Meadows Blog

There is no Virtual Reality

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.

Our Facebook 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 and Droid 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

4 Comments

  1. Dave Grimshaw

    June 19, 2011

    I thought it was great that you have had the webcams monitoring the deconstruction of the lower terminal of the Yellow (Stadium) chair. Do you plan on keeping the cams focused on the construction of the new chair?

    Meadows: We normally rotate the camera views but with the interest in the new lift we'll keep a focus on Stadium this summer. We'll be providing more information on the lift project later this summer.

  2. CJ

    June 20, 2011

    So you guys are replacing yellow with a quad?? That is the plan?

    Meadows: Yes - the Stadium Express high speed quad. We'll have more information later this summer.

  3. Brian

    June 22, 2011

    Any plans for a Windows Phone app?

    The webcams are great, but video webcams would bring it to the next level.

    As awesome as Fresh Tracks deli is, I think a carousel-style vending machine with premade cold sandwiches and salads would relieve some of the load at checkout in there. It could cut down on wait time for a premade item, so those who can't take a long lunch can eat a salad and go.

    That's all I have for now ;)

    Meadows: Thanks for the suggestions. We have pre-made salads and sandwiches at Fresh Tracks in the refrigerated display case that you can grab and go. We'll check in with our app developer regarding the windows phone app. And video would be a great improvement, but at this point requires too much band width to live stream. We're scheduled for fiber installation next summer, which hopefully will provide us with greater band width for these kinds of improvements.

  4. sam

    September 18, 2011

    i'm not totally sure what the meaning behind this blog posting is. just musings on why skihood.com does not have a forum or more user to suer interaction?

    while i can see the point being made, my thoughts on it are a bit different. for me, skiing is a solo sport. i ski by myself every year. being a loner anyway, it fits for me. i control when i go, where i go and how long i stay. though this past year, i found it sort of lonely, which was something new for me. none of my friends or co-workers ski/board (the horror!) and show no interest in learning (?!?!?!), so they are ruled out as companions to snow-filled adventures. if there was a forum here on skihood, it seems like it would be a good opportunity for guests to meet in the virtual world and then plan to meet in the winter wonderland world on the mountain. it might actually inspire some to get their behinds up there to meet up with their new ski buddy, instead of rolling over and going back to sleep.

    maybe i am the only lonesome loser at MHM... but maybe, just maybe, there is another out there like me who thinks it might be fun to have a new ski pal and it seems like this site would be an ideal place to look for a friend who really loves to ski too.

    just my own musings on a subject that you may or may not have been talking about. Ha!

    Meadows: Thanks for the musings. Check out our Facebook page - Facebook.com/MtHoodMeadows

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