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Who am I to be giving rankings and opinions for ski resorts anyway?
    My name is Mark (aka - skivrmt, u2greekgod) and I have been skiing for about 20 years, snowboarding for about 11 years.  I grew up near Philly, across the river from Trenton, NJ.  I became a ski and snowboard instructor at Belle Mtn. Ski Area in high school and worked there until I left for college.  I am currently in medical school and hope to graduate in 2001.  I don't like the rankings that are published in Skiing or Ski Magazine because they rank the things that are not important to me when I go skiing.

What type of skier am I?
    I think it's important to know about the person ranking the resorts because a beginner is probably not going to like the same resorts that I am.  It is tough to answer this question because either way I answer it, I'll sound bad or like a narcissist. :)  I am an expert/advanced/level 9 etc. type skier.  The steeper the better.  I have never turned down a trail, although I still would like to make it out to Jackson Hole.  Bumps are my "so-called" favorite, so I'm always searching for the bump runs at ski resorts.  I have many pictures of me and my friends skiing at my  Personal Skiing Pictures Page

What do I find important at ski resorts (i.e., how did I rank the resorts)?
    Ahh, the most important question.  Over half the categories in Ski magazine I do not find important at all in picking a ski resort destination.  The categories in which I do not care about include service, weather, accessibility, lodging, dining, and apres-ski.  The lodging, dining, and apres-ski are categories that have absolutely nothing to do with the skiing itself, hence they are not important to me.  While weather is somewhat important, magazines rank weather the opposite of what they should be ranking it!  Their higher rank is on sunny and warm, I'd rather have it snowy and cold, keeps the crowds away. :)  Here is a list of the categories I ranked (1-10 scale with 10 being the best) the ski resorts by and what they consist of:

Most Important Categories:

Terrain: Does the resort have enough diversity for a day trip; how about spending a week there?  Are there enough diamonds to keep me happy? :)

Challenge: Are their diamonds going to make me pull out my snowboard or keep me on my skis.

Bumps: 10=More bumps than New England back roads.  1=Smooth as a baby's butt.

Value: Is the lift ticket price worth what the mountain offers?  Belle Mtn. is the cheapest, but is still isn't worth the $24.  Vail charges nearly $60, but does the mountain warrant that kind of price?

Important Categories:

Elbow Room: Once I get off the lifts and start skiing, do I still feel like I am in a NYC subway or do I have room to roam the slopes without worrying about getting hit by a runaway skier/snowboarder?

Lift Lines: Am I going to spending half the day in lift lines?

True Vertical: The true vertical of the mountain including lifts.  Killington states over a 3000' vertical, but I consider the true vertical around 1500'.  Snowbird has a true 3000' vertical with the tram.

Not Really Important except for Snowboarders and End of the Day Ski Runs:

Grooming: Does the resort groom only 1/2 runs from each lift (Alta, A-Basin, Snowbird) or do they only leave 1/2 runs not groomed on the entire mountain (Okemo, Big Boulder).