Frequently Asked Questions

How do we make our forecasts?

We have three data sources for our snow predictions. The best source is a local OpenSnow.com forecaster who creates the snow forecasts by hand. If a local forecaster is making the predictions, then a small icon of a person will appear next to the forecast on each state page. If we don't have a local forecaster covering the area, the next best source is the National Weather Service. They make snow forecasts out to three or four days, and have over 100 offices around the country. Beyond four days, we use the American GFS weather model to provide forecasts from four days out to 10 days. Please share your thoughts or questions: hello@opensnow.com.

How do I read the long-term forecast?

It's almost impossible (and irresponsible) to provide specific snow forecasts beyond about five days. The uncertainty is just too great. However it IS often possible to talk about the longer-range forecast in more general terms, so that's what we show. Each day's forecast includes that day and night. Snow predictions will either be 0 inches, 1-6 inches (a little snow), 6-12 inches (a good storm), or 12+ inches (a big storm). We want you to feel like a pro forecaster, so we also show the confidence level we have in each forecast because trained forecasters know that most forecasts are perfect.

Forecast Long Term

The word "Lower" means we have lower confidence in this forecast, and the word "Higher" means we have higher confidence in this forecast. Sometimes the forecast doesn't change much, and this is a higher confidence forecast. Much of the time, the forecast changes a great deal from day-to-day, and this is a lower confidence forecast. We feel that our long-range forecasts strike a balance between providing the information you want while not over-promising our ability to make accurate forecasts out to 10 days. Please share your thoughts or questions: hello@opensnow.com.

What are forecast trends?

Snow forecasts often change from day to day, and this feature helps you pick out a trend. If the forecasted snow amount is dropping for a certain day, the storm might be weakening or arriving later. If the forecasted snow amount is increasing, the storm might be stronger than originally predicted or will be arriving more quickly than earlier forecasts indicated. You can see the trend using the arrows in each forecast. An blue up arrow shows the forecast trending toward more snow, a down orange arrow shows the forecast trending toward less snow, and a black equals sign shows that the forecast is staying the same. Click any of the arrows to see an image like this with more details.

Forecast Trend

You might be able to remember these trends in the snow forecast, but we felt like doing the work for you. Sound good? Please share your thoughts or questions: hello@opensnow.com.

What’s this thing about your dads voting your site #1?

It started in January 2011 when Joel’s dad was handing out Colorado Powder Forecast business cards like it was his job. So Joel gave him a shout out on the site – “Voted #1 forecast website by my dad”. Somehow, this tagline caught on. And after much persuasion and campaigning, Joel and Andrew’s dads threw their vote to opensnow.com.