The Best Ski Resort in the US Isn’t What You Thought
Jackson, WY – Dec. XX, 2012 – Ski and snowboard enthusiasts who plan their vacations based on “Best Ski Hill” lists may not be visiting the ski resorts where they’ll have the most fun, according to snowboarding guide author Matt Gibson.
“Top ski resort lists poorly reflect the numerous ingredients required for an good skiing or snowboarding vacation for average enthusiasts,” says Gibson.”These lists are usually based on expert opinion or statistics, but neither of those things reflects the needs of most resort visitors.”
To remedy this, Gibson, who writes the About.com snowboarding guide and award-winning Matt Gibson’s Adventure Travel Site, is embarking on the “Best in the West Tour” this winter, which will kick off on December 17th in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Photographer Emilie Warden will accompany Gibson on the tour, which will take them to more than a dozen ski towns across the western United States in a bid to create a “people’s list” of the best ski resorts. They will update their progress and post their findings on Gibson’s website throughout the tour.
Warden and Gibson — who has an honors degree in Sociology — will employ a progressive research methodology called Grounded Theory in which researchers try to approach their subject without preconceptions and build their understanding of it from the ground up by thorough interviews and observation.
“A casual skier choosing a ski destination based on the opinion of a professional skier is like a soccer mom choosing to buy a car based on the opinion of a NASCAR driver,” says Gibson. “It’s useless because their needs are completely different. We’re traveling from town to town asking average people what makes a great trip for them because that’s the information we need to figure out which ski resorts and ski towns offer the best experience for the most people.”
Gibson expects to uncover a lot of unique resort qualities that are important to visitors, but often glossed over by other lists. When he recently asked his Twitter followers what was the most important part of a ski hill, “a good bar” was one of the most common responses, but one that’s rarely in consideration among the best resort lists.
The Best of the West Tour will visit more than a dozen resorts across the western United States. The first part of the tour itinerary includes:
- Jackson Hole, WY on December 17th – 18th
- Grand Targhee, WY – December 22nd – 23rd
- Snowbird, Utah – January 3rd – 4th
- Squaw Valley, California – January 8th – 9th
- Sugar Bowl, California – January 11th – 12th
At each resort town, Gibson and Warden will be inviting skiers and snowboarders via Facebook and Twitter to meet up to discuss their opinions about what makes a good ski resort and the qualities of their hometown mountain. They also encourage others across the country to participate in the conversation on Matt Gibson’s Facebook page and a short online survey. To add incentive, they’ll be giving away $10 gift certificates for discount lift tickets from online vendor Liftopia, and entering interviewees for a chance to win $2500 in Eddie Bauer First Ascent ski or snowboarding apparel.