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Top 10 Articles of 2020

In a year defined by early closures and tricky reservation systems, there was also plenty to celebrate in the world of skiing.

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There was so much happening throughout 2020, we wouldn’t have been surprised if no one was really paying attention to the latest and greatest in the ski world. Yet, readers did tune into, perhaps in search of something to take their mind off the pandemic and related worries. In fact, SKI’s most visited pages in 2020 shed some light on which issues were at the forefront of skiers’ minds during all the craziness last year.

The following list is made up of SKI’s most-read articles in the last calendar year and provides an insightful snapshot of 2020. The biggest takeaway? Skiers everywhere were hungry for tips for self-improvement and positive change in the ski industry. Go figure.

10. Short But Sweet: How to Make Short Turns

Michael Rogan demonstrating a short swing turn.
SKI’s Director of Instruction Michael Rogan demonstrates proper balance when making a short turn on a groomed slope. Photo courtesy of Bailey LaRue

SKI readers seemed especially keen to learn how to make short turns, a maneuver that has been put on the endangered-instruction list with the rise in popularity of wider skis. Fatter skis have made it easier to skid down the hill instead of using a ski’s edges to carve and change directions quickly. But SKI’s director of instruction, Michael Rogan, urges skiers not to let the short turn become a thing of the past; instead, brush up on your skills and prove that you’re better than the average skidder.

Ski Instruction Honorable Mentions

9. The 10 Biggest Ski Resorts in the World

Skiing in La Plagne, the third largest ski resort in the world.
Laying down an edge at La Plange, part of Paradiski, France (No. 3). Photo Courtesy of: La Plange/ Elina Sirparanta

Whenever we size up ski resorts, readers start chirping. This year we pitted the largest ski resorts in the world against each other and ranked them by skiable acreage. While measurement parameters do vary slightly around the world, making it difficult to say with absolute confidence or objectivity which resorts are indeed the largest, we did our best to dig for each resort’s self-reported metrics and rank them accordingly. Disagree with these rankings? You’re not alone, which is probably why The 10 Biggest Ski Resorts in the World was the most popular list on SKI this year.

Top 10 Lists Honorable Mention

8. Black Diamond Stands Firm Against Recall of Popular Avalanche Transceiver

When professional athlete Nick McNutt was buried in an avalanche, his partners couldn’t find his transceiver signal. Luckily, they found McNutt alive, but when they did, his Pieps transceiver had inadvertently been switched off. Ryan Wichelns dug deep into the ongoing effort by McNutt and some other pro athletes to persuade Black Diamond, who distributes Pieps transceivers in North America, to recall the product. The company still has not issued a recall.

Backcountry Safety Honorable Mentions

7. Talking About How Skiers Talk

Garrett Schlag on the hunt for powder snow.
Garry Schlag, breaking trail in the Colorado Backcountry. Photo credit: Justin Talbot

2020 stood out as a year for addressing diversity issues across the country, and skiing’s lack of diversity and its elitist culture didn’t go unnoticed. The ski world made a few steps in the right direction by addressing many diversity issues—such as the eventual name change of the ski area formerly known as Squaw Valley, or the fact that BIPOC skiers belong on the ski hill (and everywhere else they want to be)—but there is a still a long ways to go. SKI’s most popular article about diversity in skiing was based on an Instagram post by Garry Schlag (@masaru_targarryen) that called out racist language used casually by skiers.

Diversity Honorable Mentions

6. Vail Announces 2020-’21 Operations Plan

Vail Resort Guide 2020
Bennett Levine skiing Vail’s Back Bowls, presumably on a weekday. Photo courtesy of Vail Resorts / Scott Bellow

After the COVID-19 pandemic led to the early closure of ski resorts in March (more on that below), many skiers spent the summer scratching their heads and wondering what the ski season would look like. Vail Resorts was the first resort conglomerate to provide an answer: Reservations. And despite a rocky start, their seven-day, rolling openings model proved to be the most reliable way of getting a spot on the hill so far (Unless you’re one of the lucky folks who reserved parking spots at Copper every weekend, all season long).

COVID Winter Ski Season Plan Honorable Mention

5. Salomon Unveils All-New Stance Skis, SHIFT Ski Boot

Salomon Unveils New Stance All-Mountain Ski Line
“You can [stance] if you want to, you can leave your friends behind…” Photo courtesy of Salomon readers LOVE gear. They love gear that’s already on the shop rack, but they also love gear that will be on the wall next season. Of all the future gear previews we published mid-winter last season, the all-new Salomon Stance line got readers salivating the most. Did the new skis live up to the hype when test on snow? Watch the video below to find out.

Watch: SKI Reviews – Salomon Stance

Video not displaying correctly? Watch it here.

2020-’21 Gear Preview Honorable Mentions

4. 2020 Reader Resort Survey: Top 30 Ski Resorts in the West

Sun Valley Baldy
Sun Valley, this year’s No. 1 resort in the West according to readers. Sun Valley Resort

One ski area manager described SKI Magazine’s Annual Reader Resort Rankings as “The Super Bowl of Skiing,” so it’s no surprise that the final results in the West were in the top five most-viewed pages of the year. What’s better, however, is that the results in the West just squeaked ahead of the results in the East this year in terms of digital viewership. Watch out Western resorts—the East is coming for you.

Resort Ranking Honorable Mention

3. Scenes from a Ski Area Pandemic Closure

Snowmass patrol during COVID
Ski Patrol closing Snowmass, Colo., earlier than expected. Photo Credit: Brooke Warren

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly every ski area in the country closed down before the middle of March 2020. Passholders screamed (virtually) for refunds, shops sold out of ski touring equipment, and many of us started riding mountain bikes a lot earlier than we would have liked. The most popular article at the time was photographer Brooke Warren’s haunting gallery of ski patrollers closing up Snowmass, Colo.

Pandemic-Closure Honorable Mentions

2. Horstman T-Bar Removed

Climate change is strikingly absent from nearly all of the “top articles of 2020” lists on other websites, so it was heartening to see that skiers (based on their clicks, at least) still care deeply about the effects of climate change. That’s probably because climate change is directly affecting skiing in tangible ways, such as the removal of a beloved T-Bar due to the receding glacier at Whistler Blackcomb.

Climate Change Honorable Mention

1. Best All-Mountain Skis of the Year

SKI Tester Mike Britt at SKI Test 2020 in Taos, NM
Tester Mike Britt dropping in on the Gear of the Year, Best in Test Nordica Enforcer 100. Photo credit: Keri Bascetta

For the second year in a row, the results from the annual SKI Test were the most-read articles of the year. And of those results, the all-mountain ski reviews for both men and women were the most popular. The SKI Test crew deserves the most credit—they put in a full week of testing to bring you these results.

Gear Honorable Mentions