What do the stats mean?

Our statistics for each resort attempt to compare apples to apples.  We pour over resort maps and boil it down to 5 important stats.

Real Vertical

This is the actual maximum vertical you can ski without taking another lift, and without walking up hill.  Walking on flat-ish terrain counts as long as it’s something people skiing the resort regularly do.

A good example of this is the Roundabout trail at Heavenly.  No amount of straight-lining is going to get you through the flat section without some polling, but there is a constant stream of people doing it and the polling/walking section is very short.

This is not the same as what is reported on Mountain Vertical, which restricts it based on terms like “commonly skied” and “continuous fall-line”.  That’s a bit TOO restrictive and based on a judgement call about what those terms mean.

Ski Pods

These are the distinct areas served by individual or multiple lifts.  Resorts can double up (or more) lifts next to each other and add them to their official stats, but that doesn’t mean much when you are skiing so we don’t publish those numbers.

Typically people do a few laps in each pod and then move on.  It makes for a much more interesting experience with more variety.

Distinct Trails

These are the runs you would experience skiing.  Sometimes (*cough cough Heavenly*) resorts break runs down into “Upper”, “Middle” and “Lower” to increase their published trail count.  This is meaningless and confusing.  It’s pretty easy to pick out on a trail map.


This is the published number of acres from the resort.  It’s impossible to determine this unless you have the resort master plan documents, so we have to believe the resorts on this one.

Annual Snowfall

This is presented either as the number published by the resort, or by showing that and the number we researched as shown on our Actual vs. Claimed Snowfall page when available.