Wednesday, September 20, 2006

SKI magazine ranks Sun Valley in Top 10

Vail takes No. 1 slot

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Resort is maintaining its status quo among the most elite ski destinations in North America.

"A great place to get away from it all," praises the October issue of SKI Magazine, on stands next week.

Sun Valley holds its rank as the 10th best Western ski resort in the Colorado-based magazine's annual "Where to Ski Now: Top 50 Resort Guide."

The resort earned the same rank last year, keeping the company of Vail, Park City and Aspen on the privileged Top 10 list.

The Top 10 ranking comes from the 19th annual reader survey, which asks magazine subscribers to rate North America's ski resorts based on categories that include snow conditions, terrain, access and dining. This year, the survey garnered a record 6,000 responses from the magazine's subscribers.

"It shows the priorities of our readership. Our readers are really looking for a full resort experience ... The resorts that offer a comprehensive trip," said Greg Ditrinco, SKI magazine executive editor. "Sun Valley fits that. There the town is involved. There is so much going on."

According to the survey, Vail is the No. 1 resort in the West, with Deer Valley, Utah, in second, and Snowmass, Colo., in third.

Vail garnered Top 10 finishes in 13 out of the 18 categories ranked, noted for the variety of terrain and expansive size. The Top 10 list includes five other Colorado resorts, more than any other state.

As Idaho's only resort to make the Top 10, Sun Valley is praised for its work to improve skiing for beginners with a summit-to-base snowmaking system scheduled to open on Dollar Mountain this winter.

The write-up notes Sun Valley's "local secret" as the Frenchman's Gulch area on Bald Mountain. The article calls the area "the place to ski when the resort is busy or after the powder is skied out on the rest of Bald Mountain."

The magazine encourages readers not to miss the Full Moon Dinner served at Galena Lodge, located north of Ketchum.

In the survey, Sun Valley earned very high marks in several categories, including on-mountain food, service, regional dining, lifts, lodging and grooming. In a new category, overall satisfaction, Sun Valley came in 10th.

"They (Sun Valley) are doing a lot of things well," Ditrinco said.

However, as in previous Ski magazine surveys, Sun Valley earned less-favorable marks for natural snow conditions (ranked 40), value (ranked 46), terrain variety (ranked 43), and accessibility (ranked 58). Nonetheless, the ranking indicates Sun Valley's overall ski experience continues to distinguish the resort from other Western destinations.

SKI's Top 10

Vail, Colo.

Deer Valley, Utah

Snowmass, Colo.

Whistler/Blackcomb, Canada

Park City, Utah

Breckenridge, Colo.

Aspen, Colo.

Beaver Creek, Colo.

Steamboat, Colo.

Sun Valley, Idaho

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