Monday, September 10, 2007
Steamboat Springs When it comes to the SKI magazine annual reader's poll, it's a case of dejÃ vu for the Steamboat Ski Area.
Steamboat held onto it's top-10 ranking in the survey results announced this week, placing ninth - the same as last year.
Survey results were slightly better news at this time in 2006, because Steamboat had moved up two spots from the 11th spot it earned in 2005.
Plush Deer Valley, Utah, placed first for the second time in three years, reclaiming the hearts of SKI readers from Vail, which occupied the top of the rankings last fall.
Steamboat was sandwiched between Beaver Creek in eighth and Sun Valley, Idaho, in 10th.
SKI typically polls about 6,000 readers each year to get their perceptions of ski areas in 18 categories. They include overall satisfaction, access, aprÃs ski, dining, family programs, grooming, lifts, lodging, off-hill activities, on-mountain food, scenery, service, snow terrain/challenge, terrain variety, terrain parks, value and weather.
SKI editor Greg Ditrinco said his magazine's typical reader is 37 to 38 years old and skis 23 times a season. In order to be eligible to rate a resort, the reader must have skied it within the past two years and have been a subscriber for two years. An independent polling firm conducts the survey.
SKI won't release details of the survey until the publication of its October issue. However, Steamboat can be expected to score high marks, as it has in the past, for its family programs.
Steamboat President Chris Diamond attributes his company's strong public perception in that area to its longstanding "Kids Ski Free" and "Kids Fly Free" programs.
Ski area spokesperson Heidi Thomsen observed that the addition of the Sunshine Express high-speed quad chairlift last year could boost skiing families' perception of Steamboat. The list affords improved access to a large expanse of family skiing terrain on a high elevation southern exposure.
Steamboat perennially gets low marks in the poll for the lack of extreme terrain and nightlife. And despite a steady increase in available airline seats, Steamboat doesn't typically get high marks for "ease of access."
Ditrinco told the Steamboat Pilot & Today in a previous interview that his readers place as much emphasis on creature comforts as they do on ski terrain and snow conditions.
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