Vail Daily editorial: Hand-wringing time?
Ski Magazine has released its annual resort rankings for North America. Vail and Beaver Creek came in at the seventh and 10th spots, respectively.
Vail trailed, in reverse order, Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Telluride, Deer Valley, Sun Valley and Whistler Blackcomb, all fine ski resorts.
While there’s plenty of praise for Vail’s spaciousness, terrain diversity, grooming and more, this is the resort’s worst showing on the annual list since, well … it’s been a long time.
In the coming days and weeks, we can expect to hear a lot of predictable comments and questions:
• Has Vail lost its edge?
• Are we losing ground?
• We need to do something!
• The Evil Corporate Overlords in Broomfield are running their namesake ski area into the ground!
For those people, we can only reply: Take a deep breath and settle down.
The magazine dings Vail for its noisy proximity to Interstate 70 and the go-home-day delays on I-70. The report also knocks Vail on value, citing its single-day lift tickets and the cost of amenities. One reader comment reads, “You need an American Express Black Card just to grab a drink of water at this place.”
Beaver Creek is similarly docked for the high cost of fun.
There’s no point in arguing about the cost of an on-mountain sandwich, but we can take issue with a few other items.
First, I-70 isn’t perfect, but with the exception of Deer Valley and Whistler, no other resorts in the top 10 are as easy to get to by car as Vail and Beaver Creek.
Then there’s the cost of lift tickets. Here’s a simple truth for anyone who skis more than about three days a season: Only suckers pay full price for lift tickets. At the risk of sounding like shills for Vail Resorts, the company’s various forms of Epic Pass are among the best values in winter recreation. If you’re paying $150 for a day of skiing, you’re doing something wrong.
Resort communities should always do serious self-evaluations about service, cost and other factors, and there’s always room for improvement. But the fact of the matter is that Vail and Beaver Creek continue to be very good at what they do, and, when snow is abundant — and it usually is — people still come here by the tens of thousands. That won’t change in the foreseeable future. We don’t need to get too upset about this spot in the rankings. Nor do we need to break out the big foam fingers for a top finish.
And Vail still finished ahead of Aspen in the ratings.