What's a mountain's true vertical?

Topics of a general nature regarding snowsports, which don't easily fit into one of our other Liftlines categories. This is also the place to post Letters to the Editor.

What's a mountain's true vertical?

Postby Admin » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:59 am

An interesting web project is trying to find that out:
http://www.firsttracksonline.com/News/2 ... -Vertical/
Image

Image
User avatar
Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 9987
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2004 9:32 am
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: What's a mountain's true vertical?

Postby Marc_C » Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:44 pm

Well that's gonna create some heartburn in more than a few marketing departments!
-marc
User avatar
Marc_C
 
Posts: 3181
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:32 am
Location: A Sandy place south of a Great Lake

Re: What's a mountain's true vertical?

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:38 am

A little bit of overcomplication here:
additional vertical drop created by terrain accessible solely by hiking

Agree, should not be included in "brochure quotes." Telluride for example should say, "We have an additional 580 vertical feet of controlled terrain above the lifts."
without taking a lift ride in between

There's already a definition here, "continuous vertical." Big Sky ought to say, "We have 4,346 vertical feet of which 3,619 are continuous," but we know that will never happen. No surprise by this definition Deer Valley falls from 3,005 to 1,910 vertical. Given a one number choice (and trust me this is what the print media insists upon) I would reluctantly go with the full lift served.
long catwalk or traverse connecting the two.

I'm not buying this one. It's a highly subjective definition. For example, the author removed the slightly lower base of Baby Thunder below the main Gad Valley base at Snowbird even though it's a fairly straightforward ski route. I have no idea why he took 122 feet off Sun Valley, which is about as continuous a vertical mountain as it gets.

The author also was in error about Kicking Horse. It's 4,133 vertical from the top of the Stairway to Heaven lift to the base of the mountain, and that skiing is continuous by anyone's definition.

This exercise does illustrate that vertical is not that great a single indicator of ski area quality. Some areas' vertical "is more equal than others," Jackson Hole for example (right, Patrick? :stir: ).
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 9870
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: What's a mountain's true vertical?

Postby Mike Bernstein » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:28 am

Good points, Tony. They also, unfairly IMHO, ding Killington. Now I love to rag on K-Mart as much as the next guy, but you can in fact enjoy the full 3000' vertical w/o resorting to endless traverses or skating. There is some enjoyable cruising between the base of Needles Eye and the last steep pitch above the gondola base, and I don't understand why they have subjectively chosen not to include that. Certainly, K-Mart as a whole doesn't ski like a 3000' vert mountain, but what they do have is relatively continuous and modestly enjoyable in that department.
Mike Bernstein
 
Posts: 262
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2005 5:23 pm
Location: The City of Studios

Re: What's a mountain's true vertical?

Postby Marc_C » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:49 am

Tony Crocker wrote:
without taking a lift ride in between

There's already a definition here, "continuous vertical." Big Sky ought to say, "We have 4,346 vertical feet of which 3,619 are continuous," but we know that will never happen. No surprise by this definition Deer Valley falls from 3,005 to 1,910 vertical. Given a one number choice (and trust me this is what the print media insists upon) I would reluctantly go with the full lift served.

"Continuous vertical" should be whatever you can ski in a single run, even if it takes multiple lifts to get to the top of the continuous bit. If you use the metric of needing to take more than one lift to artificially reduce the vertical, you leave out a lot of the big mountains - eg: Whistler and Blackcomb, Big Sky, et al.
-marc
User avatar
Marc_C
 
Posts: 3181
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:32 am
Location: A Sandy place south of a Great Lake

Re: What's a mountain's true vertical?

Postby Geoff » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:25 pm

Marc_C wrote:
Tony Crocker wrote:
without taking a lift ride in between

There's already a definition here, "continuous vertical." Big Sky ought to say, "We have 4,346 vertical feet of which 3,619 are continuous," but we know that will never happen. No surprise by this definition Deer Valley falls from 3,005 to 1,910 vertical. Given a one number choice (and trust me this is what the print media insists upon) I would reluctantly go with the full lift served.

"Continuous vertical" should be whatever you can ski in a single run, even if it takes multiple lifts to get to the top of the continuous bit. If you use the metric of needing to take more than one lift to artificially reduce the vertical, you leave out a lot of the big mountains - eg: Whistler and Blackcomb, Big Sky, et al.



Yeah, and, like, pretty much anywhere large in Europe.
User avatar
Geoff
 
Posts: 764
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 1:38 pm
Location: Killington, VT

Re: What's a mountain's true vertical?

Postby Patrick » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:33 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:This exercise does illustrate that vertical is not that great a single indicator of ski area quality. Some areas' vertical "is more equal than others," Jackson Hole for example (right, Patrick? :stir: ).

And acres are much better?

Blue Mountain Ontario = 250 acres (770 ft vert).

Versus...

Jay Peak VT = 385 acres with (2,150ft).
Sutton QC = 174 acres (1,500ft).
:stir:
Ski Mad World
A blog of MadPat's World: A History of Skiing Geography
http://madpatski.wordpress.com
User avatar
Patrick
 
Posts: 4730
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:19 am
Location: The Great Trip 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Re: What's a mountain's true vertical?

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:01 pm

MarcC wrote:"Continuous vertical" should be whatever you can ski in a single run

That is exactly the definition I had in mind. At Big Sky you have to ride the Andesite lift after skiing the 3,619 from Lone Peak in order to ski to the separate and lower Thunder Wolf base area.

With regard to Patrick's comments:
I suspect Blue Mountain is flatter than a mainstream 4-1 lift ratio.
Jay Peak's 385 acres is strictly trails. Counting lift accessible glades pushes it to at least 1,000.
Sutton, while smaller than Jay, I suspect has similar topography within boundaries.

With regard to vertical, Jay has 2,150 and Alta only 2,000. Over to you, Patrick. :snowball fight:
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 9870
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: What's a mountain's true vertical?

Postby Patrick » Mon Oct 25, 2010 9:25 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
MarcC wrote:"Continuous vertical" should be whatever you can ski in a single run

That is exactly the definition I had in mind.

Agree here.

Tony Crocker wrote:With regard to Patrick's comments:
I suspect Blue Mountain is flatter than a mainstream 4-1 lift ratio.
Jay Peak's 385 acres is strictly trails. Counting lift accessible glades pushes it to at least 1,000.
Sutton, while smaller than Jay, I suspect has similar topography within boundaries.

With regard to vertical, Jay has 2,150 and Alta only 2,000. Over to you, Patrick. :snowball fight:


Blue Mountain. I've driven past next to it for the second time this Summer. I couldn't say if it's flatter than a 4-1 ratio, but it's a pretty large area (ie. continuous along a ridge / Niagara Escarpment) like MSS, but probably even larger.

Jay at a 1,000? Website says this:

The Mountain
Peaks: 2
Miles of skiable terrain: 50+
Skiable Acreage: 385+
Acres for off-piste skiing: 100+
Base Elevation: 1,815 feet
Vertical: 2,153 feet
Exposure: Northeast


Alta and Jay are approximately the same, so what is your point? Is it a coincides that Admin top two ski days lifetime would possibly be these two? :stir:

I've explain to you a few times why I prefer vertical as a measure over acres. None of them are perfect, but you generally have a clue how high the mountain is. You can have a mountain with the acreage and vertical and they could be total opposite in term of terrain/challenge. I like vertical and it's my criteria. I don't force any to agree with me, I just like it. That being said, I prefer MSA over Le Massif and Tremblant even if it's vertical is last between these 3 Quebec Areas. If you enlarged this logic to the east, you'll find Kmart behing places like Stowe, Loaf, WF, MRG and maybe a few others before I get to Kmart.
Ski Mad World
A blog of MadPat's World: A History of Skiing Geography
http://madpatski.wordpress.com
User avatar
Patrick
 
Posts: 4730
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:19 am
Location: The Great Trip 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Re: What's a mountain's true vertical?

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:17 am

The Mountain
Peaks: 2
Miles of skiable terrain: 50+
Skiable Acreage: 385+
Acres for off-piste skiing: 100+
Base Elevation: 1,815 feet
Vertical: 2,153 feet
Exposure: Northeast

JSpin measured Stowe's acreage within boundaries is some detail as being about 2,500 acres. With 485 acres of trails that's about 2,000 in the trees. Even this wimpy western wide-spaced tree skier is willing to credit Stowe with 1,000 acres of tree skiing. So Eastern expert and advocate Patrick is going to say with a straight face that Jay has only 100 acres of tree skiing???? :rotfl:

My point is that acreage is a reasonable measure if:
1) it's calculated consistently, and
2) adjusted for being steeper or flatter than the mainstream for ski areas.
These adjustments are not rocket science, and you could probably put 10 of us on FTO (Patrick included) together for couple of days and come up a reasonable consensus for the top 100-150 ski areas in North America.

Vertical is just as flawed as acreage for steepness and completely ignores breadth of terrain, thus massively overstating narrow areas like Whiteface or Aspen Highlands.

Acreage (adjusted or not) is a measure of quantity not quality. Killington, even with a downward adjustment for steepness, is probably the largest area in the East. I haven't seen Sugarloaf, so it's possible the new terrain there might push it ahead. That doesn't mean either of them are "better" than Stowe, WF, MRG, etc.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 9870
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: What's a mountain's true vertical?

Postby icelanticskier » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:20 pm

i find it interesting that the loaf didn't get credit for the whole 2820 vert. it is all down with no traversing. the bottom is fairly flat, but you can make turns.

rog
icelanticskier
 
Posts: 1323
Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:22 pm
Location: cowhampshire

Re: What's a mountain's true vertical?

Postby Marc_C » Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:40 pm

icelanticskier wrote:i find it interesting that the loaf didn't get credit for the whole 2820 vert.

I didn't check, but technically, if you're splitting semantic hairs, a tiny hike is required to reach the top-most skiable point. Also, is the base of West Mtn lift below the main base? 'Cause from there you can't ski back to the main base, so I can see how someone might eliminate that little bit of vert.
-marc
User avatar
Marc_C
 
Posts: 3181
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:32 am
Location: A Sandy place south of a Great Lake

Re: What's a mountain's true vertical?

Postby Patrick » Wed Oct 27, 2010 2:08 pm

Marc_C wrote:
icelanticskier wrote:i find it interesting that the loaf didn't get credit for the whole 2820 vert.

I didn't check, but technically, if you're splitting semantic hairs, a tiny hike is required to reach the top-most skiable point. Also, is the base of West Mtn lift below the main base? 'Cause from there you can't ski back to the main base, so I can see how someone might eliminate that little bit of vert.


There is a chairlift below the main base, no?
Ski Mad World
A blog of MadPat's World: A History of Skiing Geography
http://madpatski.wordpress.com
User avatar
Patrick
 
Posts: 4730
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:19 am
Location: The Great Trip 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Re: What's a mountain's true vertical?

Postby Marc_C » Wed Oct 27, 2010 3:06 pm

Patrick wrote:
Marc_C wrote:
icelanticskier wrote:i find it interesting that the loaf didn't get credit for the whole 2820 vert.

I didn't check, but technically, if you're splitting semantic hairs, a tiny hike is required to reach the top-most skiable point. Also, is the base of West Mtn lift below the main base? 'Cause from there you can't ski back to the main base, so I can see how someone might eliminate that little bit of vert.


There is a chairlift below the main base, no?

Yep! Forgot all about that one, as it basically services condos and the Sugarloaf Inn.
-marc
User avatar
Marc_C
 
Posts: 3181
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:32 am
Location: A Sandy place south of a Great Lake

Re: What's a mountain's true vertical?

Postby Patrick » Wed Oct 27, 2010 3:45 pm

Marc_C wrote:Yep! Forgot all about that one, as it basically services condos and the Sugarloaf Inn.

I was pretty sure there was (never took it or seen it running, mid you I've always skied Sugarloaf midweek or Spring), so the actual vertical is probably pretty close to the real vert in Sugarloaf case.

Come to think of it, there are very few ski areas I've skied where the actual vertical would be different from the real one in term of reality (excluding Europe and Big Sky)...of course some areas fudge or have fudged their numbers in the part. As Kmart top to bottom, it can be done, but it's much flatter than the Whiteface Toll Road IMO. :stir:
Ski Mad World
A blog of MadPat's World: A History of Skiing Geography
http://madpatski.wordpress.com
User avatar
Patrick
 
Posts: 4730
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 6:19 am
Location: The Great Trip 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Next

Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests


All content herein copyright © 1999-2017 First Tracks!! Online Media

Forums Terms & Conditions of Use