Vail ranks lower for ‘bros’
VAIL – Vail was No. 1 in this year’s SKI magazine rankings. But in another magazine’s resort rankings, Transworld Snowboarding, it placed behind Mammoth and five other resorts.Brianne Shoji, who works at Wave Rave snowboard shop at Mammoth, said her resort has a good snowboarder vibe because of the L.A. crowd it draws.”A lot of super-styley kids are coming up here,” she said.But can Vail ever reach Mammoth’s level of super-styleyness?”Yeah, totally,” she said.Her first suggestion? More concerts and contests, like the Peanut Butter and Rail Jam and the Forum Youngblood that are coming to Mammoth this year.”I think more about Breck and Keystone being more young than Vail,” said Shoji, who went to college in Boulder. “You think of Vail and Aspen being more ritzy and for families.”Vail is consistently the best resort in North America in the SKI poll. It’s been No. 1 in 14 of the last 19 years, including this year.Some say that Vail does well in SKI because that poll considers much more than the mountain. It looks at 18 categories, including customer service, hotels, restaurants, grooming and weather.But in other magazines’ ski polls – ones that target younger readers – Vail is further down the list, though still in the top 10.
In Skiing Magazine’s poll, Whistler/Blackcomb has been No. 1 for the past 10 years while Vail has ranked between second and fourth. Vail was No. 4 this year.
“Skiing (Magazine) is a younger audience, and that audience doesn’t look at the entire package of bringing a family to a resort,” said Chris Anthony, a Vail native and pro skier. “That’s basically the bread and butter of our industry. I usually say, dollar for product value, Vail is definitely No. 1. Grooming, customer service, lodging, food, all the way across the board.”Jackson Hole, with its famous cliffs and chutes, is higher than Vail at No. 3 in Skiing’s poll. Hernando Pardo, owner of Hoback Sports in Jackson, Wyo., said he likes the bragging rights.”There’s a little bit of competition between resorts, and Vail always comes out as a top one across the board,” he said.Jackson’s terrain is more challenging than any else’s, Pardo said, even scary in some people’s minds. But when it comes to shopping, restaurants and other things that attract families, Pardo admitted Jackson Hole is behind other resorts like Aspen and Vail.”The guys who are out here to challenge the mountain could be sleeping in their cars for all we know,” he said.
Skiing Magazine polls readers as well as pro skiers. It also factors in mountain stats like snowfall and skiable acres.
When it comes to the stats, Vail doesn’t measure up to Whistler in some categories. In acreage, for instance, Whistler/Blackcomb’s 8,171 acres top Vail’s 5,289, and Whistler/Blackcomb’s 5,000-foot top-to-bottom elevation trumps Vail’s 3,450 feet.Skiing readers don’t care that much about customer service, said Marc Peruzzi, editor of Skiing Magazine. They are generally younger and focused more on the mountain rather than off-mountain amenities, Peruzzi said.
“If you’re a really hard-core, single skier with more flexibility to your world, and want to satisfy yourself – and maybe a few of your bros – you’re more about just the straight-up skiing itself,” Anthony said.Some locals found it hard to believe that resorts like Northstar-at-Tahoe and Loon Mountain in New Hampshire were ranked above Vail in the Transworld survey.”That is just mind-boggling,” said Patrick O’Toole, the owner of Emage snowboard shop in Edwards.He said he’s visited Northstar, and it doesn’t compare to Vail. He takes the results of the polls with a grain of salt, he said.The Transworld survey has a more narrow focus, said Amanda McNally, spokeswoman for Transworld Snowboarding, noting that its target audience is primarily males between the ages of 15 and 25.”They are not looking for family experiences,” she said. “Readers aren’t as concerned with the family experience or the ski school and those amenities because most tend to be active, not in lessons.”Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO