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How do you plan a ski vacation? If you have a lot of flexibility, you can consider the time of year, snowfall totals to-date, or even where it’s snowing right now. If your holiday dates are fixed, planning is about your choice of terrain, best guess about what part of the country might have good snow during that time frame, and flight options from your hometown airport.
When Christopher Steiner was a staff writer at Forbes magazine he faced that very set of questions. He assembled a spreadsheet to rank ski resorts, and it grew into a massive database that he built into the website ZRankings. Today, ZRankings uses all kinds of data when recommending where to ski, from historical snowpacks, snowfall standard deviations, terrain aspects, and base and mid elevations.
Weather forecasts are reliable only about ten days out. To book a ski vacation outside of that window means rolling the dice on snow conditions. Each resort profile on ZRankings outlines your powder odds: the best dates for snow quality, compared with other North American resorts. It gives you beta on the last ten days of snowfall and a near-future powder forecast. The resort profiles also feature core strengths and best attributes, full descriptions, and vacation deals. Perhaps the coolest feature is Powder Fares: a real-time report on the cheapest air fares to where the it’s snowing right now.
So, what happens if you need to book your ski vacation more than ten days out? Here are some of Steiner’s tried and true geographic booking hacks:
To get a pretty good idea of where to go and when, spend some time looking through the ZRankings resort profiles and their “best” lists. But, just in case you are still on the fence, here are a few dependable resort tips:
If you like data to back up your decisions, ZRankings is the natural place to start your ski vacation booking. It’s tough to measure the immeasurable, but they do a pretty darn good job.
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