Snow Business: Vail, Steamboat, and ColoradoPowderForecast.com

January 2011

Snow has been falling in buckets in the high country, swelling the coffers of the major ski mountains. Vail Resorts reports that its earnings are up across the board for all of its properties over the last year, putting up numbers like a 7.4 percent increase in lift-ticket revenue, a 10.4 percent rise in skier visits, and 17.5 percent growth in retail and rental revenues, notes the Vail Daily. Steamboat is also reporting increased numbers, especially in snow totals. The northwestern Colorado resort says it passed the 200-inch mark on Sunday, sitting at nearly 210 inches, and it seems destined to surpass the 261.75-inch mark it posted last year, according to Steamboat Today.

That's good news for Boulder's Joel Gratz, who has found a way to turn big mountain snows into a business opportunity. A meteorologist by trade, Gratz ditched his job working for a Boulder-based hurricane and earthquake insurance company to launch ColoradoPowderForecast.com, a site for powder junkies looking for any excuse to call in sick and hit the slopes. Gratz tells The Denver Post running his own website is exhausting, but he wouldn't have it any other way.