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Episode Info:

On today’s episode, I had the opportunity to speak with Joel Gratz, the captain of a team of meteorologists at Open Snow, who love to give winter sports enthusiasts the most accurate weather reports. Joel has helped people chase powder and find the best snow for years. Tune in to hear us talk about Open Snow and how Joel got his start.

Topics:

[02:15] Having moderate expectations is important.

[03:00] He’s a skier, so he knows how to speak the language.

[04:05] You can get excited within 3-5 days of a good snow report.

[04:35] A 3 day forecast can be 95-98% accurate in terms of storm tracking.

[05:00] At 5 days out, you are at 90% accuracy and it continues down from there.

[07:50] There is no one who could consistently predict the weather for all the different regions in the U.S. year in and year out.

[09:48] Joel discovered his love of skiing at Shawnee Mountain in Pennsylvania.

[10:20] Joel has loved skiing and weather since he was four years old.

[12:52] When he started out, Joel didn’t have a strategy or business plan.

[13:05] Basically, he was surprised by the weather and found it frustrating.

[13:30] His method was a lot of trial and error.

[15:15] Joel credits his success to his team at Open Snow.

[15:52] When Open Snow started, they didn’t mean to make it a business; it was mostly for their friends.

[19:00] Skiing is better than not skiing, so you can’t wait for perfect weather.

[19:32] If you are on the fence, always choose to ski. Worse case scenario, the conditions aren’t perfect, but you still get to ski with friends and family.

[21:00] All you can say a week to 10 days out is whether there may be storms in a region. It’s very general.

[25:02] Wind direction is a key factor in figuring out the weather in the west.

[27:50] If you want to look at weather maps, look at them at the 700 Millibar level (around 10,000 feet).

[30:48] Open Snow gets a lot of emails from thrilled users.

[34:40] The snow report that you see on most apps is a 24-hour snow report.

[34:57] That 24 hour period usually covers 5am the previous day to 5am that day.

[35:13] So, you have to figure out when the ski fell.

[35:50] Joel yells at himself to keep his hands forward whenever he is tired and not skiing well.

Quotes:

“Science is always advancing and the only way you advance is by trying, failing, trying again, failing, trying again, failing.”

“We write the way we feel.”

“Beyond about 7-10 days, you’re really grasping at straws.”

Resources:

Open Snow

Wagner Custom Skis

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