Ranking is no fluff matter in Vail
VAIL – You can say it again: Vail is No. 1.The resort returned to its familiar spot as the top ski resort in North America in this year’s SKI Magazine readers’ poll.It is the 14th time in 19 years that Vail has had the top spot. Last year, Vail was No. 2 and Deer Valley in Utah was No. 1. The two resorts swapped places this year.Beaver Creek was ranked eighth, down from sixth last year.Who cares what a magazine says? Well, Matt Carroll, general manager of Double Diamond Ski Shop in Lionshead, said the poll is great publicity for Vail.”I think, to some degree, it adds a certain amount of credibility saying you’re No. 1,” Carroll said. “Some of it is nebulous, but overall, it’s a good place to be.”Tom Neyens, owner of the Ski Valet in Lionshead, said he doesn’t think it makes much of a difference whether Vail is one or two in the rankings.”But if we were to ever drop out of the top three, I think it would be a big hit for Vail from a marketing standpoint,” he said.Importance of being No. 1From Vail Resorts’ marketing department to Town Hall to local bars, folks in Vail seem to take the No. 1 ranking seriously.After Vail dropped to No. 2 last year, politicians running for Vail Town Council pondered how Vail could get back to the top spot. The rankings even came up during this summer’s Crossroads election, with both sides considering how the proposed building would help or hurt Vail in the vaunted rankings.Mayor, real estate mogul and Vail pioneer Rod Slifer said the rankings force Vail to try to keep improving.”I think you’ll hear it at Town Hall during conversations during the year,” said Mayor Rod Slifer. “Someone will say, ‘We’re No. 1, and we want to stay there.'”Though disappointed that Vail placed a mere sixth in the apres ski category – compared to Aspen’s top spot – Red Lion owner and apres ski fixture Phil Long said the rankings portend a good season.”People who get those ski magazines nationally and internationally make a decision about which resort to go to,” he said. “There’s a lot of spontaneity to it.” A top-notch resortSKI Magazine readers rank resorts in 18 categories. Vail was in the top 10 in 13: snow (ninth), grooming (ninth), terrain/variety (second), lifts (second), service (eighth), weather (seventh), lodging (10th), dining (sixth), apres ski (sixth), off-hill activities (eighth), terrain parks (10th), overall satisfaction (sixth) and on-mountain food (eighth). Beaver Creek was in the top 10 in five categories: grooming (sixth), lifts (ninth), weather (eighth), dining (ninth) and on-mountain food (sixth).All of Vail Resorts’ five ski mountains ranked in the top 20 among Western resorts. Besides Vail and Beaver Creek, Breckenridge was sixth, Keystone was 14th and Heavenly at Lake Tahoe was 17th.Copper Mountain, just east of Vail, ranked 19th.The rankings issue of SKI magazine will hit newsstands Sept. 26.
This year’s SKI Magazine rankings:1. Vail2. Deer Valley, Utah3. Snowmass4. Whistler/Blackcomb, B.C5. Park City, Utah6. Breckenridge7. Aspen8. Beaver Creek9. Steamboat10. Sun Valley, Idaho
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