There’s a fabulous exposé about exactly how much of a lie ski resorts tell about the amount of snow they’ve got–and it was uncovered thanks to the iPhone (and, indeed, other smartphones). We all may have suspected that resorts fib a little bit to encourage us to visit and plonk down cash on expensive ski passes, but would you believe they lie by up to 20% of snow depth? That’s the sort of figure revealed by the app on the iPhone, which lets local skiers on the slopes phone in with up to the minute reports. It’s a crowdsourcing experiment [2] that delivers a level of detail that no resort could ever hope to match–and it’s more accurate because the skiers have no agenda (unless they want to keep the pistes all to themselves). An academic study by researchers at Dartmouth College has just looked into the phenomenon and borne out the conclusions, by examining the last five seasons at 450 ski sites in North America and comparing weather reports with resort reports. Unsurprisingly a lot of lying went on, and there were two criteria that seemed to result in the worst overestimates of snowfall: If the resort was near a city, and if it was a weekend. Resorts under those conditions are obviously keen to attract visitors–and they cheated by an average of 23% on the snow figures.
By Kit Eaton, Jan 12, 2010, Fast Company

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