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6 Nov 2019
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Steamboat Vacation Planning

It’s the question many ask each year, and the editors of Ski Magazine are a huge help with their Annual Ski Magazine survey compiled from readers’ input on where they like to ski. They rated 67 ski resorts in a variety of categories so you can decide where to hang your ski helmet in late 2019 or 2020. 

Thank goodness the readers of Ski Magazine are willing to not only tirelessly ski between the trees, rack up the vertical, and play in the powder, AND share their experience with the rest of us!

It’s not all work and no play, of course, as there were also comments about sampling chocolate chip cookies and sipping on apres-ski cocktails, all so that we can learn where’s the Best in the West (and the East). 

While we’re a little bit jealous of what must have been excruciatingly long days of winter fun, we’re thrilled with their rankings.

Our favorite 3 resorts (Steamboat, Vail and Beaver Creek) outranked the rest in a number of categories.

best place to ski Steamboat Springs

Steamboat ranked #4 by Ski Magazine!

Steamboat was ranked number 4 for the second year in a row for famed champagne powder, nirvana-inducing glade skiing, authentic cowboy character, the best family atmosphere and for having the friendliest locals. Readers over the past few years have been particularly enamored with the bucket list mecca that is Steamboat’s famed tree skiing, as well as the variety of activities that are happening off the slopes (hot air balloon rides, roller coasters, escape rooms). Because however, you want to spend your winter playtime, just being in Steamboat is snow.much.fun.

Ski Magazine’s 2019 and 2020 favorites in Steamboat:
Ski run: Twilight trees
Family activity (besides skiing): the Outlaw Mountain Roller Coaster
Morning carpool: Hop on a hot air balloon and be a part of the colorful morning vista
Off mountain activity: the Crooked Key Escape Room
Lunch pick: The Paramount, Timber and Torch, and chicken pot pies at Four Points Lodge
Dinner pick: Four Points Lodge on the mountain and Table 79 Foodbar in town

What’s New in Steamboat? 

They’re excited about Steamboat’s new gondola which boosts uphill capacity by 38 percent, with easy-entry cabins that are flush with the ground.

Beaver Creek ranked #8 by SKI Magazine!

Beaver Creek came in at number 8, most notably for grooming and corduroy. No, they’re not talking about Beaver Creek’s hair salons or clothing stores (though those are fabulous, as well). They’re referring to the notorious Beaver Creek boulevards of groomed terrain and the corduroy like pattern that happens after the snowcats smooth out the ski runs.

And don’t let their love of the perfectly coiffed snow fool you. There are plenty of steeps that the SKI magazine readers raved about: Grouse Mountain, Birds of Prey and Stone Creek Chutes.

SKI magazine’s 2019 and 2020 favorites in Beaver Creek:
Ski run: Birds of Prey (after it’s been groomed), Grouse Mountain and the trees in Stone Creek Chutes
Family activity: Cruising down Centennial ski run or stopping by the Candy Cabin atop Strawberry Park Express
Off mountain activity: Sleigh ride at Allie’s Cabin
Breakfast pick: Crepes at Rimini
Apres-ski: The patio at the C-Bar or grab a beer at the Dusty Boot Roadhouse
Dinner pick: Sleigh ride to dinner at Beano’s Cabin

What’s new in Beaver Creek?

While not quite as exciting as last year’s new gondola, lift and ice cream shop at the Haymeadow Park area, this year Beaver Creek boasts expanded snowmaking into Red Buffalo Park, which could ensure a 3,300 vertical drop on opening day.

Best place to ski Vail

Vail ranked #11 by SKI Magazine!

They refer to Vail as the gold standard in skiing. Not sure Vail needs any ranking higher than that, but, of course, Vail is never a resort to rest on its laurels. It is ALWAYS exceeding ski resort standards. The SKI Magazine readers were rightly impressed by the numerous high-speed chairlifts and the brand new 2019/2020 expanded snowmaking operation, which will make it all the easier for early and late season turns. 

SKI magazine’s  2019 and 2020 favorites in Vail
Ski runs: They loved the Back Bowls and Northwoods area on snowy days
Nightlife: A favorite spot for wearing ski boots into the wee hours, live music at Shakedown Bar
Family activity: Skiing Hairbag Alley
Apres-ski: A swanky sofa at The George, Vail’s subterranean lounge or pizza and pitchers at locals’ favorite, Vendetta’s

What’s new in Vaill? 

Snowmaking upgrades are underway to ensure pre-Thanksgiving opening days year after year.  The 200-acre increase in snowmaking terrain makes the higher elevation slopes and the two base areas more dependable and accessible in the early season.

Now that you’ve got the SKI magazine 2020 rankings, it’s time to find your way out West and sample these goodies for yourself! 

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