Dear resorts, we need to talk about your snow reporting

    There’s a disturbing trend amongst some ski resorts when reporting snowfall that can really mess with your ski day planning.

    You know that feeling, when you wake in the morning, read your favoured ski resort’s snowfall figures and rush to the chairlift only to wonder where all the powder went. That, dear readers, is the curse of the 24 hour snowfall report.

    The introduction of web cams forced many resorts to become more honest with their reporting, social media enforced that again. Now these 24 hour snowfall figures are doing no one any favours, guests or resorts.

    What we really want is an overnight snowfall figure, heck, even a 12 hour snowfall figure will also work. We want to know how much fresh has fallen since the chairlifts closed the day before. There’s nothing worse than showing up with fat powder skis ready for face shots only to be confronted with tracked out packed down powder. Well, there are many things worse, poverty for one, testing on animals for two. But you get my drift.

    We all know a 24 hour total is the one that grabs headlines when the storm cycles are on but guests crave honesty in a world of cold smoke and mirrors.

    Thumbs up to Alta who report from 4pm the day before.

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    Thumbs down to Snowbird next door who report on the 24 hour total.

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    Though to be fair if you go further into their website than the home page you will get the 12 hour total. So thumbs back up.Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 8.12.28 AM

    Snowbasin, also in Utah only report 24 hour total.

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    Telluride give 24 hour on home page but again, like Snowbird, if you drill down then you’ll find the 12 hour total.

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    Aspen Snowmass have four mountains to report on so we can forgive them for only posting the 24 hour total, or can we? Truth be told most of us can forgive Aspen anything.

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    Jackson Hole has had a HUGE winter. February has received the most snowfall ever in any February since Jackson Hole Mountain Resort opened and that’s after a record breaking January.  But with all that snow they  still find time to report effectively. Imagine the riots in the tram queue if they didn’t. They even give the snowfall from overnight AND since 6.00am. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

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    We love Park City for offering a centimeter snowfall option for the rest of the world outside the USA that long ago switched from imperial to metric. But, alas, they too only offer a 24 hour total on their website.

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    BUT they do offer an overnight if you access their mobile site from your phone.

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    Most Vail Resorts offer the same, overnight on their mobile sites only. Except soon to be Epic, Whistler Blackcomb who this winter at least offer a 12 hour report as well as the 24 hour on their standard website.

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    Sun Valley also give a 24 hour total but then, weirdly, they offer a snowfall from 5.30am?

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    I’m just going to put Nozawa Onsen in Japan’s home page snow report right here and let you decide. Then at least I could find an official resort page for this Japan resort unlike so many others.

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    What about Europe? I spent over five minutes clicking on the Verbier official resort page and still couldn’t find the recent snowfall. Just saying.

    Are you happy with ski resort snow reporting? What would you improve if you could? Who does it best already?


    Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017, a former columnist for Mountainwatch and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.

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