Steamboat Ski Area is No. 5 | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Ski Area is No. 5

Resort moves up from sixth in SKI Magazine rankings

Brent Boyer

The Steamboat Ski Area is the No. 5-ranked ski resort in North America, according to SKI Magazine’s 16th Annual Top 60 Resort Guide, which hits newsstands next week.

This is the fourth consecutive year the ski area has moved up in the rankings, which are determined by surveying more than 20,000 SKI Magazine readers. Steamboat Ski Area was ranked 12th in 2001, ninth in 2002 and sixth in 2003.

“Steamboat going from the 12th position as recently as three years ago to No. 5 in North America is great news and truly reflects upon the quality of our staff and everyone who delivers the legendary Steamboat experience,” said Andy Wirth, vice president of marketing and sales for the resort, said in a news release.

Vail remains the top-ranked ski resort on the continent, followed by Whistler-Blackcomb Ski Resort in British Columbia, Canada, Utah’s Deer Valley and Snowmass, according to the rankings.

Overall rankings are based on readers’ evaluations of ski resorts in 17 separate categories, including lifts, lodging, weather and aprÃs ski. Steamboat Ski Area was ranked in the top 10 for snow, service, lodging and family programs and in the top 20 for grooming, lifts, weather, on-mountain food, dining, apres ski, off-hill activities and terrain parks.

“The entire Steamboat Springs community should take great pride in Steamboat’s top-five ranking,” Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. President Chris Diamond said in the release. “It’s the total vacation experience that Steamboat provides, involving all aspects of our community, that really sets us apart.

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“This is a real town with a reputation for genuine friendliness, not a manufactured resort, and our guests truly treasure these qualities when looking to spend their valuable vacation time.”

Colorado ski resorts claimed six of the top 10 spots in the magazine’s guide. Aspen is ranked 11th.

Breckenridge made a big jump from No. 10 to No. 6.

Always a stepchild to sister resort Vail, Breckenridge has gotten a boost as a result of an agreement with the town that has cleared the way for a $400 million development.

The agreement enabled the resort to go ahead with the installation of two high-speed lifts and with plans to increase intermediate terrain by 30 percent.

”I had goose bumps for two days when I learned we would be No. 6,” said Roger McCarthy, chief operating officer for Breckenridge and Keystone. Keystone also moved up in the rankings, from No. 19 to No. 15.

”This shows that when communities work closely with the ski area and vice versa, you can really get things done even in a bad economy, a bad resort business and a flat skier market,” said Breckenridge Mayor Sam Mamula.

Telluride, benefiting from new terrain opened in Prospect Bowl two years ago, has jumped from No. 19 to No. 10 in two years.

”With the addition of Prospect Bowl’s 733 acres two seasons ago, Telluride defanged the mountain and made it a wonderful destination ski resort with tons of terrain for all ability levels,” said Chris Ryman, president and chief operating officer of the Telluride Ski and Golf Resort.

”We increased our grooming, added half-pipes and terrain parks and answered the demands of our skiers and riders,” Ryman added.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report. To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com