Park City resorts rank high in annual poll
The readers of Ski Magazine once again ranked all of Park City’s ski resorts in North America’s top 15, which two of the three earning top five accolades.
The results from the 19th Annual Reader Resort Survey are now available on newsstands in the October issue of Ski.
Deer Valley, which finished as the nation’s top resort last year, dropped a spot to No. 2 in order to make room for Vail Resort as king of the hill. Park City Mountain Resort retained its 2005 spot at No. 5 and The Canyons dropped one place to No.15.
Kendall Hamilton, Ski Magazine editor-in-chief, said the survey results show how well respected Park City is and how hard the resort employees have worked.
"Park City is, in many respects, the ultimate ski town, having three world-class ski resorts right there in extremely close proximity to each other," he said. "Plus, you have a great town and it’s very easy to get to. When you can fly into Salt Lake City and then drive 30 minutes and be on the mountain it is great. You can’t do that most places. It’s just a tremendous asset."
He emphasized the influence the town of Park City has on the resorts, saying "The Park City resorts tend to do very well just because they have Park City. All three resorts really benefit from the town having great places to stay and a wonderful atmosphere."
The magazine, which has about 450,000 total subscribers, uses an independent data collecting company to run the survey. The company randomly selects about 20,000 readers who have been subscribers for at least two years to send the survey to, most of which respond.
In order to rank a specific resort, the reader is required to have skied there in the last two years. The survey asks the voters to rank resorts on 18 different points and those scores are tallied to make the overall top 50.
"In the individual categories, Deer Valley killed in service, as they do every year," Hamilton said. "They win by a huge margin every year."
Deer Valley also placed No. 1 in ‘grooming,’ ‘on-mountain-food’ and ‘weather.’
"The weather category is interesting because I’m sure there’s not much difference between the three Park City resorts, but there is some spread in the rankings," Hamilton said.
Park City had no No. 1 rankings, but finished consistently highly in just about everything, Hamilton said.
"And The Canyons are a big place with the famous Utah snow that’s also tremendously accessible," he said. "It’s just a big, fun, family-friendly resort."
Hamilton said that the rankings earn validity because so many skiers are saying the same things about the same resorts. The rankings are, however, very individual.
"People’s views are very subjective," he said. "If they go to a mountain on a day with great weather during a year with some good snowfall, all of the sudden it’s the best resort in the country. Resorts can go through one lean snow year and find themselves dropping significantly."
He also said the recognition the 2002 Olympics brought to the area will continue to go a long way for the Park City resorts.
"I think they helped a lot in terms of raising awareness of skiers," Hamilton said. "Obviously you had people who came here and wanted to return, but also you have millions watching from at home on TV who are finding out about the mountains for the first time."
Other Utah resorts in the top 50 were Snowbird, No. 21, Solitude, No. 25, Alta, No.28, and Brighton, No. 29.
Colorado was the most well represented state, with six resorts finishing in the top 10, including the top overall spot.
"I think the rankings are a tremendously valuable way to get some word of mouth," Hamilton said. "Skiers look to other skiers, more than anything, to decide where to ski. This is your fellow skier telling you which is the best mountain. We pull it all together, but your fellow skiers are the ones making the calls here. It really is the ultimate ski-trip planning resource."
He also said the Park City resorts, as well as the town, should feel proud about the results.
"I think they should feel good," he said. "A high ranking is not easy to achieve, and it comes down to little things. If the lift operator doesn’t smile or someone has a bad experience in the rental shop, their ranking is going down. That’s not happening in Park City."
Ski Magazine Reader’s Resort Survey Top 10
Deer Valley, UT
Whistler Blackcomb, BC
Park City, UT
Aspen Mountain, CO
Beaver Creek, CO
Sun Valley, ID
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