Better than anyone, anyone I've ever met"
- Tina Turner
In business, indicators are the "holy grail" for an analyst. An indicator is the one (or set of variables) that indicates what is going to happen next for a given business metric. If it is in the financial services business and a security, one hopes that their mishmash of numbers will lead to some predictability in the future direction of that given security. This applies in all business' as decision makers look for some sort of variable that can predict the future. Of course, no indicator can predict the future but it can help in guiding a decision on that future and evaluating the present. I can help with comparing variables and simply the decision process. This is especially important when there are many options on the table.
Our goal of this blog is to provide information that is useful. We use indicators of sorts to indicate whether you should go to Storyland at this time of the year or Santa's Village at other times. We have shared the best time to visit Diana's baths and how to avoid Conway when in search of dinner on Friday's or Saturday nights during the summer. These recommendations are all based on what we term as indicators - essentially just like the business above, we too are using indicators to measure the many variables that can come into play when we are visiting the valley. the problem with these types of indicators is this: the lack of data. There is no data that tells us what the average attendance is at the parks or at Cathedral Ledge. There is a lack of data on the height of traffic in Conway village and there is very few tidbits on truly how good the Muddy Moose is versus the Red Parka. Ah, but there is data on the ski mountains in our area! And with data, comes guideposts that one can use in the decision process.
So we set out to create models of the mountains within driving distance of our condo. As we mentioned above, indicators are meant to predict but in the case of these models, they are more based around guides and measuring sticks to help in deciding where I should ski while visiting the valley. In terms of the measuring stick, it is three fold. The first model is a way to measure how challenging a given mountain is. This takes into account the makeup of the mountain's trails, the vertical distance one has to ski on this mountain and the average narrowness of the trails. The second model takes into account one's day at the mountain - how enjoyable was it. Do you encounter long lines, are the slopes crowded and does a mountain have wide selection of trails. Lastly, we tabulated the reviews of these mountains from three perspectives: Family friendly, the view of the terrain park and the apres' ski.
So what are the results? Before we share them with you, let's give you our perspective on the perfect mountain, which provides a basis for the models. First, the mountain needs to be challenging or have plenty of options that are quite challenging. Second, since we have young children, it must have a good ski school and trails that beginners can use and learn on (so they can move quickly from the bunny slope onto the mountain). Admittedly, one of the limitations of these models is the lack of information on ski schools. Yes, the family friendly end of the tabulation applies to some extent but that does not simply apply to ski school as it includes many variables that make a mountain "family friendly." As mentioned in "a nervous dad," we have used Attitash's ski school a few times now and each has been a great experience for our daughter. But what is to say that Bretton Woods, Cranmore or Wildcat do not have better options? We just don't simply have the data! Our last requirement of a mountain are the apres ski but more from a lunch/dinner opportunity - does the mountain have good options and does the surrounding area have good options? One of the benefits of the McCarty Seasons Condo is the location - it is 15 minutes from North Conway and there are many eating establishments on 302 nearby within 5 minutes of Attitash.
With that now shared, let's discuss the sample. First, the mountains chosen for the study are within 1 hour of driving distance of our condo. That means 9 mountains are in this study: Attitash, Wildcat, Cranmore Mountain, Black Mountain, King Pine, Sunday River, Cannon Mountain, Bretton Woods and Loon Mountain. The hope in the future is to widen this sample out to all the mountains in the region and then perhaps if time is available, tabulate results for the whole northeast! Over the next three days we will give the rankings of each indicator from the list and then on day four, the overall rating will be share. This is not a perfect indicator or set of models. However, it does fit our perspective and hopefully is helpful for you in your decision next time in the valley.