Hello Everyone –
Sometimes it just amazes me that the term “common sense” just doesn’t go hand-in-hand when it comes to finding out correct information on slope conditions at any given time during the ski season. Growing up if you needed to find out a phone number you used the resources available to you, a phone book (remember those) or 555-1212, and proceeded from there by making your call. Now everyone just heads to today’s main information source, the internet, and starts searching.
Whatever is found during that search is gospel, right? Well not 100 percent of the time folks. At least when we would use a phone book it was in black and white or when we would call information we would be talking to a real person that isn’t named Bobby and lives in India. I actually had a better feeling about that information than what can be found on the internet these days.
Recently I got into a conversation with an official with a ski resort in West Virginia and was told that Associated Press was reporting incorrect operating hours for the resort and that travelyahoo.com had the resort closed. Well I’m not to putting any blame on either source on this one but putting the blame on national snow reporting services that provide the information for the thousands upon thousands of ski condition sites and if it is on the internet is correct, right? Well, mogul jumper, wrong! All of these sites have information pages that probably just don’t get the attention they deserve. It’s like trying to find a real person at MapQuest (I have tried), there’s just too much information out there these days that no one site can keep up with everything and be able to put the time into making sure the information on the site is up to date and correct, right? Well my friendly lift rider, you again are misinformed.
In this age of instant information I just don’t understand why any skier or snowboarder would trust a site that doesn’t specialize in providing up to date information on just one thing and that’s slope conditions. I ask a very simple question; why not just go to the resort or resorts that you are wondering about? Or go to www.skisoutheast.com, I know this column is located on the site and that makes me biased, but those who really know me, know I shoot straight from the hip. Folks this isn’t brain surgery or we’re not solving world peace here, we are talking about slope conditions and where to have fun in the winter.
It amazes me that skiers and snowboarders would trust getting the correct snow report from any place other than from the horse’s mouth. A ski resort worth its weight to spend money at will or should keep their snow report up to date at least once or even twice a day. They make money by attracting skiers and snowboarders to their resort not the first time but the second, third and fourth times. Why on-earth would a resort give an incorrect snow report and chase off a visitor after giving an incorrect report and not getting that return business. That might’ve happened in years gone by but there are too many eyes out there and that keeps any resort worth their weight on target with providing honest and up to date snow reports. Just use your favorite ski resort site to get your info, don’t go to some site that handles other resorts located around the country.
Now there is always an exception to my rule and in this case it is www.skisoutheast.com. Even before my column started being published on the site, I used it to find out the conditions at all of the resorts in the region and believed what I was reading. If for some reason I knew different I could find a real person (most of the time that was Mike) to voice my thoughts to. Again the bias is coming out here but it shows when you love doing something and Mike and his staff love providing correct snow reports not for one but every ski resort in the southeast region. On top of that you can quickly jump to your favorite resort’s site or check out the resort’s real time webcam to see for yourself what the conditions are like before you even turn the key.
So I guess the moral of this week’s column is to trust your favorite resort or a ski site like www.skisoutheast.com for the most up to date slope information and not some carpetbagger site that doesn’t realize there is some very fine skiing and snowboarding in the southeast.
That’s it for this week, more to come as the season continues, just remember whether it be cold or whether it be hot, we’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather will be. Think about it! See you on the slopes!
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Joe Stevens, a member of the southeast ski industry since 1990 is a regular columnist for skisoutheast.com and serves as the Communications Director for the West Virginia Ski Areas Association.