Letter: Vail has a new score of six in Ski magazine resort rankings; we can do better
October 19, 2017
Vail has gone from a "four" to a "six" in the recently released Ski magazine resort ratings. No, this does not mean we are getting closer to a perfect "10," rather falling back from No. 4 to a No. 6. Gone are the days when the community was involved in celebrating the ranking.
So here's the lowdown:
• The rankings from last year's issue were derived from 18 individual items that were spelled out in detail for each resort down to No. 37.
• This year, it's down to only eight items spelled out in detail: snow, grooming, terrain variety, challenge, character, kid-friendly, dining, lodging.
• Beyond the eight above, there are another four woven into the description of selected resorts: lifts, family-friendly, service, apres/nightlife.
• Not clearly rated this year are value, accessibility, off-hill activities, on-mountain food, scenery, terrain parks, "overall impression."
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• In short, there is enough "under the cover" stuff in the evaluation process to allow the magazine to rank resorts in a way they can "spread things around" a little.
• Hence, Vail's overall ranking of No. 6 includes four individual ratings in the top 10: a 5 in dinning and grooming, a 6 in lifts and a 7 in lodging — coupled with a bad character rating due to Interstate 70's presence and implied low score for value.
So, why should we care? Well, about half of the rating items relate to what goes on in the town and/or not under the control of Vail Resorts. That should tell you, perhaps, that Vail Resorts, the town (government, businesses, residents) and others should be more in concert in planning, reviewing, coordinating, measuring, characterizing, volunteering, etc.
I'll cite two examples. First, "character" can be buildings, access roads, the people, etc. So here, a community clean up-the-mountain day, where whole families get out to pick up debris, is the sort of thing you can talk about. Second, great "scenery" partly takes some explanation as to what you are looking at. So here, how many of our domestic or foreign guests know about the extent of, or federal Wilderness protection of, our Gore Range? Or our Gore Creek, coming down from the high mountains and eventually draining into the famous Colorado River?
In summary, perhaps we can do better, with the motto of, if you are not improving, you are going backwards in our rapidly changing world? We think we are better than No. 6!