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Forum: Is Bigger Better?

Fall Line
posted: 09/18/2000

Listen up, little big man: I rebuff this puny point of yours with one compact sentence. In skiing, as in life, bigger is better.

I love a big, Teddy Roosevelt-sized ski resort. My motto: a different peak every day and a new restaurant every night. My goal while on vacation: never ski the same run twice.

America is founded on the concept of manifest destiny; so too our ski resorts should span entire ranges and cover whole valleys from peak to shining peak. We are a nation that demands elbow room. Why then should we accept ski resorts that constrain our genetic wanderlust? With apologies to Cole Porter, don't snow-fence me in.

Answer me this: Why would you want to limit yourself to a handful of lifts when you can grab a whole gondola load? Why settle for two or three good runs when you can have bowls full? Why would you settle for one rustic base area when you can pick and choose from a multitude, each with its own charm and character?

You like the terrain at little resorts? You can find the same quirky qualities at big resorts, only more of them. Hell, you can put a pair of Mad Rivers into Vail's Back Bowls and still have room left over for Butternut Basin. Steamboat is a monster of a mountain, owned by a bona fide mega-company. But ski over to Storm Peak and you'll be waist deep in soul and up to your eyeballs in character. The terrain is thrilling, and there are acres of it. Get tired? Stop at Four Points Hut. It's a lodge that's as thick with charm as the Basebox at Mad River, and it's just one of the half-dozen or so day lodges on the mountain.

Big resorts aren't inherently impersonal or corporately evil. They're just big. They're huge smorgasbords of snow and terrain and lifts and lodges and every amenity known to man. They're like all-you-can-eat buffets: You may dislike some dishes on the table, but you'll always find a bottomless portion of something you love. That's why we keep going back.

Small mountains are cute, like dainty appetizers, but they'll never satisfy our appetites. Face it. We're products of our culture. We like our skiing on a grand scale, in big portions. Serve it up, McSkiing, Inc., and don't forget to supersize it.

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