Ever wondered where all the ski resorts in North America are?
Derek Percoski has.
We got to chat with Percoski, founder of Best Maps Ever, about his intrepid quest to map every ski area in the US and Canada. As a ski instructor whose life spent on, in, and around snow, I’m always looking for the next place to get some turns. Understandably, I was pumped to see that this was not only in existence, but looked pretty dang sexy. Here’s a little taste of our conversation…
“I wanted to have them all mapped out on my wall,” Percoski told GetSkiTickets, “but couldn’t seem to find the map I was seeking.”
In a herculean effort to get rid of the guessing game, he put his aching desires to good use and conceived a beautiful child–the aptly named Best Maps Ever. As you can imagine, though, labeling every ski resort in every state and Canada is, like I said, herculean.
The first step was compiling a list. Directories and Google shed some light on the quest, but in the belly of the Goog were not just ski areas, but also Joe from Vermont’s little rope-tow that he made out of a lawn mower engine in his backyard. While I would love to see a map of all the single rope-tows in peoples’ backyards (primarily in Vermont), something tells me they wouldn’t appreciate the added company. Who knows, maybe Vail Resorts will run out of resorts to buy and start buying up the backwoods backyard bandits.
After fishing through the hundreds of ski areas that showed up to the party, Percoski had to determine what exactly constituted a ski area.
“It was decided that anywhere with at least one lift of any kind would be included on the map–so not heli-ski outfitsof Nordic ski areas.”
What?! But Rope-tow Joe has a lift! Well, private tows for personal use got the boot. Sorry, Joe, but not all rope-tows are out! In the Midwest and Northeast there are some in small town parks, a few that are even free to use. Yes, these were put on the map.
And as for those few ski areas that require either a membership or property ownership to ski? They’re on there too, but with translucent coloring and italicized names to make sure we’re not confused.
Then, once the list of over 500 ski areas in the US alone was compiled, the maps finally came together.
“After a few weeks of work I had uncovered 500 operational ski areas in the United States and plotted each one of them on Google maps,” Percoski explained. Then he took the map one step further.
To give viewers the option for a quick and easy one-stop-shop glance, he sized the icons on the map relative to the size of the ski area. So Whistler, Park City/Canyons, Big Sky, and Vail all block out the map like a solar eclipse?
“Converting the size factor to the actual icon size was tricky since the largest ski resorts are over 1000 times larger than the smallest ones,” Percoski made sure to explain. “I determined the largest and smallest icons I was willing to include in the design then distributed all the resort icons across that array.”
Thank the Lord–a fair map has been created, and it’s sick.
In fact, we love it so much that we want to hook you up.
We did a little work in the background to get you, GetSkiTickets users, a promo code to get 10% off over at their online store.
Step 1) Go to the site
Step 2) Get a dang map in that cart
Step 3) Use the promo code below
Step 4) Go ski (or board)
Use at www.bestmapsever.com
Like I said at the beginning, I’m pumped about these maps.
I have a couple in the mail already because A) my walls are bare and B) I feel lost most of the time, and C) I want to know where the heck these places are without clawing at the Internet like a crazy person. A map like this helps me orientate myself in this wide world of ski areas, and like Derek said, “Cartography gives us a new perspective on the environment we live in.” Jump in folks.