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Shocking News: Resorts Inflate Snowfall Numbers

Shocking News: Resorts Inflate Snowfall Numbers

[ October 2, 2009 - 5:00pm ]
Snowstake
Dek: 
OK, fine. It’s no big surprise that ski resorts call for 12 inches when they really only got 10. But what is surprising is how iPhone apps can help curb the lies.

It didn’t really come as any sort of a shock to me that a recent study by a team of Dartmouth economists revealed ski resorts are inflating their snowfall numbers. The economists discovered that some resorts are exaggerating their snow report data by as much as 23 percent on weekends. The resort’s snow reports were cross-referenced with government weather stations from a similar area to determine the percent of inflation. While the study did not name any particular resorts, it did identify what types of resorts may cushion their snow report. Resorts that see a high percentage of day skiers, meaning those located on or near highways and near bigger cities, are major perpetrators. Also, resorts within close proximity of each other. Prime suspects? Resorts along Colorado’s I-70 corridor, perhaps?

The truly surprising thing about these deceptive marketing strategies is how vulnerable they are to social media. SkiReport.com added a new feature to its popular iPhone app that allows users to post “first hand reports.” This feature caused a sharp drop in snow report exaggerations at resorts with adequate ATT cell phone coverage.

It’s great that something as easy as a free cell phone app and some teamwork could reign in a little resort malpractice. —Niall Bouzon
  

Snowstake

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