Skiology Weather & News is an independent publication primarily covering the 9 state Northeast region of the US with additional weather coverage in Quebec and the Mid Atlantic, plus industry news coverage that at times spans beyond our focus region. We first launched in October 2018 on Facebook and built a community of over 50,000 strong; sort of a hive-mind for everything skiing and riding. In the summer of 2023 we moved all of our long-form content to our site and launched a subscription service that is straightforward, inexpensive, and even better than what we had. You will no longer need to worry about whether some social media algorithm will show you our coverage of the next winter storm because we're going to deliver that straight to the inboxes of our subscribers. We look forward to all of the new things we can do and offer on this platform.
Skiology Weather & News is currently the combined efforts of three people, Matt, Luis, and Deane, with the help and contributions from fellow skiers and riders. By subscribing you will make it possible for us to not just continue, but also to improve!
For those who don't know me, I'm Matt, the main guy behind the curtain who occasionally peeks his head out. Luis is a old friend from decades back who is an absolute beast at client-side coding, and Deane is a snow sliding friend from the community who was working on his own ski app and is a programming and database expert. While Deane's work isn't on view at this time, we've mapped out the processes for bringing deterministic weather forecasts (like weather apps) to Skiology Weather & News and hope to start to add that on for the 2023/2024 season. I also have many years of experience in various internet related work and am doing a lot of the design for now with Luis' help to make it do fancy things. It will take our combined efforts to do all of what we want to do.
I write much of the content and do all of the forecasting for Skiology Weather & News. I guess you could say that snow is my midlife crisis. I had a handful of days of skiing and one of riding across several decades before I dove feet first (and sometimes face first) back into the snow in early 2015 to solve my need for something recreational, fun, and challenging to do during our long winters. My next winter was one of those Super El Nino years, our warmest winter ever recorded in the Northeast, and for myself and others it was filled with weather disappointment. Learning the ropes was time consuming and filled with mistakes, but there was one thing that I wanted desperately but didn't know how to find.. accurate weather and conditions coverage for the ski areas that I was visiting. It wasn't just fresh snow that I was after, it was trying to avoid the ice when I could, or the crowds, and the dreaded wind holds. Yeah, I tried the weather apps, and they sucked. One minute a weather app would show a foot was coming only for me to wake up the next morning before hitting the slopes only to see rain predicted. It was so unreliable that it almost seemed random. Deterministic forecasts just don't communicate the variability that exists, and that is critical to understand, and weather apps can't tell you that on their own. They are useful though, especially outside of the storms which is where most of the variability lies.
Having spent a good part of my childhood in Oklahoma where severe weather is no stranger, I became fascinated with meteorology early on in life. From grade school all the way through my first semester of college my plan was to become a meteorologist. I'm one of the many though that washed out early because I just didn't find the excessive amounts of calculus to be fun. I wanted to chase storms and fly into hurricanes; but that was 18 year old me talking. I eventually ended up with a degree in telecommunications and graduated at the start of the whole internet revolution which was an exciting time. With my newfound pastime of sliding on the snow and a lack of good resources to consult, I dove back in to weather. Things had changed in those 30 years since I last studied, weather models were widely accessible, they had multiplied and matured, become much more accurate, and there were internet communities with everyone from enthusiasts to PhDs discussing weather and the science behind it from whom I could learn. So with a lot of time and effort I eventually found a solution to my own problem, and thought maybe I could also help others navigate the weather or at least help them go in knowing what to expect so that they are prepared and not disappointed. I won't pretend that when I started this experiment that I was prepared for prime time, but the response was overwhelming and it became clear that I wasn't the only person with this need so I stuck with it and continued to learn about not just the weather, but how the surfaces and ski areas respond to it.
Now I'm not a meteorologist and I have never claimed to be one, but it is appropriate for me to call myself a "forecaster". Forecasting is just one sub-set of meteorology and is a skill that you mostly have to learn for yourself rather than being taught. I have one focus, and that is winter weather on eastern ski mountains and that gives me an advantage in this type of coverage. Being a skier/rider who has also visited many of the ski areas in the region and follows their operations on a regular basis also provides me with a distinct advantage. You may be surprised to hear that I hardly look at weather models over the off season. You see, weather is merely an enabler for my true passion which is sliding on the snow, but I do of course like weather, and I love the suspense that comes with every winter storm.
What I do is also much more than just weather, but it is all forecasting in one way or another. For instance, no one can teach you how to forecast wind holds accurately, you have to know not just the wind speed, but the direction, the facing of the lifts, the exposures of the lifts, the topographical effects of each mountain, the biases for specific mountains in weather models, and even the sensitives of staff to placing lifts on hold on a given day. That's why this is "skiology" and not simply meteorology. You have to learn this from experience, and I've made it a practice to continually study the results and make adjustments. The Northeast is also one of the most difficult regions to forecast snow for as storms often form explosively in the region as opposed to just passing through, and there is almost always a clash of cold and warm air that leaves some disappointed and others in the thick of it.
Lastly, I should talk a little about the news component here since that is important as well. It was never my intention to cover more than weather, but experiencing the changes and challenges that the multi-pass model has brought along with the impacts of the pandemic while having access to the collective knowledge of the Skiology Community, it just made sense. I've broken news many times, discussed topics that many will not touch, and provided details not found elsewhere. I was the only one covering the ski industry willing to talk about the impending pandemic closures in 2020 before it happened. I was the first to cover Vail Resorts' difficult labor shortages in 2021 and the effects on operations that were experienced. When Gunstock came under attack from radicals in their county's delegation using scorched earth tactics to gain control of the resort in the summer of 2022, I covered it day and night through the entire ordeal and helped shine a light on what was really happening and what was at stake. Being small and nimble is an advantage in many ways, and so does not being reliant on the ski industry for our revenue. Over 90% of our revenue to date has come directly from skiers and riders, and they are who we primarily work for and whose interests we represent.
What we offer at Skiology Weather & News is unique. It's a combination of the weather with knowledge of how the weather affects conditions and operations to create forecasts that speak to the specific needs of skiers and riders across the East, and news from an independent source.