It is September 25th and the first snow of the year has hit Park City! No, it will not stick around, and the weekend should see highs pushing 70. Still, seeing snow falling and a white blanket visible on the mountains is a not so subtle reminder that winter is on the way.
There have been other reminders that winter will soon be here; the red leaves on the Gambel Oaks, recent yellow of the Aspen leaves, gear guides reviewing the new equipment and clothing for the season and of course the annual Ski Resort rankings.
The Park City area resorts earned rankings very similar to last year. Each year SKI Magazine readers are polled and rank ski resorts in 20 different categories to determine the “Best Resort” in North America. Deer Valley earned the number 2 spots for the second year in a row after 5 years in the number 1 spot overall. In garnering the 2nd overall spot, Deer Valley was ranked number 1 in the categories of Grooming, Service, Lodging, On-Mountain Food, Dining and Family Programs. Deer Valley also earned top ten rankings in seven other categories. Park City Mountain Resort fell one spot to the number 5 overall ranking for best resort. Park City Mountain Resort earned number one rankings for Access, Off-Hill Activities, and Terrain Parks plus a #2 ranking in the Family Vacation category. Canyons Resort once again was ranked as the #10 overall best resort in North America. The Canyons ranked in the top ten in 3 categories including Access, Dining, and Lodging.
The annual Ski Magazine survey polls more than 140,000 (with 40,000 responses) skiers and snowboarders review nearly every aspect of winter alpine skiing and snowboarding resorts. The complete list of rankings is listed in SKI Magazine’s October issue, which is on newsstands now.
Interesting notes about the rankings; The Park City area earned #’s 1, 2 and 5 in the Access category. Also, while other resorts have seen a yo-yo effect depending on natural snowfall, the Park City are Resorts have remained consistently in the top ten Best Overall despite less than normal snowfall totals the past two years.
Having all three Park City area resorts in the Top Ten is a great benefit when it comes to marketing Park City; no other town has this. The effect on visitor nights and real estate values isn’t quantifiable, but it is undeniable.
The other resorts rounding out the Top Ten Ski Resorts in the West are: 1. Jackson Hole, 3. Vail, 4. Sun Valley, 6. Whistler, 7. Telluride, 8. Steamboat, 9. Snowmass.