Internet Snow Reports: Who Delivers--Which Ones Can You Trust?

Published March 1999. This article reflects websites active in 1999, some of which no longer exist.

While the Internet is still hit-and-miss when it comes to booking vacation packages ("Vacation-Shopping The Internet." October 1998 IT), it can be a valuable source for the reporting of ski conditions. Information can be more timely and a lot more accurate than you'll find in newspaper or phone reports, and you can get detailed reports from remote areas often ignored by local press or phone services. That's the good news. The bad news, given the rapid-fire proliferation of new snow-reporting sites, is the time-consuming frustration of trying to find sites that provide the information you need. So here, after a season-long snoop to nail websites that deliver the most reliable and relevant snow- conditions skinny, are our picks. And while we always atttempt to warn you about products and services that we feel are a waste of your money or time, given the plethora of sites currently promoting snow reports, we've opted to focus only on those that we feel deliver. To make things easier, we've even supplied each website's sub-page (URL) address to save you the trouble of having to navigate to it.

Reports By State
The most common online format lists most states and provinces in North America with ski areas. By clicking on a state, you'll get details for the resorts in that state. The majority of these sites get their information from a report service such as AMI News or SnoCountry Reports, and choose the information they wish to display. Many sites, just like local newspapers, list only the day's new snow and current base depths. We recommend Resort Sports Network - Worldwide Snow Conditions. Like other sites, RSN lists the number of lifts and trails open, but it also includes a short comment box, which often tells you the percentage of ski terrain open and reports new snow cover over the past several days.

SkiNet, although a good source for ski industry news, has abandoned its detailed format of past years and now presents a shortened format: somewhat limited in usefulness, though the previous four days are archived for each area.

Current And Predicted Weather
Ski Central's New Snow Page lists North American ski areas each day in order of new snowfall.
GoSki! - The Worldwide Snow Sports Guide also shows over-night snowfall leaders, grouped by region: East, Rockies and West.
Conditions @ Snow Reports lists snow conditions for the top 10 snowfall areas for the past five days.
10-Day Precipitation Outlook for the Conterminous U.S. provides three user-friendly graphic maps.
The The Weather Channel - Skier's Forecast includes next 1-3 day snow prediction maps.

Skier-Submitted Reports Several sites offer skiers the opportunity to provide their own reports and browse those of others. These reports, we've found, are often more candid and detailed than those provided by the resorts.
Southland Ski Server covers southern California and Mammoth/June Mt. and includes an extensive library of reports for the past four seasons. Each report has a 12-question form that the skier can fill out, plus there's room for more subjective comments. Statistical summaries of some of the questions are available for each ski area covered.
Northwest Ski Report First-Hand Reports, which covers the entire Pacific Northwest, accepts narrative reports by e-mail. It is, we've found, the most active eyewitness site, with almost daily reports from Washington State and a Cascade skier's forecast by Seattle weatherman Larry Schick. These reports provide some great insight into the day-to-day variability of Northwest skiing, from deep powder to rain, ice and crud.
Unofficial Corbet's Couloir - Skier Submitted Ski Reports is being reorganized, but in most of 1998-99 posted e-mail reports from browsers for any area in the Rockies, including Colorado. A wide range of areas was covered, but often with only one or two reports per season per area.
New England Ski Guide accepts e-mail reports for New England areas. The site receives only a couple of reports each week, but the author, Chris Morton, provides an excellent weekend forecast every Wednesday or Thursday.
Lake Tahoe Reports, has cloned Southland's structured format to cover northern California and Nevada. This site, new this season, is currently less active than Southland or Northwest but likely to grow over time. We encourage readers to submit their own reports to these sites, since they be-come more informative as their databases grow.

Other Reports SKInet Canada Ski Reports covers all of those small or remote areas north of the border for which it is difficult to get information in the U. S.
Ski Hotline - Reports, a British site, publishes chatty, but detailed, daily ski reports that include a narrative analysis of snow conditions throughout the Alps. In our opnion, it's the best source for current conditions in Europe.
Your Guide To Snowfall analyzes expected snow conditions for 92 areas in North America based upon nearly 32 years of snow history plus such other factors as terrain, altitude and exposure. During the ski season, a regional progress report is updated once a week.
Craig's Report is a photo-laden narrative on snow conditions at Fernie, B.C. that's filed almost daily by local denizen Craig Morris. All of Morris's prior reports are kept online, and he also includes a detailed trail-by-trail analysis of Fernie's most recent snow cover.

Ski Area Reports These are primarily marketing brochures designed to promote an area's attractions, but most also include daily snow and weather reports. Most areas provide only the usual base depths and the current day's new snow, but a few do go the extra mile to provide more useful information for skiers. For your convenience, the URLs we list here go directly to the snow report page. Webmasters are forever tinkering with their sites, so if a link is broken and the address we list doesn't get you there, go to the area's home page, whose address will generally be in the form of http://www., and then search for the snow report. Following are ski areas that publish season-to-date snowfall in their daily reports, plus other information:
Steamboat usually posts a calendar showing day-by-day snowfall in addition to a narrative report.
Mammoth Mountain posts a day-by- day log of snowfall.
Jackson Hole shows total snow at both the top of the mountain and midway, as well as a complete list of open runs, including local favorites not on the trail map.
Sun Valley includes a trail and grooming report in addition to data on recent snowfall.
Alta and Winter Park include historical monthly snow averages, handy when you want to know how the current season compares. Winter Park also shows a snow-conditions trail listing.

Particularly in the East, it's helpful to see a comprehensive snow- conditions listing of trails. The following areas show the daily open, grooming and snowmaking status of each trail:
Sugarbush ,
Stowe ,
Loon ,
Sugarloaf , and
Sunday River , which conveys its information in a variety of formats, including free e-mail reports (an approach that several areas have taken) and a snow-conditions color-coded trail map (which some may prefer, but others find difficult to read).

Last, while we know snow-reporting criteria is largely in the eye of the beholder (no matter how revealing reports in the Northwest may be, they're of little use if you ski in Vermont), it's always nice to know what's going on elsewhere. If nothing more, you're sure to impress with your snow savvy when standing around the apres-ski bar.