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You SKImag.com readers are a voracious bunch. We’ve posted nearly 1,500 articles since January and you guys have eaten it all up. Not surprisingly, stories about gear and resorts are our bread and butter, and naturally, this is where we focused a lot of our attention. So, as 2021 draws to a close, we thought it would be insightful to round up our most popular stories, starting with our ski resort coverage. They’re a surprisingly diverse bunch—from family travel to concerns about the ski-town housing and labor shortages. Here’s to even more coverage in 2022. Cheers!
Top 5 Most-Read Articles of 2021: Ski Resort Edition
No. 5: A Travel Guide to the Top 5 Family Resorts in the West
Our Reader Resort Survey coverage is always popular, so this year we decided to expand on the results with deeper-dive articles parsing the category results more closely. This article focused on the five resorts in the West that landed at the top of the survey for being family friendly. We then chatted up local families and got their advice on where to stay, eat, ski, and play at each of the resorts.
“Best Family Ski Terrain at Whitefish Mountain: The family-friendly terrain off of Chair 2 opens 30 minutes before the rest. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, and get your crew out there before the rest to gobble up no-extra-cost first tracks on the mellow blues and greens.”
No. 4: Is Expansion the Salvation of Small Ski Areas, or Their Demise?
Leave it to a combination of mom-and-pop ski areas and ski-town housing and labor shortages to stoke the passion of skiers. This story laid out the arguments from smaller ski areas who feel they need to expand in order to nab their share of the skier-visit pie. The flip side—and you know there is one—is the burden those expansions would place on the already overtaxed infrastructures of the ski towns where people are struggling to live and work.
“Scaling up is a natural part of any business, but at what cost does this come at for ski areas? Concerns at Targhee range from impact on threatened species (Teton bighorn sheep, grizzlies, lynx, and wolverines), to loss of backcountry ski terrain, to the strain it could put on a small community already struggling with housing and labor shortages and inadequate infrastructure. Not to mention the gridlocked traffic that has become one of the biggest pinch points for skiers to get to and from the mountain.”
No. 3: How Jackson Hole’s Most Famous Run Became Home to Skiing’s Rowdiest Competition
To put it bluntly, skiers are obsessed with Jackson Hole’s Corbet’s Couloir. Skiers who’ve already skied it, those who want to ski it, and even those who wouldn’t go near it with a 10-foot—make that a 20-foot—pole are all equally fascinated by the inbounds extreme run known for its 30-foot mandatory air entrance and 40-degree pitch below. This story goes behind the scenes at the famous contest that takes place in the couloir every February, Kings and Queens of Corbet’s.
“Named for Jackson Hole’s late ambassador Doug Coombs, the unofficial King of Corbet’s, the event is a combination of a big mountain and slopestyle comp with one simple conceit. Whoever throws the best tricks off the 30-foot cliff at the head of the limestone-lined couloir, and a few other jumps on the 40-degree slope below wins. Each run lasts no more than 30 seconds, and the degree of risk and difficulty is stunningly easy to understand at a glance. That’s not to say they are easy to execute, however.”
No. 2: Can You Name These Ski Towns Based Solely on Their Stats?
Ah, ski towns. Always a popular—and hotly contested—topic among skiers. In this story, we challenged readers to guess the ski town based only on an image and stats such as population, median home price, and average income.
“We spend a good chunk of time debating where to sip the best après lager, dig into the tastiest cheeseburger, and jam out to amazing live music (when that is a thing again). Like most of you, we rarely ever agree.
So in the spirit of compromise, we came together on a list of 5 Great North American Ski Towns. But there’s a twist. You have to guess what they are. We provide a photo of nearest skiing, town demographics, and a pull-quote from the linked ski-town travel guide.”
No. 1: Here’s Your 10-Run Bucket List for Arapahoe Basin, Whistler Blackcomb, Mad River Glen, and More
When it comes to resort skiing, we skiers are a curious bunch. We want to know both the classic, must-ski trails that have made the resort the legendary places they are, and the off-the-beaten-path gems that no one knows about, but are just as integral to making the resorts those legendary places.
This story falls into the category of the latter, with new “bucket list” runs for skiers to seek out at 10 of the most well-known North American resorts.
“Sure, Stowe’s Goat, Crested Butte’s Rambo, Palisades Tahoe’s KT-22, and of course Corbet’s Couloir are all legit runs that should absolutely be on every skier’s bucket list. After all the press they get, we imagine that they already are.”