This time between seasons gives a chance to pause, reflect and think about what we want to achieve next season. We initially envisioned SkiHood.com to become a community, where enthusiasts could come together and share their passion for Meadows and outdoor recreation. According to Alexa.com web site rating service, SkiHood.com is the most visited winter outdoor recreation site in Oregon – surpassing the visitation of other Oregon ski area web sites and even TravelOregon.com in the winter.
page has grown to more than 21,000 likes or fans, which has helped to create a sense of community. But promoting the sports of skiing, snowboarding, Nordic, and general outdoor recreation creates an interesting oxymoron – should a virtual experience be created which may actually distract people from experiencing the real thing?
Ever hear of Harry Harlow? He’s a psychologist who conducted a series of controversial experiments on infant monkeys in the 1960s, isolating them for periods of up to 24 months. While we don’t condone these experiments, the results are startling.
Harlow wrote that total social isolation for the first six months of life produced "severe deficits in virtually every aspect of social behavior.” When initially removed from total social isolation, they usually go into a state of emotional shock. When exposed to other monkeys for the first time they would shriek in fear, run to a corner of the cage and stare at the floor. Isolates integrated with monkeys the same age who were reared normally "achieved only limited recovery of simple social responses."
As great as the internet is and online communities have become, we feel it is vital that SkiHood.com serves the passion of the community, and doesn’t try to replace it with a virtual experience. We need the very real physical, emotional and social stimulation which comes from this sport. The rush of fresh mountain air, the exhilaration of acceleration, exploring the mountain and sharing together with others can never be virtualized. Our concern is too much time spent online in isolation connected to a virtual community, may result in some of the social deficits experienced by Harlow’s subjects. Eventually, could “virtual” become “reality”? OK – didn’t mean to go all “the Matrix” on you.
We recently restructured our communications department to better serve the needs of our guests. SkiHood.com plays a huge role in delivering information, accurately, honestly and immediately through the conditions page
(the most visited page on our site) and throughout our site. In addition to the current weather, snow conditions, lift operational and parking lot status, we provide event, activity and special offers that may affect the days you want choose to visit Meadows.
This information is also delivered through our eNews
on a weekly basis during the season, through daily snow report emails, with Twitter
updates and when warranted on our Facebook
page. We’ve developed these services so you can choose the way you want to be informed of what’s happening at the mountain.
As technology advances, so will the ways in which we offer this information. Our site is totally functional on mobile platforms, so you can access this from your smart phone. We’ve also developed mobile apps for both the iPhone
which you can download for $1.
How would you like us to communicate with you in the future? What improvements would you like to see in our web site and technologies that will serve your needs better?
You can use this blog to share your thoughts, or email directly to Dave Tragethon
, Executive Director of Communications.
Have a great summer. Get outdoors and recreate – or just sit back and soak up the splendor and beauty of nature. And get ready for the best ski season ever!
-- Meadows Team