Meet the Colorado man who always knows when — and where — it’s going to snow |

Meet the Colorado man who always knows when — and where — it’s going to snow

Every morning, thousands turn to the precision snow reports crafted by Joel Gratz’s OpenSnow to find pockets of powder in Colorado’s chaotic mountains

William Allstetter
The Colorado Sun
Hugh Carey/The Colorado Sun

Joel Gratz keeps up a running patter as he tabs through screen after screen of color-coded weather maps on his laptop.

“There’s another storm coming in … The trough is just meh. The jet stream is good. Temperatures are good … The euro still has a bunch of snow over Wolf Creek … I would still say 3 to 6 inches is the right forecast.”

Gratz, co-founder and CEO of OpenSnow, is running through the routine he follows early every morning during ski season to create his Colorado Daily Snow report. Thousands of skiers, boarders and backcountry adventurers are waiting on it, eager for guidance on where to get the best snow and have the most fun. 

Ask any ski patroller, instructor or expert skier about snow forecasts and most of them will mention Joel Gratz and OpenSnow, a website and app that contains a full suite of snow reports, forecasts, time-lapse snow cams, radar, daily snow discussions and more for ski resorts worldwide.

Gratz traces the origins of OpenSnow to a day in November 2005, when he passed on a trip to Steamboat where forecasters were predicting a few inches of snow. A couple of days later a friend called to tell him she had been skiing waist-deep powder, possibly the deepest, fluffiest snow in 10 years. He was shocked, heartbroken and furious.

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