More resorts publish reliable piste figures

16th December 2016, by Chris Gill

Kitzbühel has long published correct piste figures, and was one of the first to become independently certified

Kitzbühel has long published correct piste figures, and was one of the first to become independently certified

More resorts, particularly in Austria, are adopting meaningful methods of measuring their runs. It’s over a year since we last reported on the serious matter of resorts’ exaggerated size claims, and it’s good to find there is some progress.

The story so far:

Since the start of Where to Ski and Snowboard 22 years ago, we’ve expressed doubts about the claimed extent of the pistes in some major Alpine resorts, and more recently we’ve challenged some of the figures.

In 2010, we said publicly that the piste total for Monterosa Ski in Italy was double the real figure. Soon afterwards, the lift company quietly halved its detailed piste length figures (and now seems to avoid quoting the total).

In 2013, German writer and consultant Christoph Schrahe started publishing the results of his own measurements of pistes, using digital techniques. He confirmed that most resorts overstated the extent of their pistes, often by surprising amounts (though few by as much as Monterosa).

In September 2013 we brought these two strands together in a feature article which triggered media attention abroad as well as in the UK. And in 2015 Schrahe launched a scheme offering independent verification of resorts’ extent claims.

Schrahe quickly signed up Kitzbühel and Saalbach and now, a year on, has added various other Austrian resorts plus one or two in other countries. The big one is Ski Amade, which is a huge regional lift pass area in eastern Austria, covering 20 individual ski areas – notably Badgastein and Schladming.

Schrahe is even beginning to make progress in North America, where the dense networks of runs mean that a resort that is modest in overall size by Alpine standards may have an impressive extent of pistes. North American resorts almost always quote an area figure, when they could be quoting surprising length figures that would impress Europeans.

So it’s slow progress, but the movement is in the right direction – in Austria, at least.



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