How big is a ski resort area?

By | Category: Travel Advice & Contacts
Christope Schrahe

Christope Schrahe

Just about Travel, probably like every other publication, gets press release after press release at this time of the year from ski resorts emphasising how much bigger they are than last year or their rivals?

But what does that mean?

Two years ago one German travel writer, Christoph Schrahe, started questioning whether the skiing area that was claimed by some of the resorts was accurate. It turned out that his figures, in some cases, varied quite dramatically from those claimed. Why?

Because some measure the space available for skiing by the traditional method of length multiplied by width. But some resorts claim that you cannot ski in a straight line and that there are turns. Those turns must be added into the total as well so a one kilometre length could turn out to be 1.2 kilometres long by the time the turns are added up. Given that some resorts have more than a few runs and you can see how big the difference could be.

the seal of approval, so far adopted by only a few resorts

the seal of approval, so far adopted by only a few resorts

Is this deceiving those of us who are skiers? I am not sure. In one way they are because the area is smaller than claimed but, on the other hand, it is the length of the ski run that matters because that is what people use.

Christoph Schrahe has just published a list of the top 100 ski areas worldwide – originally in 2013 there were just 50 which is available for €99 but unfortuantely it is only in German. Schrahe now awards a seal of approval which means that the area available for skiing has been calculated using the the recommendations of FIANET and OITAF.

For a more detailed consideration of this thorny question, I suggest you read a blog by Chris Gill on the Where to Ski and Snowboard website is where some of the information in this story has come from. At the end of his story he gives the claimed figures for seven top ski areas in Europe and gives the percentage by which there is a difference depending on how you calculate the area. In one case the difference is over 40%.

You pays your money and takes your choice!

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