ELLICOTTVILLE - Readers of SKI Magazine ranked Holiday Valley as the fifth-best resort in eastern North America in the October 2013 issue of the national publication.
The resort guide is based on a survey of 40,000 SKI Magazine readers conducted during the 2012-13 season. The magazine asks the readers what matters most to them in a resort, and then asks them to rank resorts they have visited over the past year using that criteria.
"We are especially proud of our No. 5 ranking as Holiday Valley is the only resort in the top 10 to have less than 1,500 feet of vertical drop," said Dennis Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley's president. "What Holiday Valley might lack in the size of the mountain, it makes up in top notch service and facilities."
Leading the rankings are lifts at No. 1 and service and on-mountain food at No. 2. Dining and apres-ski rank third, lodging ranks fourth and off-hill activities and access rank fifth. Weather ranks No. 6 and family programs rank No. 7.
Holiday Valley has been a leader in lift quality for many years and the resort works methodically at upgrading lifts. Holiday Valley's lifts consistently rank at or near the top of the list thanks to an efficient lift layout, excellent maintenance and continual reinvestment. Holiday Valley has built or replaced seven quad chairlifts over the past 12 years alone.
The No. 2 ranking in service is testament to the emphasis Holiday Valley places on customer service during pre-season training and all through the year.
Last season was the debut of the Holiday Valley Lodge that features the Mountainside Grille. This marketplace-style eatery with its stone hearth pizza oven, carving station and homemade soups and chili certainly helped Holiday Valley earn the No. 2 ranking for on-mountain food.
Apres-ski and off-hill activities ratings can be attributed to the nearby village of Ellicottville, the perfect ski town with an eclectic mix of dining, shopping, services, welcoming people and a down-to-earth atmosphere. The Holiday Valley Tubing Company, the Mountain Coaster and miles of cross country trails provide action for outdoor enthusiasts. Dining at the resort's John Harvard's Brew Haus, and at the Village's wide mix of comfortable restaurants offer good values and great variety of venues from bistro to brew pubs.
Overnight guests have their choice of luxury slopeside condominium lodging at the Tamarack Club, the cozy and family friendly Inn at Holiday Valley or the condominiums and townhouses available through Holiday Valley Rental Properties. Both the Tamarack Club and the Inn at Holiday Valley feature indoor/outdoor heated pools and outdoor hot tubs.
Creekside Mountain Adventures and the Holiday Valley Day Care offer fun and nurturing for children age 6 months to 12 years. The family-friendly Tannenbaum area offers the Mountain Coaster, a thrilling ride that twists and turns through the woods and a secluded fort hidden in the woods. Children and their families can learn about the history of Native Americans in the region by locating each of the eight Seneca Clan Rocks placed throughout the resort. Very affordable season-long skiing for families is offered through the multi-week programs, which also include lessons. Up to two children ski and stay free with their parents when they book a midweek package at a Holiday Valley lodging property.
Past rankings for the ski resort was third in 2004, fifth in 2005, ninth in 2006, fifth in 2007, ninth in 2008, four in 2009 and sixth in 2012.
"This year marks the eighth time in 10 years that Holiday Valley has ranked in the top 10 resorts in Eastern North America," Eshbaugh said. "We appreciate the support of our skiers and pledge to continue to earn your praise through hard work, careful planning and exciting improvements."