Snow report reliability

Anyone obsessed with skiing enough to be reading this blog probably does not need an academic paper to prove that ski resorts often embellish thier snow report numbers, but the following report from a couple of Associate Professors in Economics from Dartmouth College is a pretty entertaining read. In addition, it raises the i-phone issue again. Apparantly, there is yet another application that allows folks to send reports live from the field (given reception – can you hear me now) to some popular resrt snow condition website. As hard as I try to escape the pull of the oracle (read – i-phone), its reach is tough to escape…

Here is the Abstract:

Casual empiricism suggests that deceptive advertising is prevalent, and several classes of theories explore its causes and consequences. We provide some unusually sharp empirical evidence on the extent, mechanics, and dynamics of deceptive advertising. Ski resorts selfreport 23 percent more snowfall on weekends. Resorts that plausibly reap greater benefits from exaggerating do it more. We find little evidence that competition restrains or encourages exaggeration. Near the end of our sample period, a new iPhone application feature makes it easier for skiers share information on ski conditions in real time. Exaggeration falls sharply, especially at resorts with better iPhone reception.

Read the full paper on the accuracy of ski resort snow reports here.