S1, E3: Powderball – Chris Steiner

Episode 3: Chris Steiner – Powderball

On this episode of Next Level Skiing, we catch up with Chris Steiner who has the secret algorithm for chasing good snow conditions. Steiner is a Chicago-based father of three, a New York Times best-selling author, and tech founder. In spite of his busy schedule, he always manages to score the best powder days each season. His secret? Steiner created ZRankings.com, a site that ranks all the ski resorts in North America based on an algorithm he calls, “the pure awesomeness factor”.

If you want the insider scoop on when to hit certain ski resorts and why, this episode is for you. As a bonus, Steiner covers the various pass products available and details which one is best for you. Time to start planning your ski trip!

Listen on:


Ski Vacation Hacks by Chris Steiner
Chris’ Website

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Topics & Times:

[03:20] It’s hard to move to a ski town, but the best time is probably in your 20s.

[03:46] Since he lives in Chicago, Chris has to be cognizant of where he travels to ski and when.

[04:43] A good early season pick is Steamboat, CO.

[05:38] Because he has three children, he has to plan his trips more carefully.

[06:01] Chicago has a lot of direct flights to many ski locations.

[07:42] ZRankings worked with Open Snow and Google to create a feature that finds “powder fares” on airlines.

[08:15] Dallas is a place that offers a lot of great direct flights to ski locations.

[09:20] Chris loves Jackson Hole and spends a lot of his ski-time there.

[09:30] It has great conditions and is a safe bet during any point in the season.

[10:05] Come spring, Chris likes Telluride and other Colorado destinations.

[11:40] Utah is great all season long (any resort or mountain location).

[12:00] Utah has some of the best snow on the continent and its resorts are north-facing.

[12:15] Snowbird and Alta are almost always going to be winners at any point in the season.

[14:00] Fat skis have allowed more skiers to tackle any type of terrain, so it’s busier on more challenging runs, even though the skiers are less experienced.

[16:34] Staying in Salt Lake in December is the cheapest ski trip you can do.

[17:00] Skiing in Salt Lake is great because you don’t run into a large amount of locals.

[16:52] If you get a snow day, Alta and Snowbird will be packed. Solitude is a great alternative, even though the runs aren’t as steep.

[18:15] Resorts in California get storms that other places do not. They also have to deal with the effects of drought.

[19:55] The pros and cons of the Epic Pass and the Icon Pass.

[24:20] Crested Butte is in a remote area (the only game in town), so they can charge what they want.

[26:20] How your location often affects which ski pass you should buy.

[29:00] Winter Park changes and how they have improved the resort.

[29:29] Copper Mountain vs. Vail and Beaver Creek.

[29:45] Copper is one of the best spring ski resorts.

[31:00] If you only ski groomers, you’re not going to get better. When you challenge yourself, you improve.

[31:22] Nothing can teach you to ski better than huge bumps.

Listen to Other Episodes:

Intro – Next Level Skiing Podcast

  1. Angel Collinson – You Got This
  2. Jake Hutchinson – You Can’t Fake It Anymore
  3. Chris Steiner – Powderball
  4. Tommy Moe – You Gotta Pay Your Dues
  5. Jim Lindsay – Building From the Feet Up
  6. Dr. Tom Hackett – Get Something Out of Every Day
  7. Klaus Obermeyer – It’s Easier to Ski Than It Is to Walk
  8. Chris Davenport – Speaking the Language of the Mountains




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