Categories of Ski Areas

joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
in NELSAP Forum Posts: 1,717
With the closure of Killington on June 1, the lift-serviced ski season is over!  Silly season has arrived!

Here is a suggestion of something that can keep us going for a few weeks:

I'd like to suggest categories for ski areas and once we determined what these categories are, see if we can come up with "a best list" for each.  This thread is intended for northeast areas only because the verticals really don't make sense in the mid-west.  (Aside to ciscokid: If you like this idea, you are best positioned to do a similar thread for the mid-west.).

Suggestion:
Destination Resort:
- vertical: greater than 1000 foot vertical
- extensive development of housing/hotels/beds
- generally considered to be state-of-the-art snowmaking, lifts and grooming

Regional Resort:
- vertical: greater than 500'
- minimal development or housing within 30 minutes that is considered "specific to the ski area"
- most of visitors/guests, are daytrippers.

Feeder areas:
- Vertical: under 500' of vertical 
- Serves a local metropolitan area
- Lifts, equipment and amenities may (or may not) be up-to-date.

Resorts with smaller ski areas as an amenity (that may also be open to the public)
- Examples: Purity Resort (King Pine)

Anyone want add categories or extend/clarify the definitions suggested?
«1345

Comments

  • JimKJimK advanced
    edited June 2 Posts: 213
    On your list where would you place Cochran's, Middlebury, or Dartmouth?  Just brainstorming to see if any place falls through the cracks in your groupings. 
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    edited June 2 Posts: 1,717
    JimK said:

    or Dartmouth. 

    Are you suggesting Dartmouth as a category?  I see Dartmouth (and Middlebury) as regional resorts. Cochran's I see as a feeder area - a high-end feeder area, but still a feeder area!

  • Posts: 1,927

    JimK said:

    or Dartmouth. 

    Are you suggesting Dartmouth as a category?  I see Dartmouth (and Middlebury) as regional resorts.
    I agree, and I'd also like to nominate Dartmouth for the best in that category.

    However, I disagree with some of the requirements for destination resorts. The current requirements would rule out places such as Wildcat, Mad River Glan, and Cannon, which are definitely destination resorts.
    - Sam
  • NJSkiNJSki advanced
    Posts: 269
    Perhaps a category for ski areas with night skiing? I have not gone night skiing in over 10 years, but it does have it's niche.
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,717

    JimK said:

    or Dartmouth. 

    Are you suggesting Dartmouth as a category?  I see Dartmouth (and Middlebury) as regional resorts.
    I agree, and I'd also like to nominate Dartmouth for the best in that category.

    However, I disagree with some of the requirements for destination resorts. The current requirements would rule out places such as Wildcat, Mad River Glen, and Cannon, which are definitely destination resorts.
    I suggest that Wildcat falls into the catchment area of North Conway with plenty of beds.  MRG has all of the Sugarbush housing readily available and Cannon has no shortage of beds in Lincoln.  

    Perhaps we need sub-categories of destination resorts with ski-on/ski-off accommodations?
  • mapnutmapnut expert
    Posts: 781

    I think we need two "big" categories, big mountain resorts and big-mountain non-resorts, and both should be over 1500 vertical feet. Non-resorts would include Cannon, Mad River, Wildcat, Magic, Burke (despite the hotel), Gore and Whiteface (since Lake Placid is independent). Regional ski areas should not be called resorts, and there should be a category for small resorts. I think Jiminy Peak is more the upper limit of small resorts that the lower limit of big resorts. Haystack/Hermitage is also more in the category of small resorts.


  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,061


    Suggestion:
    Destination Resort:
    - vertical: greater than 1000 foot vertical
    - extensive development of housing/hotels/beds
    - generally considered to be state-of-the-art snowmaking, lifts and grooming

    Bretton Woods :D
  • lotsoskiinglotsoskiing expert
    Posts: 666
    MRG definitely not a destination resort. "Pilgrimage" is a better term. Misses out on the last 2 criteria. Most people who ski MRG for a long weekend or week are locals or have second homes/ski clubs around the base or in the Valley. Sugarbush is the "destination resort".

    This is not a value judgement- I love them both. But I would never think of MRG in the same light as Sugarbush, Okemo, Stratton, Stowe, et al.
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,717

    MRG definitely not a destination resort. "Pilgrimage" is a better term. Misses out on the last 2 criteria. Most people who ski MRG for a long weekend or week are locals or have second homes/ski clubs around the base or in the Valley. Sugarbush is the "destination resort".


    This is not a value judgement- I love them both. But I would never think of MRG in the same light as Sugarbush, Okemo, Stratton, Stowe, et al.
    Good point.  We'll have to think up a new category for the likes of Magic and MRG.  Any suggestions?
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,717


    Suggestion:
    Destination Resort:
    - vertical: greater than 1000 foot vertical
    - extensive development of housing/hotels/beds
    - generally considered to be state-of-the-art snowmaking, lifts and grooming

    Bretton Woods :D
    Not asking for areas yet.  Let's just  get the categories!
  • slathamslatham advanced
    Posts: 121

    Should there be more categories? I think both Destination Resorts and Regional Resorts need further breakdown since a "resort" to me has a lot of connotations that are not based on ski areas stats. As example:

    Destination Resort (Stratton, K, Sugar, Stowe, etc)

    Large Ski Area (Magic, Pico, MRG)

    Regional Resort (Jiminy)

    Regional Ski Area (Bousquet)

    Feeder

    Food for thought.....

  • mapnutmapnut expert
    Posts: 781

    Slatham and I have almost converged. I don't think there are many regional resorts.


  • Posts: 933
    There are a few if you include upstate NY: Greek Peak and Holiday Valley.
  • lotsoskiinglotsoskiing expert
    Posts: 666

    There are a few if you include upstate NY: Greek Peak and Holiday Valley.

    and Catskills: Plattekill
  • mapnutmapnut expert
    edited June 2 Posts: 781

    I was going to say "regional" is not the best adjective. I'd call Greek Peak a small resort, but Holiday Valley is too big, with 11 lifts, a town and a large private area right there, to call a small resort. Regional resort, yes. That would also work for Mountain Creek.

    Also in New York, Belleayre is just short of big mountain status and should be a regional ski area. Hunter and Windham are just high enough to be big mountain resorts.

  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,717
    So based on your comments, here is the next iteration on the definitions:

    Destination Resort:
    - vertical: greater than 1000 foot vertical
    - extensive development of housing/hotels/beds
    - generally considered to be state-of-the-art snowmaking, lifts and grooming
    1. Attitash
    2. Loon
    3. Waterville
    4.

    Large Ski Area
    - vertical: greater than 1000 feet
    - minimal development or housing within 30 minutes that is considered "specific to the ski area"
    1. Wildcat
    2. 

    Regional Resort:
    - vertical: greater than 500'
    - significant development or housing within 30 minutes that is considered "specific to the ski area"
    - generally considered to be state-of-the-art snowmaking, lifts and grooming
    1.. Gunstock
    2. Mt. Cranmore
    3. Black Mtn. NH
    4.

    Regional Ski Area:
    - vertical: greater than 500'
    - minimal development or housing within 30 minutes that is considered "specific to the ski area"
    - most of visitors/guests, are daytrippers.
    1. Crotched Mtn.
    2. Ragged Mtn.

    Feeder areas:
    - Vertical: under 500' of vertical 
    - Serves a local metropolitan area
    - Lifts, equipment and amenities may (or may not) be up-to-date.
    1.  Granite Gorge
    2. 

    Resorts with smaller ski areas as an amenity (that may also be open to the public)
    1. Purity Resort (King Pine)
    2. 

    If we are having fun with this, we can include NY, NJ and PA.

    Please suggest other changes to the definitions, but to see if the definitions work, lets start off with just NH Ski Areas.  I included a few.  Please argue with my examples and/or add other areas.
  • obienickobienick expert
    Posts: 853
    I think both Greek Peak and Holliday Valley should be considered regional resorts. They both pull a percentage of their visits from the region (HV being Ohio and GP being NJ/southeastern PA) in addition to day trippers. No one is flying across the country to ski at either, which is really needed for a destination resort designation.
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,717
    obienick said:

    I think both Greek Peak and Holliday Valley should be considered regional resorts. They both pull a percentage of their visits from the region (HV being Ohio and GP being NJ/southeastern PA) in addition to day trippers. No one is flying across the country to ski at either, which is really needed for a destination resort designation.

    Probably so, but let's fill in NH and we'll get to NY later.  That being said, does Greek Peak have a substantial beds that are there primarily for the ski area.  I know HV does.
  • obienickobienick expert
    Posts: 853
    I think BW and Loon would be the only one ms in contention for destination status in NH.
  • lotsoskiinglotsoskiing expert
    Posts: 666
    obienick said:

    I think BW and Loon would be the only one ms in contention for destination status in NH.

    Not Waterville?
  • Posts: 1,927

    obienick said:

    I think BW and Loon would be the only one ms in contention for destination status in NH.

    Not Waterville?

    I would include Waterville, Atiitash, and probably Cannon.
    - Sam
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,717
    Interesting.  I don't care for WV, but there is an entire ski village set u around the mountain.  I don't think ski-on/ski-off is a requirement to be a destination resort. Other inputs?

    The ones no one has mentioned or contested yet:
    Dartmouth
    Whaleback
    Pat's
    Sunapee

    and I think Blackwater may be over 500' vertical.  If so, where does that fit?

    and for now, we don't have to obsess on Tenney or the Balsams.

    Other opinions on Cannon/Mittersill?
  • lotsoskiinglotsoskiing expert
    Posts: 666
    Blackwater: Private, no?

    Dartmouth: RSA
    Whaleback: Feeder
    Pat's: Feeder
    Sunapee: RR
  • SnowmasterSnowmaster advanced
    Posts: 165
    I think 1500 vertical is the bare minimum for a large destination resort. Mt. Snow and Bretton Woods check all the other boxes, but generally, a large destination resort has 2000 vertical.
  • obienickobienick expert
    edited June 3 Posts: 853
    WV and Attitash, although having housing and decent vertical, simply do not have the cachet to be labelled a destination resort IMHO.  To be honest, WV probably did in the '70s, but the place has been stagnant since (save the questionable and incomplete pod expansion for this past season).  The village has been pretty much tapped out for decades such they've decimated the golf course over the last 14 years to make room for more housing.

    Killington, Stowe, Loon, Sunday River attract skiers from many states away and internationally as well. I don't think either WV or Attitash do.  They are pretty much stuck with the local/Boston/southern New England market.

    Maybe we should have a 4th category. WV/Attitash are definitely different from both places like Killington/Stowe/Loon/SR and places like Gunstock.
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,717

    Blackwater: Private, no?

    Dartmouth: RSA
    Whaleback: Feeder
    Pat's: Feeder
    Sunapee: RR
    While Blackwater is private, they allow the locals to ski there and there are open races there.  They also have a competent snowmaking system.  I suspect that whatever category we put it in will ultimately be the same category into which we place Cochrans. 

    I agree on Dartmouth and Whaleback, but have to put Pat's in the Regional Ski Area category.  Sunapee, by virtue of their day trip business, might be categorized as a Regional Ski Area, but based on the number of beds in the area and the recently approved development, I'd put them in the destination resort category.  

    More inputs?
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,717
    obienick said:

    WV and Attitash, although having housing and decent vertical, simply do not have the cachet to be labelled a destination resort IMHO.  To be honest, WV probably did in the '70s, but the place has been stagnant since (save the questionable and incomplete pod expansion for this past season).  The village has been pretty much tapped out for decades such they've decimated the golf course over the last 14 years to make room for more housing.


    Killington, Stowe, Loon, Sunday River attract skiers from many states away and internationally as well. I don't think either WV or Attitash do.  They are pretty much stuck with the local/Boston/southern New England market.

    Maybe we should have a 4th category. WV/Attitash are definitely different from both places like Killington/Stowe/Loon/SR and places like Gunstock.
    The fact that the market is primarily southern New England is less relevant than "do significant numbers of their skier visits include an overnight stay" - as opposed to a day trip?

    WV might be a deteriorating destination resort, but the quantity of housing speaks for itself.

    More comments - and for now, we're only doing NH.
  • lotsoskiinglotsoskiing expert
    Posts: 666
    Blackwater- I'd still call it private if access is restricted to locals and racing. Cochran's is fully open to public, regardless of residence. Similar size and m.o., but unless Proctor/Blackwater is open to all who show up to ski, it's private IMO.
  • edited June 3 Posts: 1,927
    Here's how I would break it down in NH. I would also make private ski areas and local ski tows their own category. I would also eliminate the resorts with ski areas as an amenity category because King Pine is one of the best feeder areas in New England.

    Private Areas
    - Blackwater
    - Clancy
    - Red Hill
    - Rowell Hill
    - Wight

    Local Ski Tows
    - Abenaki
    - Arrowhead
    - Mount Eustis
    - Gateway Hills
    - Kanc
    - Mount Prospect
    - Storrs Hill
    - Verterans Memorial

    Feeder Areas
    - Campton
    - Granite Gorge
    - King Pine
    - McIntyre
    - Whaleback

    Regional Ski Area
    - Black Mountain
    - Crotched
    - Dartmouth
    - Pat's Peak

    Regional Resorts
    - Cranmore
    - Gunstock
    - Ragged Mountain
    - Mount Sunapee

    Large Ski Areas
    - Wildcat

    Destination Resorts
    - Attitash
    - Bretton Woods
    - Cannon
    - Loon
    - Waterville Valley
    - Sam
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,717
    I really like the list that NES13 put together.

    The only one I substantially disagree with is that I consider Ragged to be a regional ski area rather than a resort.  While Ragged has aspirations to be more, for now they are a day-trip area with very limited beds at or near the mountain.

    I think Storrs and Campton should be in the same category, whether the category is feeder or local is moot.

    I'll wait for a few more inputs and if anyone has a suggestion of what state to add next, please make that suggestion.
Sign In or Register to comment.