Resort Top 10 Lists & Top 10 Reasons to Hit the Slopes vs. the Beach for Spring Break

Data from site’s 3.4 million monthly unique visitors helps calculate Mammoth, Steamboat, Telluride and Winter Park as among the top destinations for families and college students

ORINDA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–OnTheSnow.com, the most visited snow sports site in the world, today released the 2011 Spring Break Resort Top 10 lists highlighting the best spring break ski and snowboard destinations in North America for families and college students. Analyzing page views and reviews from the site’s 3.4 million monthly unique visitors along with other data, the report ranked the top U.S. and Canadian resorts for families and college students looking to hit the slopes in March and April. Resorts in the U.S. west swept the Top 10 lists in both categories with spots in Colorado, California and Utah earning top nods, although Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia and Tremblant in Quebec also made the top 25.

“For years, OnTheSnow has collected an unmatched amount of information about destination resorts—snowfall totals, popularity on the website, snow base depths, and thousands and thousands of reviews,” said Chad Dyer, Global Managing Director of Mountain News Corporation, which operates OnTheSnow. “We decided to put that information to work. These Top 10 lists combine millions of data points to answer that quintessential American question: where should we go for spring break? Well, now we know. And because we’re passionate about snow sports, we also had some fun developing the Top 10 reasons why vacationers should play on the snow versus on the beach this year.”

To rank each resort’s spring break potential, the OnTheSnow team drew from the site’s wealth of traffic information, user reviews, and years of snowfall data reported from the resorts. Using a sophisticated algorithm that scored the resorts on a variety of factors such as resort page views, average spring snowfall, current snow base depth and users’ ratings of family-friendliness and nightlife, OnTheSnow’s analytics team identified the top resorts with great snow conditions and the right mix of off-slope activities for skiers and snowboarders over spring break. For college students, the team emphasized user reviews of downhill terrain and the nightlife, while users’ opinions of resorts’ suitability for families played a greater role in choosing the best mountains for parents and kids traveling together.

“Our goal was to distill all the data we generate as the world’s most visited snow sports site into something that people could easily use to make their travel decisions,” said Dyer. “The rankings should help minimize the legwork normally associated with finding the perfect spring break destination for skiing and riding.”

The Top 10 spring break resorts for families and college students (listed alphabetically):

For Families         For College Students
Breckenridge         Breckenridge
Deer Valley         Heavenly
Heavenly         Jackson Hole
Keystone         Keystone
Mammoth Mountain         Mammoth Mountain
Park City         Snowbird
Steamboat         Squaw Valley
Taos         Steamboat
Vail         Telluride
Winter Park         Vail
           

For families and students still making the choice between the mountains and the beach, the OnTheSnow team also set out to make the case for snow, identifying the Top 10 reasons to choose skiing and snowboarding over spending a week at the beach this spring:

Top 10 Reasons to Go “OnTheSnow” vs. to the Beach this Spring Break:

1. No sharks
2. High-altitude après-ski = money saved on drinks at the bar
3. Snow bunnies, hot tubs, and that sexy ski instructor who tells you, “This mountain is my office.”
4. Under seven layers of gear and a helmet, no one can tell that you didn’t shower
5. Snowboards are easier to carry than surfboards
6. No need to wax or fake tan
7. No sand in your pants or your luggage
8. Being snowed in is romantic. Being monsoon-ed in is, well, pretty terrible
9. You don’t have to see any hairy backs or Speedos
10. The beach will still be there for a summer vacation

To calculate the Top 10 lists, the OnTheSnow analytics team identified several categories for comparison and ranked all North American resorts in each of them. The following categories were assessed for each group:

For Families         For College Students
• Non-College traffic to Resort Pages         • College traffic to Resort Pages
• Family Friendliness (User ratings)         • Nightlife (User ratings)
• Average Base Depth, March and April         • Downhill Terrain (User ratings)
• Average March Snowfall, March and April         • Average Base Depth, March and April
          • Average Snowfall, March and April

To see the full rankings and to learn more about planning the perfect spring break ski trip, visit http://www.onthesnow.com.