Winds of change for Aspen’s weather guys
September 5, 2012
ASPEN – Aspen’s hometown weather guys are changing the way they do business, all in an effort to improve the business they do.
“Everything we do is designed to make us better, to offer a better service,” said Ryan Boudreau, one of the weather prognosticators behind aspenweather.net, along with Cory Gates.
The Internet service first launched nearly a year ago; it was free and featured in-depth local weather predictions, snow forecasts and avalanche warnings.
On Aug. 31, they relaunched the site as a members-only service. Membership packages include month-to-month access for $6, winter membership (through May 1) for $40 and year-round access for $60.
The goal in charging for the services is twofold: to funnel money back into the business, which in turn will improve the services the business can offer.
“We thought we could sell advertising to keep it going, but that didn’t work. So we had to find another platform,” said Boudreau, who still has his “day job” at the local airport; his business partner, Gates, works for the Viceroy hotel in Snowmass Village. “By offering memberships, we can funnel money back into the business to make it more user-friendly.
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“It’s unbelievable how well it’s been received. It’s absolutely huge.”
In just four days of offering memberships, more than 70 people have signed up. He anticipates even more locals and visitors joining up as the people’s minds turn to winter.
According to Boudreau, aspenweather.net will continue to post forecasts, which they claim are the best around because they are localized to Aspen’s “small, niche microclimate” and because Cory is a “wizard” when it comes to predicting the weather.
“Cory and I are human, we’ve lived here in Aspen for a long time and understand how the wind blows!” Boudreau writes on the website.
Plus, Aspen’s weather guys say they review their computer weather models every six hours. With the new membership service, clients will receive those updates regularly.
“Every time we update the forecast, especially in the winter, you will get up-to-the-minute updates via email and Twitter,” the website states. “We will keep you ahead of the storm and plan your powder days in advance.”
Boudreau and Gates will also be offering customized weather forecasts at members’ request – in winter, ask the guys what the powder forecast is for the next day, and they will tell you exactly what time to be in line at the gondola; in summer, ask them what the chance of afternoon thunderstorm is, and they will fill you in.
“Vacationers visiting Aspen can pick (their) weeks by asking us the weather trends up to two weeks in advance. What conditions would you like to ski when you are here? Bluebird skiing or a stormy snowy week of skiing,” the website reads. “Just become a member and email us your questions. We can give you an idea of the weather for your vacation here in Aspen/Snowmass.”
In fact, the tourist and second-homeowner market is where Boudreau and Gates hope to expand their business. They say they have the best live HD webcam streaming, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so all members can stay in the loop on Aspen’s weather. For pilots, they call it a “game changer for seeing your approach into Aspen.”
But really, for Boudreau, the game-changer would be having an Aspen storefront – “you know, everyone would stop by for coffee and doughnuts and to get their weather forecast. … I’d love that.”