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Everyone has their favorite ski area. Generally it's the area a skier is skiing or planning to ski soon.

Park City, Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, Solitude, Snowbasin . . . all have their good points.And it seems that out-of-state skiers are finding good with Utah skiing too. The latest survey taken in Utah shows that six out of every 10 skiers in a lift line this year will be from outside Utah. Twenty or so years ago the figures were reversed.

It's true, however, that non-Utahns are discovering Utah more each winter.

And how do these visitors rate Utah resorts with the rest of the ski areas in North America?

Pretty good. But still, popular Colorado resorts generally rate higher.

Take the survey done by SKI Magazine.

Asked to pick their favorite weekend destination in the Rocky Mountains, western skiers picked Vail, Steamboat, Copper Mountain and Breckenridge, all in Colorado, 1 through 4. Alta tied with Keystone, another Colorado area, for fifth. Then came Taos (N.M.), Snowbird, Jackson Hole and Winter Park (Colo.).

Favorite day trip resorts were, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Vail, Breckenridge and Winter Park for a Colorado sweep 1 through 5. Then came Alta, Park City and Snowbird in a tie for 8th with Taos.

The same survey revealed that Jackson Hole is the Most Challenging; Whistler/Blackcomb, British Columbia, had the Largest Terrain Extent and Best Terrain Quality; Deer Valley was Best Customer Service, Best Food and Best Lodging; Sunday River, Maine, had the Best Lifts and Best Snowmaking; Mammoth Mountain in California, had the Best Ski School; Snowmass, Colo., the Best Family Programs; Aspen Mountain (Colo.) the Best Apres-Ski; Alta the Best Snow Quality; Park City the Best Accessibility; and Aspen Highlands, Colo., the Best Weather and Best Intra-Resort Transportation.

Snow Country Magazine conducted a similar survey. It polled 4,000 readers and found:

Only one Utah ski area made it into the Top 10 - Park City at No. 9.

Questions dealt with scenery, night life, dining and lodging, the mountain's vertical drop, snowfall, snowmaking and lifts, and little about skiing.

No. 1 was Whistler/Blackcomb. Then came Vail, Aspen, Steamboat, Mammoth Mountain, Squaw Valley, Heavenly Valley, Park City and Killington (Vt.)

In breaking down the survey, the magazine separated Colorado and Utah. As a result, measuring in the Central and Southern Rockies, Colorado ski areas garnered 12 of the 13 positions. Taos slipped in at No. 11 on the voters' cards.

In the Northern Rockies, Park City was once again the No. 1 choice of voters.

It was followed by Big Sky (Mont.), Sun Valley and Jackson Hole.

Deer Valley was No. 5, followed by Snowbird, The Big Mountain (Mont.), Schweitzer (Idaho), Alta, Solitude and Grand Targhee.

In another survey, the magazine changed its questioning and asked readers about the food, kid's programs, ski school, lack of crowds, snow surface and customer service.

Colorado placed five areas in the top 10 - Aspen (No. 1), Beaver Creek (No. 3), Vail (No. 6), Steamboat (No. 7) and Telluride (No. 10).

Utah placed one - Deer Valley (No. 2).

But do away with all the bells and whistles, as one Utah ski official points out, and get down to skiing, and voters couldn't ignore Utah snow.

Vail and Steamboat went No. 1-2, with 1,917 and 1,118 points, respectively.

Then came Alta (917), Jackson Hole (878), Copper Mountain (799), Snowbird (742), Deer Valley (710), Aspen (698), Killington (664) and Park City (659).

Utah and Colorado each placed four on the top 10 list, but, as was pointed out, "Utah has only 14 ski areas to 28 in Colorado. I think that speaks pretty well of Utah."