Who’s on top this year? 

Whistler moves up in SKI magazine resort ratings

The annual race to rank ski areas, and for ski areas to send out releases announcing their ratings, has begun.

Colorado giant Vail has topped SKI magazine’s rankings this year, as it has in 11 of the past 15 years. Whistler-Blackcomb, which has held the No. 3 position in the Colorado-based SKI’s rankings for the last three years, has moved up to No. 2. Deer Valley, Utah is third in SKI’s ratings this year. The complete rankings are in the October issue of the magazine.

Stuart Rempel, Whistler-Blackcomb Vice President of Sales & Marketing, is quick to credit Whistler personalities for their contribution to the strong ranking. "We have people here who take their wildest dreams and bring them to life on our mountains, creating the best mountain experience possible," Rempel said in a release.

"Our cutting-edge grooming techniques and award-winning terrain parks are just two examples in which Whistlerites have made their visions a reality."

SKI’s rankings are based on subscriber surveys. Last winter was Vail’s fourth busiest on record, with 1.6 million skier visits. Whistler-Blackcomb had more than 2 million skier visits last winter.

Meanwhile Fernie Alpine Resort, which didn’t make SKI’s list of top 30 resorts, has been voted North American Resort of the Year by the British-based Good Skiing & Snowboarding Guide.

"Fernie has joined the ranks of the top ski destinations in the world with this award," Melody Kultgen, sales & public relations manager for the resort, said in a release.

"Last year this award was given to Aspen and our European counterpart this year is St. Anton."

The Good Skiing & Snowboarding Guide is described as the largest selling English-language ski guide in the world. Published by Which? Books of the U.K., the book’s authors present Golden Ski Awards in 12 categories to North American and European resorts. After nominating a top 100 in each category, readers vote and the finalists are judged by "a small jury of ski industry experts."

A Web site for Which? Books states: "The Guide remains entirely independent and accepts neither advertising nor sponsorship."

Still to come this fall are resort rankings from Skiing Magazine, which has ranked Whistler the number one ski resort in North America for the last five years in a row, Transworld Snowboarding, which has rated Whistler-Blackcomb the best snowboard resort in North America each of the last two years, and various U.K. newspapers which rank ski resorts.

Meanwhile, at least one expert reports that Whistler can look forward to excellent winter conditions this winter.

Veteran meteorologist Jim Roemer of BestSkiWeather.com says that Whistler will have some of the best early season conditions in North America and will receive above average snowfall.

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