3RD OPEN LETTER TO THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE SKI CLUB OF GREAT BRITAIN
[The first open letter appeared at the head of p.1 of this thread, dated 2 July 2012. The second appeared on 22 April 2014, on p.21]
Dear Frank McCusker
Continuing the main themes of these open letters since 2 July 2012 - snow reporting, SCGB membership figures and the British/Anglo-Scottish relationship - here is another opportunity to comment on issues which have arisen since the thread began and particularly over the past year ...
1. Snow forecasting and reporting
A few days ago you strongly recommended skiing this Christmas, via the general media and the SCGB's own website:
"The weekend of the 13/14 December is when most resorts will swing into action and this is when most operators start. If you are still wondering whether or not to go at Christmas - GO! The cooler weather is bringing snow to those resorts waiting to open and will help those already offering skiing to expand their available terrain."
You may, of course, be correct that it's a very good idea to book now. [Incidentally, have you personally risked your own money on Christmas skiing this year?]. As things stand over 90% of European ski terrain is unskiable, due to lack of snow - even in places like Val d'Isere and St Anton. The SCGB is one of very few organisations posting 9-day snow forecasts, though it's not known (these are member-access only) what these forecasts predict or how accurate they can be expected to be. You're welcome to cite any other forecasts of snow for Christmas, upon which you're basing your confidence. It is now 12 days until the departure weekend (20-21 December) for Christmas in the Alps. Of course, your prognosis may also be good for Scotland, and you're welcome to clarify that.
2. Scottish snow reporting
This thread has regularly monitored SCGB snow reporting for the 5 Scottish ski areas over the past two winters. As you know, the 2012-3 winter saw Scottish snow depths being repeatedly mis-reported, often at a fraction of what was actually on the ground. The Club officially declined to reveal how or where it was obtaining its data (those sources remain a mystery). Last winter 2013-4, the Ski Club repeatedly reported Scottish ski areas closed all weekend - on the basis of them being closed at 13.00 on a Friday - whereas the opposite was true. This issue came to a head last Easter - see page 21 of this thread - when all 5 Scottish mountains were reported "closed" over the entire Easter period. In fact, 3 of them had been open every day.
In the light of this reporting - which actively damages the economic interests of Scottish skiing - have you made any changes to the reporting procedures for this winter?
3. SCGB membership numbers
The Ski Club's annual report for 2014 (recently published) quoted a figure of 28,990 members for 30 April 2014. Recently, the SCGB gave a greater figure ("over 34,000") on Facebook, though this was revised last month to "over 29,000". Since 2012 the Ski Club has failed to publish its actual subscription numbers, though the SCGB head of communications Ella Clark was recently quoted that "over 16,500 households" are currently members of the Club. On that basis - and the SCGB's definition of 2 members per family subscription (to define voting and ownership rights) - any figure above 23,000 would appear to be mathematically impossible against a households/subscriptions figure of 16,500.
Do you have any comment on this?
4. Percentage of SCGB members in Scotland
Finally, it's notable that the 2014 annual report quotes 5.3% as the percentage of members in Scotland. In 2013 this figure was 5.2%. Clearly a positive trend.
Edited 5 times. Last edit at 13.06hrs Mon 8 Dec 14 by David Goldsmith.