VAIL - Deer Valley says it has again been ranked as the top North American ski resort, ahead of Vail, in SKI Magazine's annual poll.
The Utah resort issued a press release Wednesday saying it had claimed the top spot for the third consecutive year.
"We're happily stunned and we'll gladly accept this honor," said Bob Wheaton, Deer Valley Resort president and general manager, in the press release. "To receive this prestigious accolade three years in a row is just incredible. SKI Magazine readers are well traveled, avid skiers and lifestyle enthusiasts. For them to choose Deer Valley Resort as their favorite when so many other North American resorts are providing great ski vacation experiences as well is truly an honor we can't underestimate."
SKI Magazine Editor Greg Ditrinco could not be reached after hours Wednesday. A Deer Valley spokeswoman could not be reached late Wednesday.
The annual SKI magazine rankings are determined by a survey of the magazine's readers. Vail has topped the poll more than any other resort, taking the No. 1 spot in 14 of 21 years prior to this year. However, in both 2007 and 2008, it slipped to second behind Deer Valley, a resort that prides itself on its emphasis on luxury and service.
The Park Record newspaper in Park City reported Wednesday that, according to Wheaton, Vail was ranked third in this year's poll and Whistler Blackcomb was No. 2.
A Vail Resorts spokeswoman declined to confirm Vail's ranking, but the company did release a statement.
"We highly value the views of all of our guests, including those who read all of the various snow sports industry publications," the statement said. "There are numerous editors and readers polls, which can be both entertaining and informative. However, given some dramatic shifts in the media industry recently, companies such as ours have reallocated resources and invested more significantly in immediately capturing the views of our guests in numerous areas related to their experience at our resorts.
"As a result, many of our new offerings over the past several seasons, such as the Epic Season Pass, value dining options, new ski and ride school programs are a direct response to their feedback. It allows for a much more informative dialogue directly with our guests and provides us with invaluable feedback to help us continue to focus on improving the overall guest experience."
"We are incredibly proud that the resort recorded its highest ever guest satisfaction scores this past season and folks voted with their feet - skis and snowboards - as the resort had a 3.3 percent increase in skier days during the worst economic environment in recent memory."
Deer Valley placed No. 1 in several categories, including grooming, service, on-mountain food, lodging and dining, the resort said. It placed second in access, lifts and family programs, according to the resort.
As for Beaver Creek, it was ranked sixth last year in the poll.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.