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Aspen Snowmass fades from first to fifth in SKI Magazine’s annual resort rankings

SIZING UP SKI RESORTS

SKI Magazine holds its annual readers’ survey on the best ski resorts in the West and East. Topping the list in the West were:

1. Sun Valley

2. Deer Valley

3. Whitefish

4. Taos

5. Aspen Snowmass

6. Telluride

7. Whistler Blackcomb

8. Steamboat

9. Beaver Creek

10. Crested Butte

There is no three-peat for the Aspen-Snowmass ski areas this winter.

After getting crowned the top-ranked ski resort in the West for the past two seasons, Aspen-Snowmass fell to fifth this year in SKI Magazine’s annual rankings.

“We can’t win every year. We won two years in a row,” said Jeff Hanle, Skico vice president of communications.

SKI has conducted a readers’ survey for several years to determine the top-regarded resorts. Skico’s four ski areas used to be considered as separate resorts, much to the chagrin of company officials. They felt their resorts would fare better when regarded as one. SKI changed its policy a few years ago and Aspen-Snowmass, indeed, came out on top in the 2019 and 2020 rankings.

But 2021 is a new year. Rounding out the top three behind Sun Valley were Deer Valley in second and White Fish Mountain Resort in Montana in third. Taos Ski Valley finished one place ahead of Aspen-Snowmass.

SKI had this to say: “The four ski areas that make up Aspen-Snowmass fell in the reader rankings this year, but they are still, undoubtedly, four of the most amazing places skiers can visit in the USA.”

The resort write-ups are slightly out of date in the COVID-pandemic world. Aspen ranked high in après-ski activities and nightlife, at No. 2 in both categories. However, partying off-slope will look a whole lot different this year with capacity restrictions on gatherings.

SKI readers also touted the Aspen-Snowmass slopes. “From the steep, continuous fall-line skiing of Highland Bowl to the kid-friendly, first-timer slopes of Buttermilk’s Panda Peak, there truly is something for everyone,” the magazine wrote.

Rounding out the top 10 were Telluride at six, then Whistler Blackcomb, Steamboat, Beaver Creek and Crested Butte at 10. Vail was way down at 14.

The rankings can be found at http://www.skimag.com/ski-resort-life/best-ski-resorts-in-the-west-2021.

In the eastern U.S., the top three resorts were Smugglers Notch, Vermont; Tremblant, Quebec; and Mad River Glen, Vermont.

Hanle said the surveys are obviously subjective. There’s no way to explain how Aspen-Snowmass placed first for two consecutive years, then faded to fifth. Nevertheless, Skico will gladly accept the publicity, even in a season where it will likely be limiting customers rather than packing the slopes.

“It’s anybody’s guess where this year is going to go,” Hanle said.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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