Richard Carnes: What’s in a number? |

Richard Carnes: What’s in a number?

No. 3?

Three, as in amigos?

As in Monty Python, ” Three is the number, the number shall be three?”

The num-ber of putts my friend, Christian, averages?

The num-ber of times I have to ask a 10- year- old to turn off the Xbox before he actually does so?

Or is it sim-ply the number between two and four?

I apologize for repeating myself from a few weeks ago, but, “Oh, the horror.”

And while I’m at it, I’ll add a John Stossel “give me a break.”

Each fall for 21 years, Ski magazine has conducted this silly, completely nonscientific and totally irrelevant poll, and each fall for 21 years, ski corp executives and their minions act like sudden numerology experts. Since the poll’s inception, Vail has been standing on top of the resort mountain rankings two out of every three years, which means 66 percent of the time we pretend it means something ( like, for instance, win-ning the Alpine Super Bowl, if there were such a thing) to be No. 1, and the other third, we fold our collective hands together at the humility table and announce, “What’s the big deal?” (I mean, seriously, that “other” place doesn’t even allow snowboards!) Anyway, find me one person, one small business or one corporation that makes a strategy- based policy decision for the upcoming ski sea-son based solely upon this frivolous ranking, and I’ll show you a person, business or corporation that cares more about their front door than what is on the other side.

Personally, I’ll take substance over style any day.

But don’t just take my word for it, as a simple look at the numbers involved in the ranking categories reveals a great deal about the super-ficiality of these moronic answers.

Case in point: According to ever-vigilant respondents, Vail had the fifth best weather and Beaver Creek the 15th.

Yeah, sure, you betcha.

Let’s just forget the fact that the weather between the two ski mountains is virtually identical from day to day year round and not bother to mention the distance from the west side of Lost Boy to the bottom of the Rose Bowl is less than 6 miles horizontally and about 500 feet vertically.

Yep, those differences are certain-ly astronomical.

Sorry, Ski magazine responders, but that dog just won’t hunt, and certainly not by a ranking of 10.

On the other hand, both Vail and Beaver Creek appear at the bottom of the ” value” heap category, which pretty much confirms what we already know: Vail and Beaver Creek do not cater to value- minded skiers. Besides, that’s what Keystone is for.

Either way, if grace is No. 1, then tumbling down from her is the inevitable result for all who suffer from complacency, and from this we learn, hopefully.

So rest assured that, on the off chance we’re No. 1 again next year, I will most certainly keep my mouth shut, for, as we all know only too well, image is everything.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes a column for the Daily. He can be reached at

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