adventure journal poll overrated ski area

Is Deer Valley the number ski resort right now or is it Vail? It’s tough to remember – all these readers surveys, all these press releases, all these magazine rankings. Can’t keep track of them all.

In my mind, which many of you know as a dark and sordid place yet experienced in the way of lifts and trams, there are a handful of ski areas that belong in the pantheon, perhaps five at most that stand above all others. And they don’t change relative to one another from year to year. And then there is an astoundingly large pool of truly great, truly adventure-oriented ski areas, some heralded, some not, but none of which warrant a number one ranking.

Anybody familiar with the wiles of marketers and magazines – meaning pretty much anyone alive – knows that rankings are simply cheap and easy tools that appeal to the human tendency to turn brains and decision making over to others. Here at AJ, we do lists, polls, and quizzes because 1) we think they’re fun, and 2) we think they spark damn interesting conversations, not because we want to influence anyone to do anything. Ski area rankings are designed to do one thing: sell magazines or trips to ski areas.


Unfortunately, and also to no surprise, many of these rankings are built on hot air, and hype is the sea in which so much true information floats. Resorts that are fine, excellent, serviceable ski areas somehow become known as royalty, while areas that truly rock languish in their shadows. Certainly, Vail has much to offer, but if even a fraction of its customers visited, say, Taos instead, they might find a richer, more complex experience than that to which they’ve become accustomed.

Well, enough said. I know you guys and I know you hold strong opinions in such matters. Let’s hear them. Pick up to three.

(And yes, we will at some point ask the question of underrated areas.)



products_2218_2689_218_enlargeThis week, one poll participant will receive a pair of Smith Optics Vice snow goggles, retailing at $140-$170. We’ll pick the winner via random number generator (and announce it here) – all you have to do to enter is vote and leave a comment so we have your email to contact you. Must have a U.S. or Canadian address. Contest ends Sunday, January 19, at midnight PST.

Congratulations to Kevin D’Agostino, who wins the Smiths this week!

Photo by Shutterstock
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Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal. Follow him on Instagram at @stevecasimiro.