Weekly Shred Report – 22nd Mar 2014

Hey fellow snow hounds,

It’s been an incredible March for snowfall but the temperatures have been all over the place making for some crazy upside down layers of snow.
This and this is a costly and timely reminder that for those of us enjoying the mountains, we need to be constantly aware of the conditions.

Ok, lets get into some better news. What a month we’re having!

Fernie for example has a 30%+ increase in it’s base over Feb-Mar. Kicking Horse during the same period had a 25% increase, check it out below:


Resort of the week

This week’s resort of the week with an Australian ski seasons (186cm) worth of snow in only a week, again is Fernie. Kicking Horse wasnt far behind!


Top 10 Resorts with the most fresh snow

Ok now onto our top 10 resorts for the week:

  1. Fernie Alpine British Columbia 186
  2. Kicking Horse British Columbia 108
  3. Whitewater British Columbia 99
  4. Castle Mountain Alberta 95
  5. Panorama Mountain British Columbia 91
  6. Lake Louise Alberta 87
  7. Hemlock Valley Resort British Columbia 82
  8. Hudson Bay Mountain British Columbia 52
  9. Mt Seymour British Columbia 49
  10. Cypress Mountain British Columbia 4

Apologies for the tardiness between posts.

Have fun! Jussy

Ski Cam of the Week - Sunshine Village

Stoke Of The Week – Slush Cup 2013

Week #7  – Slush Cup Sunshine Village

With Bears running across the Lake Louise ski area and the 2012/13 ski season now closed at most of the resorts across the northern hemisphere, it’s now time to celebrate the sunny slushy goodness that is late May with the Sunshine Village Slush Cup. Where we can re-live tails of epic powder days, trips to Reve and how you really missed out that one Tuesday! For newcomers, watch the video below.

Another solid season in the Canadian rockies!



P.S Early snow on the Oz ski fields! Could be another good season down there.

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Lake Louise AB Canada Ski

Google Maps Ski Runs

As reported by Google Lat & Lng blog – Google Maps now includes the ski runs and trails of 38 ski resorts in USA and Canada complete with colour coded ski runs.

With 38 new run and lift maps for some of the most popular mountains across the US and Canada, Google Maps is your “go to” mountain guide. Whether you’re shredding Squaw ValleyBig Sky, orOkemo, Google Maps are a comprehensive, accurate and easy way to find the best route down the hill.

From the Canadian side of the border, the list includes:

Pretty handy.


Ski Cam of the Week - Island Lake

Ski Cam of the Week – Fernie

Week #11

We’ve waited a while for our friends down in Fernie British Columbia to be blessed with their famous boat loads of snow and this week it came down. Fernie was reporting 50+cm in 48 hours by Tuesday, making for amazing conditions mid week.

Let’s hope the other thing that Fernie is famous for rain doesn’t destroy this layer for those who weren’t lucky enough to enjoy it mid-week.


Here at PowderScope, we’re big fans of the Fernie Ski Hill and the quaint historical town of Fernie. There are so many options for powder hounds with an amazing mountain full of bowls, two fantastic cat operators (Island Lake & FWA, back country and cross country access all within a stones throw of the streets of Fernie. We love Fernie so much we’ve decided to have a bonus round this week and give you a glimpse into the world of Island Lake Cat Skiing.



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Frozen Chair

The need for flexible ski resort pricing

Give me 100 lift tickets, 2 days before they expire and i will sell them at discounted rates.  Just like Hotel Tonight finds hotels with empty rooms and sells them to cheaper to people looking for hotels that night.  A lift with 3 people on it is better than a lift with 0 people on it.

Let’s take it a step further, ski resorts have an abundance of data that they should be taking advantage of to increase the ticket sales.

  • Weather
  • Snowfall
  • Lift’s open
  • Lift lines (capacity)
  • Date & Time
  • Etc etc.

More people want to ski on certain days, be that boxing day, powder days or sunny days, you get the picture. So why don’t ski resorts price it accordingly? Instead they average the cost of running the resort over the amount of days it can stay open plus some tidy profit and voila $90 a day whether it has snow or not.

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fresh lines in powder

The need for open real-time ski data

Over at my favourite ski resort blog The Lake Louise Lowdown a fantastic article on how ski resorts conduct their snow reporting.

I do the reports on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, so when I awoke at 4:30am this morning I was greeted with the happy task of letting people know what an epic day we were about to be faced with. I’m able to access the precipitation gauge at our Pika weather plot via the internet from my home, which is handy since the weather in Banff, and snowfall in particular, is rarely indicative of what’s happening in Lake Louise.

A precipitation gauge does not measure snow – rather, it collects falling snow and melts it, then measures the amount of resulting water. We can then use a formula to convert water into snow equivalency, and it is this number that represents the number you see on our snow reports for mid-mountain snowfall.

A lot of the ski resorts utilise technology such as precipitation gauges to help them understand the weather conditions. As is mentioned in the above quote from the Lowdown blog but this raw information is not available to the ski hills visitors. It’s only available as part of the summary put together by the ski hills forecaster, which is extremely valuable non the less.i

My question was so why cant we, as visitors to ski hills and parks get access to this data? It would be mighty helpful in determining whether or not to go, real-time conditions, lift prices, avalanche risk and safety etc.

We are getting there, some resorts like Kicking Horse are providing this real-time weather information, just not in a usable format such as xml or rss even. But as the Lowdown suggests these devices sit on the resorts internal network and the data is not shared potentially due to corporate policies.

Opening this data up to developers and analysts, as with other industries, would give rise to innovations we cant conceive of right now. For example, better communication of hazards and avalanche conditions.  Or by knowing the wind, temperature and wind chill visitors can choose the right jacket to take or layer appropriately or whether to take the young children up or not.  Or targeted marketing based upon snowfall and proximity to the ski hill. Or overlay trail maps with cameras and weather data.

And i wouldn’t stop at just weather data, some additional real-time information i would like to see:

  • Accurate & consistent snowfall calculations and reporting.
  • All historical weather data.
  • High Definition Video streams.
  • Lift status.
  • Amount of lift tickets sold and pre-sold.
  • Lift lines, amount of tickets being scanned in at lift stations.

Imagine, knowing that only 1000 people were at the ski hill and there’s 20cm fresh pow. Or even better, 500 pre-sold with 40cm of pow arriving and -10 degrees no wind!

From a business perspective, unsold tickets are like unsold hotel rooms. Not selling these tickets is a cost overhead. Open data would provide opportunities to reach out to audiences you never knew you had by releasing control of the data to be moulded into whatever fashion the developers can think of.

For example, lower priced tickets for less favourable days such as wind closures or -30 and higher priced tickets for more favourable days like 30cm snow etc. Or perhaps, only 250 people at 10am let’s send a communication out to our followers offering 25% off.

So what ski resort data would you like to see?



White Board | 219/365

The simple ski resort equation

The simple equation is this:  Show me the best days to go skiing in a resort.

This is the most snow with the most lifts open with the least people with an acceptable  danger rating and a “feels-like” temp not below -15 c.