Patrick wrote:1) Methodology. Tony's number aren't representative of Canada.
My data from western Canada is probably as good as from the western U.S. in relation to ski areas, acreage, skier visits, etc. Snowfall was huge (~140+%) in coastal B.C. which gets ~3.5 million skier visits and 122% in Alberta and the rest of B.C. (4.8 million skier visits and the largest region of my 8 overall by acreage).
Patrick wrote:I would agree to across the US as a whole, 2010-2011 was the one best snow year at ski areas on record.
to across in the sample of ski areas mostly concentrated in US, 2010-2011 was the one best snow year at ski areas on record.
No I don't think the data is U.S. centric at all; Canada overall had a season as strong as the U.S. did. If you added in all of Canada to Kottke and used their methodology weighted by skier visits, I would strongly expect the same conclusion.
I've been through the rest of EMSC's list of 300 areas (not complete but should be enough to be representative), and the Midwest, MASH and Southeast combined total 3% of U.S. skier acreage. Ontario and the prairies probably have similar relationship in Canada. For molehills (and even the mid-sized areas) that are nearly totally dependent upon snowmaking, I reiterate the point that they are not relevant to a discussion of snowfall, no matter how many skier visits they get. I'm sorry if Patrick is offended by his Ottawa locals falling into the "snowfall not relevant" category, but I suspect most would agree with me on this. Leslie Anthony (who is from eastern Canada) did in supervising the Powder
article in 1995.
The major limitation in my calculations is for which areas can I obtain reliable data. That's one reason for defining by regions; some regions I have a lot of areas, others not so many. I originally defined the regions in terms of distinct climate zones, but it turns out the division is fairly equal in terms of ski terrain also. Within each region it's reasonable to ask if the data for the areas I have is representative for the region as a whole. This question was first asked for the known "bad" region New Mexico, and New Mexico carries a 1/48 weight in my "Best Natural Snow Year" overall figure. New Mexico averages 800K skier visits, and its acreage numbers are also somewhat under 2% of the overall total. A similar exercise gives Alaska (the other bad subregion) a ~1% weighting in the above 3 categories.
For the Quebec case, Patrick is correct that I only have one area Le Massif. Le Massif was 93% this year, which is not that far off the 102% for the Northeast as a whole. The townships are almost certainly close to the ~100% of their Northern Vermont neighbors. So I don't think "102% for the Northeast" distorts Quebec much at all in 2010-11 for the Quebec areas where snowfall matters.
With respect to the "weight by skier visits" controversy, it is certainly possible that a big snow year by my weighting or area size could be mediocre by skier visits. You would need a bad Northeast snow year combined with the heaviest snow in the Northwest, Northern Rockies and western Canada. But that's not what happened in 2010-11. Northeast wasn't bad, just average, and the highest snow regions were the ones #2 and #3 in skier visits. Kottke and I have both demonstrated this and the conclusion about 2010-11 remains the same when weighting by skier visits.
In terms of acreage or acreage + vertical (Quebec City/Charlevoix/Saguenay + Townships) is about 1/5 of (Vermont + New Hampshire + Maine). Since I typically get 10-11 areas reporting from the latter, I'd like to get a second one from Quebec, preferably one of the Townships. I've seen that large season total dataset from Sutton; I'd like to figure out a way to make that work.
My suggestion is that Patrick and Tony spend more time in the outdoors during the non-ski season instead of burning 1's and 0's over what has become a fairly ridiculous argument. But it is kinda amusing watching from the cheap seats.
I have to agree with Patrick here. While I do have outside summer pursuits, I definitely have more time to do research, crunch numbers and respond to threads like this in summer than in winter.