Had a chance last night to hear the infamous Joel Gratz speak last night at the Salto Cafe in Nederland. I had never heard of Joel Gratz until we moved to Nederland four years ago. A guy I knew who was a hard core skier who lived here told me there was some guy who had a website that forecast where and when the good powder days would be — aka, Joel Gratz. It was fun hearing his story last night — a guy with a meteorology background who thought he could do a better job predicting powder for skiing than the professionals. Started off just sending e-mails to his friends, that started to spread, and then started his own website predicting powder days in Colorado. Now, he has a nation-wide business, providing powder forecasts all over North America, with over a million folowers of his forecasts and website, OpenSnow.com.
It’s easy to see how this took off in Colorado of all places, because people who live here take their skiing very seriously, myself included. When thinking about employment, I factor in opportunities for skiing, both in frequency and days of the week. For a lot of people, they get turned off by jobs that require weekend work, but I feel the opposite. I love working in retail, because I get days off during the week, and can ski on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when there are no lift lines, no I-70 traffic and I can have all that powder snow to myself. Literally, some businesses in Boulder will allow their employees to have “powder days” as a perk. Other employees just do the old-fashioned thing, and take a “sick” or “mental health” day for those epic powder days. Given the that you are potentially putting your job at risk, it’s understandable how someone who could accurately predict the where and when of powder would attract a huge following.
So for those of us who fantasize about the perfect powder ski day, OpenSnow is a great resource. In a bit of irony, coinciding with Joe’s humorous and informative talk last night, we are finally seeing a change in the weather pattern here that is more conducive to snowstorms coming through. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow….