This is no surprise to followers of OnTheSnow, who tend to be tech-savvy and up-to-date on the latest trends in communications technology.

Twitter, Facebook, iPhones, and an array of apps allow instant awareness of almost everything.

Companies, including resorts that offer fun on the snow, are plugging in.

First it was Web sites and e-mail, which now seem extraordinarily ordinary.

Next came a wide choice of social media, with Facebook elbowing aside all competition, and Twitter rocketing to predominance for staying in touch instantaneously.

"When you use social media, you're engaging with a very passionate, very connected tribe of individuals that are into your product, in our case skiing and snowboarding," Jeff Wise of Stowe Mountain Resort said the other day. "Here's a statistic for you: We get a larger return on a message to 2,000 people on Twitter than to 20,000 via e-mail."

Wise and fellow resort reps were at Mount Snow the other day for a gathering of the faithful to talk about the Vermont ski industry.

JJ Toland of Sugarbush said social media are valuable to resorts because they have the metrics to measure the dollar impact.

That knowledge appears to be driving decisions by resorts and other advertisers to shift dollars away from print and toward electronic media.

Bonnie MacPherson of Okemo said she blasts scoops as Tweets, and uses Facebook for the ongoing contact with skiers and riders.

"Okemo has more than 6,000 fans and we use that platform to launch special deals like an early season Facebook Friday, where FB fans RSVP'd to an invitation to ski for deep discounts. We’re doing another Facebook fan day tomorrow: $49 lift ticket with first-tracks access at 8:30," MacPherson said.

"We're all tweeting on Twitter and re-tweeting each others’ tweets for broader reach. Our Web master tweets, both snow reporters tweet, and I tweet.

"From a PR perspective, both Facebook and Twitter are where I release news first. I can summarize a press release in 140 characters and have it out there before the press release is written, distributed and posted on our Web site (also available as RSS). I also use both to post news clips with links to stories that contain information about Okemo. Rather than inundate friends and followers with every clip that contains the word Okemo, I usually only run links of big publications: New York Times, OnTheSnow, and so forth," she said

Eric Friedman said Mad River uses social media to foster the sense of community that always has characterized the Glen.

Karen Bushie of Smugglers' Notch said her resort uses Facebook for customer service info, and Twitter to blast out news alerts.

Tom Horrocks of Killington said, "Social media is another tool in the toolbox of how we communicate. We still have to have some to action, a Web site, a press release, something to supplement a 140-character Tweet. From an advertising standpoint these tools are excellent because we can measure the metrics, geo-target, go after specific demographics."

Bottom line? "Use all the tools in the toolbox," Horrocks said.

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