SKI Magazine and Forbes Name Their No.1 Resorts


Across the pond in a land we like to call “Powder Heaven”, but most call “North America”, SKI Magazine and Forbes named their number 1 resorts for 2016. But who got it right?

Forbes and SKI Magazine run two of the most reputable, and read, ski resort rankings in the States and Canada, but the two lists use quite different methods. Forbes uses a computer algorithm to crunch a number of stats on each resort and award a ranking, while SKI goes more traditional and conducts a wide-scale poll among their readers – the longest running and most comprehensive survey of its kind.

In short, SKI asks their audience to rank their top 50 North American ski resorts in a variety of categories including variety of terrain, off-hill activities, après, terrain parks, lifts, lodging, scenery and overall satisfaction. In this year’s poll, for the third time in the past four years, Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia won the title of NO.1 Overall Ski Resort in North America. The Canadian resort scored top marks for its off-hill activities (which include zip lining, bobsleighing and snowmobiling), vibrant après scene and variety of terrain for all skill levels.

Whistler Blackcomb boasts the largest breadth of skiable acreage on the continent. Image courtesy of Tucker Sherman on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

Meanwhile, Forbes, together with their partners in number crunching at ZRankings, determine their annual list by entering data on 182 North American resorts into a computer algorithm that awards each ski resort a score out of 100. This number is called a PAF score, which stands for  “Pure Awesomeness Factor” – it’s more scientific than it sounds, we swear. The data categories include snow quantity and quality, breadth and variety of terrain, lift system, ease of access, vertical drop and vertical continuity, as well as input from their own experts who conduct extensive on-site analysis (i.e. ski the hell out of each mountain).

Forbes calls it, “The most scientific and proven way to determine how many drips of fun can be wrung from one ski trip.” This year, for the fifth time in a row, the coveted NO.1 spot went to Jackson Hole in Wyoming with a whopping PAF score of 99.00. The American resort won praise for its top notch lifts, exhilarating slopes and heavy annual snowfall.

Jackson Hole: a famously uncrowded playground for the more advanced skier. Image courtesy of Zach Dischner on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

So, who do you think called it right? Which ranking method do you trust more? Either way, we have two cracking resorts on our hands that are definitely worth tracks in 2016. 

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