Vail-specific OpenSnow forecasts coming your way this season!

Oct. 27, 2014

Meet Joel Gratz of OpenSnow
For those who know and love Joel Gratz, meteorologist and powder hound-extraordinaire, the news that he will be writing Vail-specific OpenSnow forecasts this season is huge. Don’t know Joel? Let us introduce you. Wondering what the forecasts will be like? Read on!

Vail snow forecasts1. Joel, for those that haven’t heard of OpenSnow, can you give us a quick intro? provides snow forecasts for skiers and riders, created by skiing and riding weather forecasters. We write daily updates on where to find the best snow for various regions around the US and we also have a ton of data for each resort including snow forecast numbers, snow reports, and webcams. Many people read our updates each morning throughout the winter so they never miss upcoming powder days.

2. What can guests look forward to from the OpenSnow forecast, specific to Vail, that they haven’t been able to get before now?
Readers will get a quick summary of what to look forward to today and when to expect the next powder day. I try to be as specfic as possible, letting folks know whether the morning, midday, or afternoon hours would feature the best powder. This is different than a weather forecast. A weather forecast focuses on the weather. This writing will focus on predicting the skiing and riding conditions at Vail based on my decade of experience forecasting the weather for the Vail Valley.

3. Quick! We’re chatting with a meteoroligist at apres – what meteorological phrase can we throw into the conversation that will really impress them?
Orographic lift. This describes wind hitting a mountain and being forced to rise up and over the peak. This rising air helps to create snow and is a very important part of making a snow forecast in Colorado.

4. Which came first, your love of weather or you love of skiing?
My first day on skis was at 4 years old and I was hooked immediately. My love of weather followed shortly after when I began to track snow storms to support my skiing habit.

Joel Gratz skiing Highline on its opening day last season, December 6, 2013.

5. How long have you been skiing at Vail?
The first season that I skied at Vail was 2003-2004. A friend’s uncle lived in the valley and showed us around. I only had my east-coast racing skis at the time so 18 inches of powder wasn’t easy to ski. I bought wider skis shortly after.

7. What’s your favorite run?
First tracks on a run that faces southeast:-)

6. What does your perfect day at Vail look like?
It has snowed about 6-8 inches on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then another 8-10 inches falls Wednesday night with the sun peaking out on a Thursday morning. The third day of consistent snowfall, in this case Thursday, can often times result in the best conditions.