How it all started
Pete grew up on Sydney's Northern Beaches and sports were (and still are) his passion. Being a year round surfer his interest in the weather and what brought wind and swell etc. grew. When the family bought a holiday house at Anglers Reach in the NSW Snowy Mountains in the early 80's, school holidays in winter were now spent on the slopes with his cousins. With only one trip to the mountains a year, the big question was always "when will it snow?".
It wasn't until years later when the internet came about that Pete's interest in the weather started to focus on the snow and when the snowfalls would come. Now weather charts were accessible and there was also the opportunity to chat to other likeminded snow enthusiasts. Around 1995 the ski.com.au website was created and the forum there was the place to talk snow. Pete (known as ‘The Frog') started to post up his thoughts on coming weather systems and the chances of them bringing snow. The method Pete came up with seemed to be pretty accurate and it wasn't long until he began to get emails asking for forecasts for particular dates from all over the country. Recognition in snow magazines meant that he must be doing something right.
Answering the endless emails was very time consuming so Snowatch was started so that all the forecasts could be published daily for all to see free of charge. The very basic single page site began to get quite popular and enquiries came from snow industry companies wanting to advertise on the page so the keen snow lovers could see their brand/product. Pete's thoughts were also sought out for the planning of World Cup Aerial events held at Mt.Buller.
The number of visitors each year to Snowatch increased at around 30% each year (and still increases). The site has grown from just a forecasting page for the Australian resorts to a comprehensive snow site featuring the Australian forecasts, NZ forecasts for the South Island, snow cams, forums, accommodation listings and in 2008 we saw the addition of around 50 pages of new season gear in the equipment guide as well as a video forecast.
Now and the Future
These days Pete has a young family and lives on the Northern Beaches of Wollongong. He still works fulltime in his 'real' job (graphic designer/studio manager) and gets up very early 6 months of the year to do the forecasts before getting his two young boys up and heading off to work. The rest of the year is late nights working on the website. Snow and snow forecasting are his passions and Snowatch is his second home. Snowatch is still a one man operation and as such can be flexible which is how Pete is able to use it as a vehicle to promote the Australian snow industry, something he feels very strongly about and will continue to do so.
Pete is now regarded by many in the industry as the best long range snow forecaster in the country and the best part about that for snow lovers is that he doesn't charge for his forecasts..."I could never charge someone for something I can't guarantee. The weather is a fickle thing and I wouldn't feel right knowing I took money off someone and then got the forecast wrong. I don't need to make millions; it's not why I do it."
"Snowatch is growing all the time and will continue to do so. There are a few ideas I have about the future direction of the site but can't say too much at the moment. I will try to continue to build the equipment guide and I encourage any importers or reps to send in their product info as it's also free to be in it. One thing I would like is to spend more time in the mountains. One week a year is not nearly enough but with the kids growing up fast, maybe soon that will become a reality."
Pete is available for interviews and can be contacted via email: [email protected]
Pete with family.