In the autumn, skiers and snowboarders must wait patiently for winter to come. As they do, they turn to rituals to get stoked and help fill the void before the lifts start spinning. These ceremonies include a full fall lineup of ski and snowboard movies to let us zone out and drool while living vicariously through the athletes on the screen. There are Pray for Snow Parties that may or may not require wearing vintage onesies, and may or may not involve sacrificing old ski gear. Burning old gear leads to acquiring new gear (or “new to us” gear) at ski swaps and gear sales. All of these events bring us together as the tight-knit community we are to talk about the impending season we long for.
Another annual rite of passage is checking out SKI Magazine’s Annual Resort Guide to see who is the best of the best (for this year), and where your favorite ski area landed. With more than 30 years of ranking resorts SKI Magazine’s Resort Guide is considered the most prestigious, and most comprehensive analysis, and it’s an excellent conversation starter.
Every spring the magazine asks their readers to take a survey and choose the ski resorts they’ve been to in the last two years and rank them in a number of categories. SKI Magazine compiles the results of these categories and then using some secret formula known only to SKI Magazine’s editors they name an overall Top 30 resorts in the West and Top 20 in the East can call them all the BEST IN NORTH AMERICA.
As you may have heard, this year we are No. 3 Resort in the West, our highest ranking to date. While you may have heard that, you may not know much about how we placed across the other categories. Here are a few details that will give you more to talk about at pre-season gatherings.
Whitefish’s 2020 Category Rankings in the Top 10:
#1 Local Flavor
#4 Service, Scenery, Charm, Après and Overall Satisfaction
#7 Family Friendly, Down Day Activities
#1 Local Flavor and #4 Charm. “Whitefish is beloved for its authentic vibe that keeps the skiing center stage and for its supporting cast of welcoming locals,” reads the caption emblazoned upon the photo taken from our summit on page 71 in this issue of SKI Magazine. Writer Greg Ditrinco writes, “Apparently, the genuine hospitality found here is increasingly rare in the rapidly consolidating resort universe. That’s a shame. More the reason to head to Whitefish, which, not surprisingly, lands No. 1 in Local Flavor.” Whether it’s our cast of local characters, or places with character such as The Bierstube, Hellroaring Saloon and The Northern, readers acknowledge that part of what makes skiing so great, it that the place has a “ski culture” on and off the slopes. In fact, we have a Character Campaign dedicated to this! We are proud that readers recognize that we are not afraid to be ourselves—and that we give everyone else who comes here the same freedom.
#2 Value and #4 Service. Whitefish has consistently ranked among the top resorts in North America for value, however we often stand out as the only resort ranked in the top 10 for Value that is also ranked in the Top 10 for Service, proving that it is possible to deliver outstanding service while keeping the ski experience affordable. This is a rarity in the ski industry, and speaks volumes for our resort and our community.
Something new and different in this year’s Resort Guide, the Editors combined categories to summarize what readers thought creating what I call “Super Categories” (just made that up). For example, they used rankings in the categories for Lodging (we ranked #11) + Dining + Down Day Activities + Scenery + Charm to create the super category, “All-Around Vacation,” and we came in at #4. In the super category, “Family Vacation”, which combines rankings for Family Friendly + Travel Ease (we were #15) + Grooming + Down Day Activities + Charm, we took the #8 spot. In the super category “Spring Break Destination” they combine Après-Ski + Nightlife + Value + Challenge. We slid in at #9 in this Super Category even with ranking #28 for challenge.
Now you have a little more to talk about when you talk about how excited you are for this winter (you’re welcome). The countdown is on—less than a month to go! See you December 6!