SKI magazine ranks Summit County resorts among top 30
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Breckenridge Ski Resort
Raves: “Sheer amount and variety of terrain; the town itself, largest historic district in CO, cool Old West vibe.”
“Breck has done a encredible job of designing their runs and lifts.... even on the peak ski days, the lift lines are ‘managable’ the scaners are very entertaining and keep the crowds smiling...”
“The old mining town character. Although Vail has made some great improvements to the skiing recently, they have also industrialized/turned it into a more ritzy resort with big condos...kinda made it lose it’s charm, but it is still definitely a strength”
“Breadth of the mountain Peak 6 to 10. Lots of black groomers and great bowls!”
“Take a private lesson with Mike McKenna. Great instructor, great service and personal attention. You wont’ regret it!”
“Spring Festivals are Dope!!!”
Rants: “On food mountain, expensive and tasteless, Really sorry to see Loss of peak 9 restraunt where food was more reasonable in cost and actually palatable. Food service on mountain, really needs some help. Load up in the morning in the spring is a big hassel needs some significant improvement.”
“1.) Owned by greedy Vail Resorts. 2.) Lifts are too crowded during weekends in Jan and Feb. 3.) Consistently over-reports their snowfall because they take their measurement at the top of the mountain, not at mid-mountain like other resorts.”
“food sucks!!!!!!!!! i try never to eat on the mountain, poor quality. I understand it’s a resort and i am ok with the priced i just think for the price the food should AT LEAST be edible!!!”
“Can get crowded at peak times. And the wind? Yep.”
“The lift system is a morass, weekend crowds can be unbearable, intermediate terrain is a flat snooze”
“Often windy on top. Crowded on weekends. Many flat traverses or lift approaches if you are not careful. Shuttle parking is distant, and pay parking is expensive.”
Raves: “Ski school is good, new lifts and good improved grooming. Also, this year there was lots of snow. How did they do that?”
“The amount of snow it gets is usually very good. The separation of beginner runs from the very difficult runs is a great way to prevent accidents.”
“Tucker Mountain Snowcat is fantastic. The backcountry terrain offered by Copper is second to none.”
“Love the natural separation of the beginner. intermediate and expert terrain. Love the LONG runs. Love that I can ‘stay high’ on the mountain and not come down to the bottom. Snowbiking - thumbs up.”
“mountain is awesome, never really crowded, Woodward and tubing hill and sugar lips donuts for the kids!”
Rants: “lack of night life - needs cable-tv upgrade”
“Needs a partner other than Winter Park, which I dislike.”
“wish they had some more extreme terrain like couloirs, chutes and cliffs”
“Poor grooming -- on an icy day it could be your first and last speed wobble at 30 miles an hour!”
“Right off I70....not the resorts fault by any means!! I70 traffic just blows anymore....”
Raves: “Great tree skiing if you know where to go. Layout of three mountains behind each other gives skiers of different levels what they want. Only area with night skiing.”
“Way back of Keystone is epic can stay back all day.”
“very nice long runs, the afternoon grooming caught me by surprise ; ; It felt great to sky down a freshly groomed run at 4:00 PM”
“I love the variety of terrain...Frontside groomers have tremendous amount of vertical and the Outback is spectacular. Usually friendly staff and free parking is great.”
“Very kid friendly, but surprisingly great terrain. We had fun skiing the outback. We also LOVED the on-mountain dining and kids ice castle. What fun!!”
Rants: “Although there’s some great bars at the base lodges, once I take off my boots the village of Keystone has little to offer.”
“A lot of choke-points and traffic all funnels to one or two runs at days end.”
“Needs more space in on mountain food lodges and the bus drops off way too far from main lift when paths are snowy and icy. Watched a number of Americas Funniest Video moments the first week in March as people navigated the icy paths in boots!”
“Heavy snowmaking results in lots of hardpack. Access to challenging terrain is time-consuming. Lots of out of control skiers.”
From snow quality to service, lifts to lodging, access to après ski, skiers pick their favorite resorts for different reasons.
But where do Summit County’s resorts fall when you throw all those traits into the mix?
Last week Ski magazine released the results of its 27th annual reader survey of the 30 best ski areas in North America. Three Summit County resorts landed among the rankings, and Breckenridge Ski Resort cracked the top 10.
The top honors went to Whistler Blackcomb, said the magazine’s editor Greg Ditrinco, likely because of its “two absolutely fantastic mountains side by side,” cosmopolitan base village, huge vertical and great skiing in a variety of microclimates.
The magazine’s rankings were created from online surveys of about 12,000 readers and subscribers who ski, on average, 12 days a year.
Each participant rated an average of 3.5 resorts, scoring them in 19 categories that were compiled to create the overall rankings.
Though the magazine creates two sets of rankings, one for Eastern resorts in North America and one for Western resorts, the resorts on the Western list are really the top overall resorts. West equals best.
Breckenridge consistently ranks above the other Summit County resorts and moved up in the rankings from No. 16 last year to No. 9.
The jump could be due to last season’s opening of Peak 6, Ditrinco said, noting that large improvement projects reflect in the rankings sooner for Colorado’s more visited resorts.
Readers gave Breckenridge high marks for its sheer size, easy-to-find untouched snow and above-timberline terrain. They booed the resort’s crowds, cold and windy weather, and wide layout that sometimes means skiers end up traversing more than going downhill.
Copper Mountain ranked No. 18, up from 26 last year.
Ditrinco said, “Copper doesn’t have quite the national clout as a destination resort, but gosh almighty, it’s a really nice hill.”
He added that opinions of the magazine’s staff don’t play into the rankings at all. It’s all about the readers, one of whom summed up Copper as “the hidden-in-plain-sight gem of Colorado.”
Keystone Resort held steady this year at No. 23, and readers praised Keystone for upping its family game season after season.
More Colorado areas were included in the top 10 than any other state or province, with Telluride ranking No. 4, Vail at No. 5, Snowmass at 6 and Steamboat at 10.
Other Colorado resorts included Beaver Creek at 11, Aspen Mountain at 12, Winter Park at 15, Aspen Highlands at 16 and Crested Butte at 19. Arapahoe Basin Ski Area usually doesn’t get enough ratings from survey respondents to make the list.
Though people often concentrate on the ranking number, Ditranco said, the list is more of a snapshot of the top North American resorts of the year.
“The resorts really are grouped pretty tightly, especially at the top,” he said. “There’s great resorts at the top, and there’s great resorts in the middle and some really nice ones at the bottom.”
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