Who is Tony Crocker? (as seen by the editors of POWDER)
Tony Crocker is a skier at heart, but a numbers guy all the way. Employed as an actuary (the mathematics of insurance and pensions) at Transamerica in Los Angeles, he was born and raised in the Golden State. He went to college at Princeton, earning a degree in--what else--statistics. While there, he also became a fiend at bridge, a card game where you have to keep track of a lot of things at once and in which statistics and probabilities figure heavily. After college, bridge became an obsession, and in 1977 Crocker spent 99 days at bridge tournaments, winning 329 master points.
From 1978 onwards, skiing has replaced bridge as his favorite avocation. Although he had torn up his knee as a beginner in 1976, he was hooked on the sport. Pining for some kind of numerical bent on his new-found passion, snowfall amounts became a hobby; Tony was fascinated with the monthly snowfall history posted on a Main Lodge wall at Mammoth Mountain, his most frequent ski destination. In 1991 he started calling other ski areas for comparable monthly figures. Pretty soon he found his way to Knox Williams at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, and had data for 40 ski areas "dumped" in his lap. That spurred him on to gathering data for an equal number of areas on his own and led to the extensive analysis presented here.
Crocker also keeps track of every place he has ever skied (201 areas), how many days he skied there (1348 ski days as of June 2016), how many vertical feet he skied (25.7 million), and what the snow conditions and weather were like. Tony has two sons, one was on UC San Diego's ski team, and he met his ex-wife on a ski trip to Mammoth in 1982. She was then a skier, but had only the vaguest notion (until October 1995 Powder was published) of the meticulous records Tony keeps on skiing, and no idea of the scope of his surreptitious snowfall calculations, many of which were done during frantic sessions at the home computer in the wee hours of the morning. This may all seem very strange to the average skier who has never counted anything but the occasional sequence of lift towers, but then, one man's obsession often becomes another man's fortune; in this case yours. --Leslie Anthony