This is an article on Business Week about the ranking of ski resorts by Ski Magazine. The SKI resort survey has been going for 26 years, and draws upon subscribers—145,000 of them last year. Do you agree?
“Jackson Hole has always been on the bucket list for any committed skier,” says Greg Ditrinco, the editor of SKI. “It’s right up there with Chamonix and AK [Alaska]. It’s the birthplace of extreme skiing. They’ve always had some of the best terrain. … But that’s God-given. What this ranking reflects is that they’ve taken care of all the management-driven elements, too.” Ditrinco says Jackson Hole had only once before cracked the top 10 (No. 6 in 2012-13), and that the previous winners, such as Vail, Colo., and Deer Valley, Utah, are all-inclusive destinations—places where families tend to spend a week.
There are any number of specific tweaks that might account for Jackson Hole leapfrogging its rivals. An obvious one is volume. On the strength of nonstop flights from 12 U.S. cities, the resort had its most visitors ever last winter (502,000, according to brand director Anna Olson). At the same time, the owners—the ski mountain is still independently owned and operated by the Kemmerer family—have invested $135 million in capital improvements over the last 12 years. Reached in his Jackson office, resort President Jerry Blann allowed that the mountain “can humble you,” which is why “we’ve really focused on maximizing our intermediate terrain, grooming, and making the whole trip more convenient.”