A real snow job
Posted January 6, 2010
If you like to ski, you've no doubt checked on TV or online to see how much snow your favorite resort has. Some of you have perhaps even chosen one resort for your ski trip because they reported having more or better snow than another resort.
Ever thought those reports about piles of snow might just be piles of something else?
Researchers from Dartmouth studied the snow reports from hundreds of ski resorts and showed that, absent meteorology to the contrary, some ski resorts reported an average of 23% more snow on the weekends — snow totals that were not supported by independent observations. In other words, some resorts were inflating their snow totals to attract business from skiers who thought they had more or better snow than other resorts.
Another interesting angle on this: Near the end of the study, an iPhone application was released that making it easy for skiers to take pictures of and comment on the actual snow conditions at a number of resorts. Not surprisingly, this exaggeration of snow totals fell sharply as a result, especially at resorts that got good cell reception.
(H/T: Al Tompkins/Poynter Online)