By David & Ann Schissler – I used to eagerly await Skiing magazine’s (now rolled into Ski magazine) annual Top 50 Resorts rankings issue. It really helped me make decisions on which mountains I want to add to my “been there” list. Not anymore. It used to compare all of North America as one category. It gave you a good idea of how areas, no matter where they were, stacked up. But in recent years it’s really become irrelevant.
Rankings are now regional with 30 in the west and 20 in the east. Nearly every one of us would be happy to ski any of them in the west. They all have plenty of snow, great terrain, efficient lifts, large vertical, state of the art grooming, world class amenities and so on. This year the Top 30 in the east is laughable. A mountain I’ve joyed many times, Smugglers Notch, scored the top spot. Really? The resort made its bones by promoting to families. Between all the kids on the hill, limited terrain, and a proud tradition of slow, even antiquated lifts, I can’t imagine why any skier would choose it over eastern powerhouses like Stowe, Killington, Jay Peak and many others. Top 20? Sure. Number 1? No way. I’m pretty sure operators across the east are not impressed either. See the rankings for yourself here: Ski magazine’s Top 50 Resorts
Perhaps the problem lies in how few readers the magazine has theses days. In its heyday Ski had several hundred thousand readers. The last number I saw a few years ago was only 50,000. I tried to determine how many read it today but the magazine’s website isn’t helpful. You have to fill out a request for an advertisers media kit to get any data. I’d rather not have them chasing me after getting my contact info. I have to wonder who these “voters” are. Did they even ski these mountains or just vote for the few places they’ve been to?