How a powder hound turned his passion for meteorology into the go-to site for mountain weather forecasts |

How a powder hound turned his passion for meteorology into the go-to site for mountain weather forecasts

Joel Gratz’s OpenSnow provides detailed site-specific forecasts, recent snow totals and much more

John Meyer
Denver Post
Open Snow founder Joel Gratz at his home in Boulder on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022.
Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post

When Joel Gratz posts a weather forecast on the OpenSnow website, skiers and snowboarders can be sure he did everything in his power to make it as reliable as possible. That’s because Gratz, a Boulder resident who skis 60-75 days annually, relies on those forecasts as well.

Gratz is a powder hunter and weather geek who started out using his meteorology degree to decide where and when to ski. Fifteen years later, OpenSnow is the go-to mountain weather site for Colorado winter sports enthusiasts — and even ski resort officials.

“I’m an only child, which means I’m a little bit selfish,” Gratz said. “I don’t know that I’d be able to work as hard on something if I didn’t have some skin in the game, if I wasn’t doing it for selfish reasons. I am thrilled there are other people who enjoy this, but first and foremost, this was me and my friends trying to have an amazing time chasing fleeting conditions, perishable conditions.”

During ski season, Gratz posts “Daily Snow” reports with forecasts, weather conditions and notable snow accumulations. A “Favorites” function allows users to get recent snowfall totals and 10-day forecasts for specific resorts and select backcountry areas. There are also links to webcams covering highways, resort mountain cams and snow measurement stakes.

He has assembled a team of fellow meteorologists to provide forecasts and snow reports for other areas around the country. Soon OpenSnow will add reports for European resorts.

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