things like base village shopping, food, and service are so important. These people aren't likely to ski every day and they aren't likely to ski more than 3 or 4 hours in a day.

In my younger days when I was in a share house as an every-weekend skier, my expenses for the season for ticket, gear, and housing were roughly a 2001-adjusted $3000 to bag 60 or so ski days. Didn't include automobile or food/bar tab but I was going to drive somewhere and get trashed at a bar anyways. The resorts are after people who spend that in a single ski week.
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
You're right Todd. I have taken it a bit too personal when I see the way sentiment is swayed in this major magazine. Your advise is well taken and I AM glad that they didn't glamorize some of the places that I really like. -- Thanks
post #15 of 28
I only know because I've felt that way too. Then after being payed to write reviews of places & equipment - I realized the impossibility of objectivity.
post #16 of 28
Deer Vally? well sure. skiing's a big number three there after the food and the childcare; It's not a whole lot more expensive than, say Park City and the foods great. We spent a lot of days there last year because their childcare is really good.But for skiing, jeez; it's so overgroomed it's always icy; they've created Killington in Utah. There are lots of bottlenecks, narrow icy steep groomers, lots of out-of-control CEO types firmly in the back seat with the most expensive possible gear wizzing around like missles. But it is a hoot, and beautiful. Most of Utah is better skiing,though; Park City is a great skier's mountain; Jupiter bowl is like Alta in miniature and there are wide open cruisers, like Vail, that you can just point'em down and let 'em run. They don't run world cup there for nuthin. Solitude's great too, and of course Alta and Snowbird totally rock.Even little Sundance is great with a Bromly-like Vermont charm. Deer Vally is like a skiing theme Park for wealthy people and those who enjoy skiing past 12million $ slopeside houses. The locals love it on a powder day as the guests stay indoors, and it's a great place to work. So don your Bogners everyone!
post #17 of 28
Ok, here's the new marketing plan for Utah.

Ski Park City, it is the Colorado of Utah!
Ski Deer Valley, it is the Killington of Utah!
Ski Alta/Bird and interconnect, it is the Europe of Utah!
Yes, only in Utah can you experience Colorado, Vermont and Europe in a single visit!
post #18 of 28
Rubob sez of Deer Valet:
We spent a lot of days there last year because their childcare is really good.But for skiing, jeez; it's so overgroomed it's always icy; they've created Killington in Utah.

No they haven't. Trust me on that one.

The Evril K-Mart vs Deer Valet
K: 30,000 skiers on holiday Saturdays
DV: Limits ticket sales to... 5000? Similar number of acres.

K: The mixing bowl of New Yorkers and Bostonians. Brash, agressive.
DV: Filled with rich laid-back Californians

K: Tour bus people wearing Giants Starter Jackets, blue jeans, leather wine flask filled with blackberry brandy
DV: Please pass the Gray Poupon

DV: Great tree skiing
K: Great woods skiing. There's a big difference.

DV: Superb food
K: American Skiing Company food? Bwahahahah! Sunday River had an e-coli outbreak a few years back. K-mart food costs the same as DV food, too.

K: 4 large night clubs, name bands, 100+ bars, easy women (sometimes)
DV: "I'm sorry sir, you'll have to order food with that pitcher of Heffewiessen 3.2 beer."

DV: Smiling lift attendants. Well trained. Straight from choir practice.
K: Half are college students from Moldavia, Korea,... on 6-month visas. The other half are Vermonters soured by the arrogant BMW set. I saw a liftie get in a fight with a snowboarder last winter at the Skyship midstation. I'm not kidding.

DV: The groomers are perfection. No ridges between passes. They till quite a bit of air back into the hardpack. Lots of ungroomed cut trails off Sultan and Mayflower and easy trees everywhere. They can't fit groomers between trees.
K: We call the chopped up ice "death cookies". The ungroomed... you'd better be a strong bump skier. It's no surprise that the US team is loaded with Killington Mountain School alums.

DV: The typical skier is intermediate. There are very few people competing on a powder day.
K: They have already sold 5,000 season passes and it's only September. There are literally thousands of people who are strong skiers. The mountain tracks out at 8:04 on a weekend powder day unless you're in the deep woods.
post #19 of 28
I love that description of Killington! that's why I came out here...lifties in fistfights! When I was learning to ski powder and couldn't turn without falling and nearly drowning & was miserable a liftie at Sundance invited me into the shed for a cup of coffee from a big pot they always kept on; that's Utah. Anyway, I was referring to the snow and I still think DV is overbuffed; I got some Volkls just to ski that marble.. I know that PC locals rave about DV powder days.. I guess I just havn't hit it.. too much time in little cottonwood.
post #20 of 28
Anywhere the population density is higher, the tempers are shorter. How folks out east drive, stand in lines, talk to each other . . . its been one of my toughest things being out here. I know that in the present situation its not PC to critisize NYC or anything around it - but that whole area for a hundred miles in each direction (called the "Metropolis" area by some writers) is the most densely populated part of the U.S., and their attitudes (with many exceptions obviously) reflect this. The majority of folks skiing at Killington are a product of that culture.
post #21 of 28
Yeah. The Boston and New York culture is pretty agressive. You should see me drive!

And I'm a 20 year Killington every-weekender. It's very much a love-hate relationship. I have tons of life-long friends there and the place has great terrain if you're able to ski ungroomed natural snow trails and trees. If you know the ropes, the place isn't particularly crowded either. For an intermediate or a family, it's a place to be avoided.

When I ski Deer Valley, I rarely ski on groomed trails other than a warp factor 9 run or two on the corduroy when the lifts first spin. It's the only place in the world that prints an experts-only trail map that shows all the tree skiing. Any other mountain, the locals would riot if the mountain gave away all their powder stashes. I also think it's a superb spot for groups of mixed ability. I always used to ski there with my mom. She was fine in boot-top or less powder and on the open groomers. I could ski 100 feet away from her in the trees and we'd both be happy as clams.
post #22 of 28
Todd,
in my general experience, i've never found any particular place that had the market cornered on people being either nice; ignorant; jerks; or anything else. To infer that there's places in the world that have better attitudes is one of those "foolish generaliztions" that you're so fond of pointing out to others on this forum.

Actually, the only fist fight i've ever seen at any ski area was at Alta back in '78. Probably a New yorker and a Texan... huh?
post #23 of 28
I've never met a ski area that I didn't like, but I've never skied in the east.
post #24 of 28
Sorry to have hurt your feelings Cheap. But having lived in 11 states and 3 countries I've seen that indeed there are differences, the west has its own problems. But as far as the "generalization" lets look at the book "The Day America Told The Truth" by James Patterson and Peter Kim, where they did the largest survey on peoples opinions, moral beliefs and actions, crime rates, and etc. ever published.

It profiles the "Metropolis" region (NYC, DC, Philadelphia, NJ, and parts of Deleware & Maryland) as: Being first in the nation in % of unethical uployees, first in the nation in thinking about cheating on their spouses (almost tied though with the "Granary" Region on that though), far above national average in having violent sexual urges, cheating on their spuses, % of hardcore racists.

This book is well worth buying - very interesting, and again you'll find things "wrong" with every region. However there is a clear deliniation in like crime, happiness & such geographically and corresponding directly with population density. You'll see this all over the world in fact.

Old psych experiment - put too many rats in a cage, and even if they have plenty of food they start killing each other and displaying other bizarre behavior.

There are a lot of cages out there with far too many rats in them.
post #25 of 28
Nope, didn't hurt my feelings.

Having had to do a large scale, 2 year survey of the effects of big oil business's (Mobil) moving into local small communities around Rifle, Meeker, and east of Grand Junction back in 1979-81 when 'oil shale' was being considered as a hot alternative energy source, I can tell you first hand that "surveys" are about as impartial as a Russian figure skating judge.

Most of these 'rats' in metropolis could choose to leave the area anytime they like but don't because their optimal habitat revolves around a more social lifestyle. This lifestyle necessitates adapting to more dense populations, and a large percent of the population are easily capable of doing it. By your labrat standards, the Japanese should be just incredibly hostile and bizarre, yet during my visit there I found the general population curtious and relaxed. A truely serene culture. On the other hand, we've been hearing lately of severe racial conflicts (people being dragged to death), mad bombers living in shacks, and madder bombers blowing up buildings - all from areas of our country much less than extremely dense.

Getting back to skiing... although I went to college in Colorado, and spent a year there ski bumming, I would never choose this state as an ideal destination for a ski vacation. The focus on ski tourism as an industry in this state waters down the skiing experience while the majority of the residents haven't learned how to cope (adapt) with the increase in population. Result? A statewide industry based on 'peripheral ammenities' and serviced by a population who scorn the tourists who drive it.

You know, most places in Colorado sound _just_ like Killington.
post #26 of 28
Yep - I agree that most surveys are that way. The cross section of the authors and the huge index of data sources in the back of this book make me think they were fairly agenda-free, even subconiously. But as far as how we use data . . . well just like we are all demonstrating in this forum. We each believe what we want and then go find the data to support our opinion!

I'm glad most people like the city, or else they would move here! I realized after I typed that that I decided a long time ago that it was silly to talk people out of living among crowds. If you did manage to change their minds . . . you just shoot yourself in the foot!

Incidentally those are not "my" labrat standards.

Crazy bombers living in shacks? There are crazy and violent people everywhere. Should we bring gangs into the discussion, organized crime, etc? We'll each just believe what we want anyways, so lets drop it!

I agree that you've got most Colorado ski areas nailed - but I was at Wolf Creek for 12 years. Paradise, a totally renegade ski area. It was long (may still be) the least crowded ski area in the U.S. in skiers per acre. It gets 500" of snow a year, pays better than most ski areas, and since there are no big population centers closer than 5 hours away - has a shortage of hardcore skiers meaning in a rare week where there isn't a dumpage - there are still freshies all week long.

When we traveled, unless for a competition or clinic we had to hit Somewhat County/Vail - etc . . . we skied Taos, Crested Butte and Telluride . . . all epic mountains, uncrowded, deep and steep. So generalizations of that area are as silly sounding to me as my generalization of urban areas sounded to you!
post #27 of 28
Anything in that rag is directly tied to the amount of advertising spent or the amount of pooh pahhing done with the editors.
post #28 of 28
I saw the same art. We don`t adv in the magazines. Made it into the top 60. No. 5 in the East. How did a 750 ft vert. make it into the top 60??. I think from a lot of hard work, excellent snomaking, super grooming and skier services. Food service is great and reasonable, 3500 pr of rentals, all shaped. Not in the least a very good Ski School and an 850 room hotel at the base of the slopes. Again, We do not adv. in the Mag. : [img]smile.gif[/img]
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