Breckenridge remains the top-ranked Summit County resort
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Colorado ski areas once again dominated the annual SKI magazine reader polls, but only two Summit County resorts cracked the top 20 — not surprising, given that most of the local areas — with the exception of A-Basin — emphasize quantity over quality.
After a five-year run in the number one spot, Deer Valley yielded to Whistler-Blackcomb, which won on the overall strength of its many attributes, including terrain variety, snow quantity and, of course, its vibrant nightlife. But readers of the magazine, who rate resorts annually in detailed surveys, recognized that the somewhat unpredictable weather in the Pacific Northwest can sometimes be a damper.
The poll is a fall publishing ritual that spurs plenty of water-cooler discussions and helps set the mood for the impending ski season.
Posh Deer Valley was ranked second by SKI readers, with a tribe of loyalists extolling the Utah resort’s perfect grooming, guest services and overall class.
Vail was ranked number three, with readers rating the Eagle County area number one in digital presence on the strength of its popular EpicMix program. Vail also ranked high in terrain variety, skier-related amenities, and was praised for continual upgrades, but took a few knocks for pricey parking and a village that’s sometimes perceived as too faux.
The top five was rounded out by Park City, Utah, and Telluride climbed a couple of notches, up from number seven to five, primarily on the strength of its varied and challenging terrain, but also for the character of its namesake San Juan town.
Breckenridge slipped four spots and out of the top 10, from ninth to 13th place in this year’s poll, with SKI pointing out that readers mentioned the area’s crowds and cold, windy weather as the downside, while praising the area’s terrain parks, as well as the town’s nightlife. Copper dropped a couple of spots, from 18 to 20 in the rankings, scoring high on terrain, but losing ground for what’s perceived as a sleepy apres-ski scene.
More Colorado areas dominated the top 10, with Snowmass at number eight (rated high for variety and family skiing), and Beaver Creek at number nine (grooming, overall experience and customer service).
Aspen took the number 12 spot, followed by Steamboat, Breckenridge, Crested Butte and Aspen Highlands, with Snowbird, Mammoth, Taos and Copper rounding out the top 20.