The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
Steve Conney will go anywhere on a moment’s notice to find the best powder.
One winter, in the early 2000s, the Colorado resident was on his way to Utah to snowboard on the heaps of powder expected to fall at Snowbird Ski Resort. After hearing that the storm was actually hitting Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming harder than expected, he took a detour and headed there to shred. The next day, he returned to Utah to take advantage of piles of fresh flakes. And the following day, he headed back to Vail Ski Resort in Colorado to catch the first chair and shred a newly fallen blanket of snow.
Give One Year of 5280 for just $16.
Conney had completed the trifecta. “It’s really just a perfect situation where you can catch the same storm in three different states in three days,” he says. “It’s easy to catch one storm in two states, but to catch the same storm across three states in three days is tougher and more rewarding.”
The desire to seek out fresh snow is more than a personal mission for Conney. He also alerts other skiers and riders to resorts expected to get the most snow via his blog, Powderchasers. It has become one of the most widely used daily weather forecasting services for skiers and riders. The site, which Conney has operated for more than 20 years, has 38,000 followers on Facebook and more than 45,000 followers on Instagram, along with a similarly sizable list of email subscribers.
Conney, 60, was always fascinated by snow growing up in the suburbs of New York. “We lived on a very big hill, and it was a primo area to sled,” he says. “The hill was almost a mile long, so I grew up loving snow, since it meant we could sled.”
He eventually started snowboarding in the early 1980s in New England. The feeling of floating over powder on his board became one of his favorite sensations. There was just one problem: Many local ski areas didn’t allow snowboarders at that time, so he always had to seek out snow in unexpected locales.
Conney eventually moved to Boulder in the mid-1990s to continue a career in medical sales, as well as be closer to spectacular stashes of snow. His passion for finding the deepest snow soon became of interest to his friends, and he started emailing out a regular blog about where he thought the best powder would be. “I was looking at the [weather] data and doing the work to find the fresh snow, so it was easy for me to write it down and share it with my friends,” Conney says.
Social media, where Conney would share his insights on which resorts were set to get the most snow, is ultimately what caused Powderchasers to catch on with the masses. “When the social media [presence] started growing, so did the email list,” Conney says.
Over time, Conney added employees to help him market the brand, as well as forecast powder at resorts throughout North America. The team has in-depth knowledge of the type of weather conditions that lead to epic snow at various ski areas. For example, a slight change in wind can make all the difference for how much snow a specific location might get. They also communicate the potential for powder in an easy-to-understand and amusing manner (i.e. a snorkel alert occurs when a place is expected to get more than 24 inches of snow).
Most of Powderchasers’ basic, daily forecasts are free thanks to the group’s many recognizable sponsors, including the Ikon Pass and TireRack.com. If you want more in-depth, personalized forecasts, you can sign up for the concierge service (starting at $95), which offers custom trip-planning options.
“Forecasting and chasing deep powder is my passion, regardless of how many followers we have,” Conney says. “I will always prioritize chasing powder and finding the best conditions, and I hope people continue to enjoy the chase.”