Ear to the ground

“They were so old they needed to be checked into a home.”

– Visitor commenting on the sad state of the mid-winter tomato selection at local grocery stores

Fluffing up business

Apparently, there are a few bad flakes falling in the ski industry. A recent study from Dartmouth College confirms many skiers’ worst fears. Ski resorts often inflate their snow reports to attract business.

While they didn’t name names or point fingers, Eric Zitzewitz and Jon Zinman, associates professors of economics at Dartmouth, released an industry-wide study of snow reports. Following the exhaustive analysis, their report “Wintertime for Deceptive Advertising” revealed that ski areas tend to exaggerate snowfall by an average of 23 percent on weekends.

“Resorts only benefit from exaggerating snow reports when skiers condition purchase decisions on them,” the report read. And on weekends, skiers are less constrained by work schedules and more likely pull up the snow report before choosing a destination, according to the researchers.

Zitzewitz and Zinman tested for snow report irregularities by examining resort websites and then comparing numbers with data from the National Weather Service. Ski resorts within driving distances of large urban areas were especially prone to inflating snowfall numbers, according to the study.  

“Ski resorts self-report 23 percent more natural snowfall on weekends; there is no such weekend effect in government precipitation data,” the report continued. “There is some evidence that resorts with greater benefits from exaggerating, do it more.”

Bending the rules in Keystone

Some skiers will cross any boundary for free lift-served. A Front Range woman had to dig especially deep early this season when she attempted to use a Keystone ski pass that belonged to a man. Sarah Nicole Fowke told officers she was in the midst of a sex change operation prior to being charged with theft and criminal investigation.

The pass in question belonged to Nicholas Hemstreet, whose parents were “shocked” when officers called them and informed them their son was undergoing the procedure. After a little pressure from mom and dad, Hemstreet admitted that Fowke was actually his girlfriend, and he had loaned her his pass for the day. Fowke was then taken into custody.




In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows