Web Cams are a Popular Page on Any Resort Site, but is the Widening Gap an Issue?

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May 21, 2014 -- Gregg Blanchard

Webcams. The vast majority of destination resorts have them front and center on conditions pages giving web visitors a virtual look at the mountain.

They’ve been around for years.

But during those same years the quality of the image hasn’t changed much, if at all. That wouldn’t be an issue if, at the same time, the quality of manually captured content hadn’t skyrocketed.

Then & Now

Let me see if I can illustrate what I mean by sharing some comparisons. I wasn’t choosy, I just went through my feed and pulled a companion webcam image for the first three resort photos I saw.

So when Snowbasin shared this photo on Twitter:



This is what their web cam looked like:



When Panorama shared this photo on Twitter:



This is what their web cam looked like:



When Copper shared this photo on Twitter:



This is what their web cam looked like:



Even when taken from a phone, the manual image is so far ahead of the automated image, it almost feels like web cams start to send a message in direct opposition to current conditions. It’s sunny at Copper, but the light on the web cams looks flat and gloomy.

The one exception I can think of may be Aspen who shared this photo on Twitter:



While their webcam looked like this:



Yes, that image was live and fully automated. Not bad, eh?

Necessary?

So if webcams are a popular feature on your website, they have trouble representing accurate conditions on the mountain, and the other current images your skiers see are leaps and bounds better in terms of quality, what does that mean?

Can viewers imagine how great it looks despite cloudy glass and glaring sun on the cam? I don’t know. I know I can’t.

And maybe it’s just a matter of not stranding your webcams without the support of social images, but right now the web cams I see don’t do much to create a desire to ski. Is technology like Aspen’s Roundshot cameras necessary? Probably not. But do they help tell a more accurate story of how great conditions are and get me more exited to visit?

Absolutely.

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