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Like most skiers, we love powder. We get giddy hearing that snow is slated to hit our home resort, can pack the car at a moment’s notice to hit the road for fresh tracks, and have internet bookmarks that look like those of your local weatherman. When the early season, long-range forecasts hit the airwaves, in only increases the anticipation for the season to come.
But what do we really need to know about forecasting and predicting where and when all the biggest storms are going to hit? We caught up with OpenSnow’s Meteorologist Joel Gratz to find out the answers to our questions.Gratz let us know a few important things to keep in mind prior to storm gazing:
Now that you know the basics, here are a few rules and resources to get you started as this winter’s weather pro.
If you can’t make last minute adjustments to your ski trip, keep your weather expectations mild. If powder doesn’t show up, it’s good to have a list of alternatives or fun ski challenges. For example, try skiing every run on the mountain or riding every lift. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get the deepest snow.
It’s true, even the pros get it wrong every now and then. The best powder connoisseurs actually don’t have a 100% success rate. No matter what the forecasters say, keep your expectations in check and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
If you want to play the game well, you need to prepare for quantity. If you have the ability to chase powder four to six times each winter, chances are you will hit it right at least once. Go as often as you can.
If you are a month out from your trip, following certain websites will help you keep track of who has the most terrain open, as well as the current base and snowpack at resorts to-date. Here are three helpful tools to evaluate this information:
Once you get a little closer to your trip, here’s how to understand where snow storms are tracking: About 10 days out, you are looking for a solid weather pattern, not a powder day. Keep that in mind as you close in on where you are headed, and for how long. In general, be careful looking at 10-day forecasts that don’t show a range of options, these are often inaccurate and can change at a moment’s notice.
Within four to seven days, targeting becomes more reliable and planning for your trip becomes paramount. Here’s what you need to know within a week of your trip:
Within two days you can start booking your hotel rooms and heading online for lift tickets. Then, it’s go time:
OpenSnow has additional resources to take note of that can help you become the best weather pro on your block. Here are some pages worthy of a bookmark:
Simply put, pre-season forecasts are not reliable. As your ski trip nears, it is possible to focus in on regions and resorts that have a good base and will, in theory, ski well. The more flexibility you have, the better your chances are of getting the goods. Look for trends and use the time continuum to your advantage. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.