WTSS 2014 lifts lid on piste exaggeration

10th September 2013, by Abi Butcher

Verbier, and the 4 Valleys, is one of the biggest culprits — overstated by 150%

Verbier, and the 4 Valleys, is one of the biggest culprits — overstated by 150%

Where to Ski and Snowboard 2014 has lifted the lid on a big ski resort secret: the gross exaggeration of piste lengths.

In the new edition of Where to Ski and Snowboard, released last Monday, editors Chris Gill and Dave Watts reveal that many well-known winter destinations have been exaggerating the extent of their pistes by substantial amounts – over 150% in some cases.

Editor Gill and Editor Watts drew heavily on the work of Christoph Schrahe, a German writer and consultant who applied digital tools to measure the pistes of the world’s 50 biggest ski areas.

Some resorts claimed to have more than double the length of pistes that Mr Schrahe measured — including Vars, Isola 2000, the 4 Valleys (Verbier) and Les Sybelles. Some of the big areas overstating their piste total by more than 50% include Portes du Soleil, the Milky Way and Grand Massif.

“Thoughout the time we have been producing this book, we’ve had trouble accepting the claims of certain resorts,” said Editor Gill. “Among those that come to mind are Courmayeur and Monterosa in Italy, Les Deux-Alpes in southern France and the 4 Valleys in Switzerland, in which Verbier is the senior partner.”

Verbier is now re-measuring everything and preparing a report, said Editor Watts: “We wait with bated breath to hear more. We have made attempts to find out how various resorts arrive at figures and seem to overstate their piste extents.”

Where to Ski and Snowboard 2014 obtained some interesting responses — that skiers do not even ski arcs but zig-zag across pistes from one side to the other, or that where a run was divided by a rock or trees it was in fact two runs and should be measured twice.

Some resorts, however, have claimed their true total — with Austria shining brightly as the saints. Ski resorts including Kitzbühel, Lech-Zürs, St Anton-Stuben and Saalbach were almost spot-on.

Christoph Schrahe’s report is available (in English or German) from the author at this email address for 99 euro.

Have you bought your copy of Where to Ski and Snowboard 2014 yet? To find out more, click here.

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