Over the coming weeks and months we will be showing the results of the Ski Safari Awards 2010
. We have compiled a comprehensive list of all the resorts we offer and judged them on all the vital criteria. There are the obvious candidates, a few surprises and several winners that you might not expect or have even heard of. After all, that’s our job, to ski the resorts, to check out the powder and to sample the local brew, and pass on that all-important knowledge to you, our legendary customers. We have selected the top 5 resorts in each category from our extensive award rating system.
We are selecting from the 65 resorts we sell in Canada, USA, Switzerland, Japan and Chile.
I thought we should start the awards with what most of us would consider the major reason for visiting a resort, The Powder!!! So without further ado, welcome to the very first installment of the Ski Safari Awards 2010.
Best Powder Award5th Place - Mammoth Mountain, California.
Californian Ski Resorts like to boast about 300 + days of sunshine each winter, and match this with incredible snowfall stats. But one place takes this to the extreme…Mammoth Mountain.
Mammoth has the longest season of any North American Ski Resort, once opening in October and closing in July!!! Mammoth is still open with incredible conditions, so far this season they have had 547 Inches, 85 alone in April! I'm lucky enough to have sampled this Californian delight and I have to admit skiing in waist deep Powder in glorious sunshine takes some beating. You can reach Mammoth from either Lake Tahoe, LA, or Las Vegas, and for those that love the road then the Californian Ski Safari is the ultimate way to do it… HAVE A NICE DAY!
4th Place – Niseko Hokkaido, Japan.
The mere mention of Japan sends shivers down my spine, fantasies of ridiculously deep powder, endless tree runs, face shots and snorkel skiing! Japan, and Niseko in particular, has become a powder Mecca. In Japanese the name Niseko derives from the Ainu language and means "a cliff jutting over a riverbank deep in the mountains", in ski language this translates to "amazing cultural place with endless pow pow pow".
Niseko could be in the top 3 as on average it snows 2 out of 3 days and last year had 42 days where it snowed over 20 cm, but it is hard to get to and tends to stretch the budget, nevertheless, this award is about Powder, and Niseko has it…Tons of it! KONNICHIWA NISEKO!
3rd Place – Kicking Horse, Golden BC
Located in Golden, British Columbia Canada, and only a 3 hour transfer from Calgary, Kicking Horse is known in the business as the ‘Champagne Capitol of Canada'. They receive on average more than 7 meters (23 feet) of some of the lightest, driest, deepest powder snow on the planet. This combined with “The Horses” epic big mountain terrain, and you have a day to remember. Our Kicking Horse expert Rupert Hatfield rates Kicking Horse in his top 3 resorts of all time, and his favorite on a powder day. Now that's some recommendation. Every day is a “whoop whoop” day in Golden
2nd Place – Steamboat Mountain Resort, Colorado.
A 4 hour drive from Denver or 25 minutes from Hayden lies the Ranching town of Steamboat. This is the place for Champagne pow! Once the big flakes start to fall, it’s an early morning take out coffee & muffin at Gondola Joes, queuing up with the locals and cheering when the gondola starts up. Steamboat has 86% intermediate/ advanced terrain and with snow ghost trees surrounding you, you’ll hear lots of yeehas whilst skimming through the light Colorado pow!! Steamboat receives 330 + inches of the fresh stuff every season, that’s a ‘howdee’ welcome, and the best bit about it is you don’t get the Denver crowds coming up at weekend because the drive is too far. ‘YEEHAA'…
1st Place WINNER – Solitude Mountain Resort, Utah
Only a 45 minute drive from Salt Lake City or Park City, Solitude ski resort is nestled in the Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah, and is one of life's greatest secrets. Benefiting from around 500 inches of Utah's famous “Lake Effect” snow, Solitudes “Greatest Snow on Earth” is obviously second to none. Yes the resort is less than 2000 acres but it's so quiet here. Picture this, Saturday mid season yours truly and 6 buddies, untracked waist deep powder every single run. Forget Alaskan dreams, Honeycomb Canyon is where it's at. KA BOOM!
Served up next, the BEST MOUNTAIN BURGER.