Reviewing the ‘Trails’

So Friday I wrote about reviewing chicken tenders. Wondering how I’ll be reviewing ski areas?

WikiHow doesn’t seem to have a how-to on writing effective reviews about ski areas that so perhaps once I’m done my adventure I’ll have to write one up for them. But in my mind, I do have this every growing list of what I’ll be looking for:

  • Location – Yes, I know mountainous areas can often be remote and therefore they sometimes feel like they’re in the middle of nowhere. But sometimes you just find a jackpot of a ski town in the middle of nowhere (and then you don’t want to leave). Or sometimes the location is just awesomely convenient in general and really well marked. And then there’s the occasional ski area that you’ll only find if you’re a local who knows the secret back road entrance.
  •  Parking – The ski area I consider my “home” area (I’ll review it later) and I didn’t start off on the greatest of terms (even though we’re on the best of terms now). I went on a warm March day and was directed to park at the back of a dirt parking lot. When I went to leave at the end of the day, I had quite literally sunk a good 4 inches into mud and then proceeded to spend the next 30 minutes trying to get out of the various mud holes and ruts caused by larger and more capable vehicles (I was probably only 500 feet away from pavement). I remember calling a friend on the way home and swearing I would never go back, and that it was out the season pass running – all cause of the parking lot. Well, various things did change my mind eventually (like figuring out where to park instead even if it did mean a walk), but parking can be huge!
  •  Ticket Counter/Guest Services – So I’m not saying that if you work in hospitality, tourism, or any of those related fields you have to be happy happy, but please be helpful and courteous. I’ve run into a lot of great people throughout my experiences with snowboarding, and I’ll be sure to call out the new people I meet as I go through this adventure!
  •  Lodge(s) – One of the ski areas I’ll review this season is pretty awesome overall (I don’t remember their chicken tenders though, so I’ll need to revisit that), but frankly – their lodge (well, the main one) is pretty horrible. What makes it so terrible? The layout, lack of storage, the tables don’t really “promote” sharing or sitting with each other. In fact the main lodge is so aggravating, I have friends that go as dressed as possible to get on the lift and bring their bags, just so they can head to another lodge on the mountain. Kind of nuts. Now on the flip side, one of my favorite mountains has a rather unique lodge and no matter how busy it gets, there’s always some corner to stash my stuff, some table with strangers to sit at, and if all else fails –  they left enough open space on the floor you could throw a party. There’s actually a ton of factors that go into lodges now I think about it. Hmm…
  • Lifts – It’s funny how often you overlook the important of lifts at a ski resort. You only truly notice them if the lines are long, if they’re slow, or other bad stuff like that. I’ll be on the lookout for more minute details like is someone orchestrating the line? (Ski Areas: If you don’t have someone organizing the lifts with more than 2 seats, do it! It will shorten your lines and make for happier customers!) How’s the setup for skiers and boarders alike? Just fun stuff like that.

Ok… so the obvious and probably the reason we’re all here.

  • Trails – It doesn’t matter if you’re some Olympic snowboarder or some 10 year old kid learning how to ski – the quality of trails affects everyone. So what am I looking for? Well, here in New England, we tend to be ice riders unlike our friends out West thanks to our awesome climate, so I forgive the hard working snow makers of the 54 ski resorts for not giving me powder. But like the roads getting to your awesome ski area, are your trails marked? Are they designed just for skiers, or can snowboarders join in on the fun easily? Do the trails feel crowded even with just a few people? It’s all the little things that add up, and that’s what I’m looking for!

I’m sure I’ll refine the list more between now and December, but I guess this is a start!

What else matters to you when you head to a ski area? Leave a comment!

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About Jillian Bejtlich

Hey! I'm Jillian Bejtlich. I’m a lifelong New Englander with a serious love of the outdoors, adventure, and a pretty serious inability to sit still. I’m plagued by the travel bug, and it seems I’ll try any relatively sane and safe thing once. My big goal in life: Get people outside!