stuart cosgrove
Matthew Higgins

Review of "Tour #7: Big sky tornado tour" by Tempest Tours

General review

I chased two back-to-back tours with Tempest in 2013 and had a great time! Service was prompt and courteous before and after the tour from Tempest's administration and I particularly valued the introductory email from them a couple of weeks before the tour to introduce the tour guests to the guides and to each other. During the tours the driving was particularly good (kept to speed limits, drove safely and defensively - I felt very safe in their hands) and both drivers were very knowledgeable about chasing and weather into the bargain. They handled the chase extremely well. Forecasts were detailed and informative each morning, and well tailored to educate a group with widely varying levels of meteorological background. Questions were invariably answered fully and informatively. The chasing was run extremely well with a strong commitment to safety underlying all decisions but at the same time a very high success rate in intercepting good severe weather within the constraints of what was available on any given day. I thought the decision making moment by moment was particularly good, keeping us in good positions without requiring overly fast driving in repositioning moves. There were no problems during the tour that I was aware of. The staff seemed highly experienced and kept everything running smoothly. During down-time away from storms the staff had a strong bias towards scenic tourism and photography and took the group to many beautiful, remote places to take photos and appreciate the natural environment. One clear evening we were taken out for an astronomy night, for example, and we visited many ghosts towns and small local museums, and went to national parks. This might not have suited city-addicts but was perfect for me and for the other guests on the tour - a real slice of the great plains.

Vehicle review:

Modern, safe, comfortable, well maintained vans with six guests and two staff per van, two guests per bench seat, everyone had a window seat. Vans had good tyres and no mechanical problems during our tour. The only issue I had was with the seat belts which slightly obstructed entry and exit from the van, but I think this annoyed the company as much as it annoyed me and they had tried to fix it - but were unable to in any reasonable way. There was a very comfortable amount of space per guest, and the tour leader's laptop screen was duplicated on a big screen behind the driver for guests to see what he was seeing. I was very happy with the vehicle.

Tour guide review:

Our tour guide was Bill Reid. He was highly experienced and professional, bringing decades of knowledge to his chasing and making good, informed decisions before, during, and after the chases. He got us to a majority of the best storms during our chase time and on the rare occasions we ended up out of position I think he had still made the best tactical decisions based on the information he had - sometimes things just don't work out. He was friendly, humorous (if quirky in his jokes!), supportive, and a great educator. I would be happy chasing with him any time.

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stuart cosgrove
Matthew Higgins

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