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Rankings show some resorts are struggling to handle crowds.

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
Have you ever heard of PeakRankings? I hadn't. Nonetheless, what they do is rank ski resorts on a number of factors like snow conditions, size, terrain, lift infrastructure, ease of navigation, and so on.

Anyway, they recently ranked resorts in the crowd flow category -- how well they handle the flow of crowds -- and here are the resorts that received a lower ranking than they did in the past (lower means worse):

  • Okemo, VT
  • Northstar, CA
  • Jackson Hole, WY
  • Whistler Blackcomb, BC
  • Heavenly, CA
  • Stowe, VT
  • Park City, UT
  • Vail, CO
  • Solitude, UT

BTW -- and this is worth noting -- all are Vail Resorts except Jackson Hole and Solitude.

As you've probably seen elsewhere, data released earlier this month from the National Ski Areas Association showed that last winter saw the most snow rider visits ever recorded. Which makes crowd flow even more important than it was in the past.

Anyway, to see more about why these resorts scored the way they did on crowd flow, go here.
 
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nopoleskier

Angel Diva
Okemo was a shocking BUMMER for me this winter. I only went 3x because of the mega crowds, horrible out of control skiers that come with the crowds, the lack of snowmaking, few trails open, lack of grooming.
driving 5hrs round trip to ski 2-2.5 hrs isn't for me. The cheap pass ruined it IMO. I rationalized barely beating the pass with "at least I didn't die or get hit by out of control skiers: I didn't renew my Epic NE midweek.

I really appreciate how good we had it when the Muellers owned it, they really spoiled us.
 

Sheena

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I tried to see on their site how they developed their rankings. Some of the cons in their resort score seem totally subjective. But it is interesting. I wonder if they collected data on skier days, or if they just did their own personal observations, or if these were based on others opinions?

Just for example, they list having choke points at one Utah resort, but not for snowbasin, which has several choke points, which really impact crowding on some slopes. Furthermore, so much of "crowded" can be personal preferences. For some people, waiting in a gondola line for 10 minutes meant that there were too many people..... for others, that is not bad at all.
 

skinnyfootskis

Angel Diva
Okemo was a shocking BUMMER for me this winter. I only went 3x because of the mega crowds, horrible out of control skiers that come with the crowds, the lack of snowmaking, few trails open, lack of grooming.
driving 5hrs round trip to ski 2-2.5 hrs isn't for me. The cheap pass ruined it IMO. I rationalized barely beating the pass with "at least I didn't die or get hit by out of control skiers: I didn't renew my Epic NE midweek.

I really appreciate how good we had it when the Muellers owned it, they really spoiled us.
right exactly and I was "punished" for skiing on a Sunday! (That was the day I got hit by 2 out of control snow boarders)
 

mustski

Angel Diva
It’s interesting that Jackson Hole is on the list. Unlike the others, it us not really on one of the two mega resort passes. Ikon pass holders had to buy an upgrade to get JH … not unlike the MCP, of the past, that had no particular effect. I wonder if the post Covid ability to work remotely was - perhaps- more of an effect than the mega passes.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
It’s interesting that Jackson Hole is on the list. Unlike the others, it us not really on one of the two mega resort passes. Ikon pass holders had to buy an upgrade to get JH … not unlike the MCP, of the past, that had no particular effect. I wonder if the post Covid ability to work remotely was - perhaps- more of an effect than the mega passes.
A related question is what percentage of Ikon holders got Full Ikon vs Ikon Base. Only Ikon Base required an upgrade to include JH. Also hard to know what the numbers look like for the MCP these days. With GT also on the MCP, it's possible that more MCP holders headed in that direction last season. Poor snow conditions in other regions such as Utah in Jan-Feb 2022 is another factor,

For 2021-22 there may also be a pandemic factor. The destination resorts on Epic and Ikon had different rules and restrictions related to COVID-19, partially depending on state/local regulations.
 

snoWYmonkey

Angel Diva
Even though I live and work at the Jackson Hole resort, I like the rest of us, have to speculate, as the company is very tight lipped with the new corporate model of management. I will thus only comment on the rankings. I bet some of the rankings are from old locals and regular visitors. The quiet days are busiest, but the busy days seem less busy, with the way they limit user days and cap them now.

As for getting bad reports in this ranking, maybe that will keep more people away? Not sure if that is a good or bad thing for an economy, personal and local, based on tourism. We have room to grow in winter, not in summer.

For certain the ability to work from home thanks to the internet and private jets and more commercial flights, starting changing the situation quite a few years prior to covid for Jackson Hole. We are too far for most big city (SLC) weekend skiers, so it is all either locals or destination users.

I would love to see studies on the actual lift use per hour broken down. I don't think that reports are always just when given by customers. My own crappy recall in terms of how much better things used to be has often been proven wrong in terms of weather and other data that can be rechecked. I also thing that number of total skiers per day can be super misleading. Two cases in point are that a powder day is bonkers for the first two hours but often really really quiet by afternoon, also, I am firmly convinced, unless someone can prove otherwise, that at least in Jackson, we may have more total skiers in one day, but less and less of them actually go out for more than an hour or two. This I know from my own students who seldom go bell to bell.
 

skinnyfootskis

Angel Diva
Even though I live and work at the Jackson Hole resort, I like the rest of us, have to speculate, as the company is very tight lipped with the new corporate model of management. I will thus only comment on the rankings. I bet some of the rankings are from old locals and regular visitors. The quiet days are busiest, but the busy days seem less busy, with the way they limit user days and cap them now.

As for getting bad reports in this ranking, maybe that will keep more people away? Not sure if that is a good or bad thing for an economy, personal and local, based on tourism. We have room to grow in winter, not in summer.

For certain the ability to work from home thanks to the internet and private jets and more commercial flights, starting changing the situation quite a few years prior to covid for Jackson Hole. We are too far for most big city (SLC) weekend skiers, so it is all either locals or destination users.

I would love to see studies on the actual lift use per hour broken down. I don't think that reports are always just when given by customers. My own crappy recall in terms of how much better things used to be has often been proven wrong in terms of weather and other data that can be rechecked. I also thing that number of total skiers per day can be super misleading. Two cases in point are that a powder day is bonkers for the first two hours but often really really quiet by afternoon, also, I am firmly convinced, unless someone can prove otherwise, that at least in Jackson, we may have more total skiers in one day, but less and less of them actually go out for more than an hour or two. This I know from my own students who seldom go bell to bell.
I agree with the amount of first chair skiers. My family definitely skis early.
 

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