YOU GUYS SPEAK LOUDLY…

Joe Stevens just submitted his annual "Snowies" column. This was his sixth annual installment of the "awards" or verbal accolades for the region’s ski areas. You can see Joe’s comments by clicking on the link at the bottom of this story. With the posting of his column Joe signs off for the season. Joseph – I appreciate you and your input on the website. More importantly I appreciate your friendship and your unending support and promotion of SkiSoutheast.com.

I don’t want to steal Joe’s thunder whatsoever, but I think this will be my last "Just Saying" column for at least this season. I’m all over the place right now as per what the future of SkiSoutheast.com and SkiNorthCarolina.com is so just in case this is my last column period…I want to post my own set of accolades and awards of which some may surprise many of our readers.

Instead of putting up some silly polls or survey, I simply researced our Urchin Stats package. Urchin is owned by Google and provides a wealth of information. Based on this information we have compiled a list of awards to share with you guys. We are only revealing the top EIGHT resorts (top half) in each category.

There’s a lot to cover so let’s get right to it. We’ll call this "Your Choice Awards" until I think of a better name.

The first "award" as voted on by our readers is (drum roll please)…

YOUR FAVORITE SKI RESORT IN THE SOUTHEAST AND MID ATLANTIC

1. Snowshoe Mountain
2. Sugar Mountain
3. Appalachian Ski Mountain
4. Beech Mountain Resort
5. Cataloochee Ski Area
6. Ober Gatlinburg
7. Wisp Resort
8. Winterplace Resort

* "Voting" was determined simply by the pages MOST often requested and visited on the site. Yes, Sugar was the second most requested and visited ski area webpage on our network.

YOUR FAVORITE CONTENT PAGES / DEPARTMENTS OF THE WEBSITE

1. Photos of the Day
2. FirsTrax Daily Column
3. Events
4. Messageboard
5. Weather
6. Just Saying…
7. SkiSoutheast Announcements
8. Joe Knows Snow

* Interestingly enough, "EVENTS" have been beating my "Mike’s Just Saying" Column. Boy, that’s humbling! Cool to see that our announcements get a lot of looks, as does Joe Stevens’ "Joe Knows Snow" column.

YOUR FAVORITE SKI REPORTING WEBSITE FOCUSED ON THE REGION

1. SkiSoutheast.com
2. SkiNorthCarolina.com
3. DCSki.com
4. SlopeQuest.com
5. MidAtlanticSkiResorts.com
6. GoSkiNC.com
7. WestVirginiaSki.com
8. SoutheastSki.com

* To receive ranking in this category a website had to receive more than 300 visitors in each month of the ski season. Only the top three websites listed received tens of thousands of visitors monthly.

YOUR FAVORITE SKI RESORT WEBSITE

1. MassResort.com (Massanutten’s Website)
2. SnowshoeMtn.com
3. WintergreenResort.com
4. OberGatlinburg.com
5. SkiSugar.com
6. SkiBeech.com
7. WispResort.com
8. Winterplace.com
9. AppSkiMtn.com
10. Cataloochee.com

* Based on the traffic that each resort website receives, not the traffic that we send those resorts.

THE BEST WEBSITE DESIGN

1. SnowshoeMtn.com
2. AppSkiMtn.com
3. WintergreenResort.com
4. WispResort.com
5. MassResort.com
6. Cataloochee.com

* Canaan Valley would have made our top three if their snow reports were readable by most browsers. They pretty much require visitors to download their snow report PDF to view it in a readable fashion.

WORST WEBSITE DESIGN

1. SkiWolfRidgeNC.com
2. BryceResort.com (Okay design, but it has been sending viruses to guest ALL winter.)
3. SkiSapphire.com

BEST JOB OF SNOW REPORTING (DAILY UPDATES, CONTENT WRITING, ETC)

1. SnowshoeMtn.com
2. Cataloochee.com
3. WintergreenResort.com
4. SkiWolfRidgeNC.com
5. SkiSugar.com

* This ranking was based SOLELY on the resort’s daily efforts to post some news, what’s happening and a bit of daily insight to their own website. It should be noted that NONE of the other 11 resorts posted ANY DAILY news or updates. Honorable mention in this category would go to AppSkiMtn.com which posted at least periodical news once a week or so.

BEST JOB OF SNOW REPORTING (Based on accurately reporting conditions, natural snows, etc)

1. SnowshoeMtn.com
2. AppSkiMtn.com
2. Cataloochee.com
2. MassResort.com
2. OberGatlinburg.com
2. WinterGreenResort.com

* Notice that Snowshoe ranks first in this category and five others are tied for second. Hands down Snowshoe does a great job of accurately assessing and reporting through their daily news exactly what guests should expect. During this past season they have reported what to expect after some torrential downpours, icy spots on some hills, moguls and of course the good stuff. As an official National Weather Service location they accurately reported natural snowfalls each and every time.

These resorts listed were also the ONLY resorts to "speak with their potential guests" as to updating a flucuating base depth reporting, etc.

WORST JOB OF SNOW REPORTING

1. TheHomestead.com (No Snow Report at All.)
2. SkiSapphire.com (Only updated the site once every couple of weeks.)
3. CannaanResort.com (Nice report, but tough to read and download. Plus base never changed all season.)
4. TimberlineResort.com (Like the functionality, but didn’t update it everyday.)
5. BryceResort.com (Rarely changed anything all season. Snow melts…)
6. SkiWolfRidgeNC.com (Good daily updates, way off on natural snowfalls.)

TALKING THIN COVERAGE

1. SnowshoeMtn.com
2. SkiSugarMtn.com

In closing, ONLY TWO of the ski areas has talked about bare spots or thin coverage this entire season. Kudos to them. Even this morning Laura Parquette writes, "A thin spot or two has developed, but nothing that will impede great skiing and riding." Gunther’s team at Sugar wrote, "18-65" with thin areas. Though we lost a few trails including the terrain park over the weekend, open slopes especially the main slopes like Big Birch, Upper and Lower Flying Mile and Whoopdedoo have solid snow coverage. No doubt it’s Spring-like out there. A comfortable and inviting time to learn to ski/snowboard and enjoy the mountain all to yourself!"

This does it for me for the 2010-2011 Ski and Snowboarding season. I may post a wrap up of sorts and Kenny will continue to update you guys on the closing day conditions, etc. If you have any comments to share, please do at [email protected]  or [email protected]  

Thanks again for a great season of visitation. We hope we’ve kept you entertained to some degree. Thanks for making us a daily stop on the web.

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of SkiSoutheast.com, SkiNC.com and ResortCams.com. Since September 1996 he has posted more than 13,000 posts, articles, photos and videos promoting all of the ski areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.Mike is the father of four daughters, is an avid skier and enjoys golf, tennis, kayaking and hiking in the mountains. Winter snowsports and Summer boating on Watauga Lake are among his favorite pastimes.