snow country 

Whistler resort is number one for the fifth year in a row in Snow Country magazine's annual ratings. In this year's ratings, reader polls counted for 75 per cent of the rating of each mountain. In past years, Snow Country has weighed reader input and resort statistics equally. The sheer size of Whistler, its vertical drop, acreage and multiple high-speed lifts give it an edge over other resorts, but with those vital statistics counting for only 25 per cent of the overall rating this year, Whistler still managed to hold number one, proving that it's not just size that counts. Whistler's dining rating both on and off the mountain went up, with special mention of La RĂșa and Il Caminetto di Umberto restaurants. Only Aspen ranked higher in the cuisine department. Whistler's night life and teen activities also improved in the eyes of Snow Country respondents. It would appear the only affect a relatively mediocre winter season had on Whistler's overall ratings was to see the "snow quality" grade drop from an A- to a B+. Whistler's ranking for kids programs and transport both dropped from an A- to B+. In the readers' poll, Whistler came out number one for terrain and number two for lodging and dining, but didn't figure in the top five for scenery or value. Vail was second in the annual ranking and Aspen third. The September issue of Snow Country hit newsstands Tuesday. SKI magazine, which also ranks North American ski resorts, publishes its ratings in its October issue. Whistler was number one in SKI last year for the first time.

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