Aspen misses out on Ski top 10 | AspenTimes.com

Aspen misses out on Ski top 10

Steve Benson
Aspen Times Staff Writer

While Snowmass retained its No. 4 slot in Ski Magazine’s annual resort rankings, Aspen Mountain fell out of the top 10.

Vail was ranked No. 1 for the second consecutive year, with Whistler/Blackcomb in British Columbia, Deer Valley, Utah, Snowmass and Steamboat Springs rounding out the top five.

The rankings were compiled through a survey of more than 20,000 skiers, and will be included in the magazine’s October issue.

Aspen Mountain fell to 11th, continuing a slide that began last year, when it dropped from 4th to 8th. Aspen Highlands came in at No. 14. Snowmass, however, has held steady, holding onto its No. 4 ranking for the second consecutive year.

“They have really secured themselves a spot in the elite rankings of ski resorts,” said Greg Ditrinco, the executive editor of Ski Magazine. “I think people are discovering Snowmass has an outstanding mountain, and if you can throw a base village in there, the sky’s the limit.”

According to Ditrinco, the two most common complaints about Snowmass were a lagging base area and no gondola. Snowmass Village is currently considering the construction of a new base village, which, among other amenities, would include additional commercial space, lodging and a gondola.

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Ditrinco also attributes Snowmass Village’s high ranking to the demographics of his readers.

“Our survey is a reflection of the readers, and our readers’ average age is 37,” he said. “A lot of them have families, and Snowmass caters to our readers because it’s a family resort.”

Aspen’s slide is curious, but David Perry, senior vice president of the Aspen Skiing Co., isn’t too concerned.

“I always try to take a bit of a step back and view [the rankings] philosophically,” he said. “When it moves a few spots I don’t become alarmed, there are always inexplicable fluctuations.”

Last year, Aspen Mountain was ranked ranked 14th in scenery, this year it fell to 25th in the same category.

“What happened to Aspen’s scenery that changed it 11 points in one year?” Perry joked. “That’s just an example of some of the things that are difficult to explain.”

Furthermore, he said Aspen Mountain attracts a unique skier core that would not necessarily be represented in a Ski Magazine survey.

“I think we have the highest returning customer percentage in the business. We have a very high return rate,” Perry said.

[Steve Benson’s e-mail address is sbenson@aspentimes.com]

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