NPR recently had story about a study done by some Dartmouth professors regarding snow reporting. They concluded that ski resorts exaggerate snow totals, especially during weekends and holidays. This story has again raised the issue of ski resorts credibility with their snow reporting. From spending most of my career marketing ski resorts, I can tell you that some do exaggerate and there are others that play it straight. Our goal with Saddleback reporting is one word, truth!

The Saddleback reporting system begins at 4:30 AM when Patrol Director and Trail Supervisor, Jared Emerson phones the night Grooming & Snowmaking supervisor, Scott Knight. Scott will have already measured any snow that fell during the day and overnight. He will also have the summit temperature, base temperature, wind velocity and surface textures. A night grooming report is also relayed. Jared then takes this information, organizes it and sends an email to me no later than 4:45 AM. I then enter the data on to our daily report form and then send to a variety of snow report distribution outlets such as SnoCountry Mountain Reports & John Williams ski reports. Afterwards, I update the Saddleback website and then voice our snow phone. We are usually finished by 5:15, plenty of time for skiers to call and decide whether to make the trip or not. Last week's four day snow event was challenging, as we had some winds re-distributing the snow, making it tough to measure. Plus, there was a lot to measure! Scott and Jared did a great job and made it honest.

One year, when I was working at Jay Peak in Vermont, the Burlington Free Press sent a secret shopper around to Vermont's ski areas by phone, checking conditions during a challenging weather event. They produced an article in the Sunday edition with the results. My area scored the highest score, an A+. I will not reveal the other scores, but 2 resorts earned D's. Our score was based on the fact that I used the dirty four letter word "rain". We will do our best to keep it real at Saddleback too.

If you would like to contact me, send your thoughts to cklefos@saddlebackmaine.com