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People of OpenSnow

Joel Gratz

Founding Meteorologist & CEO

Joel really (really) likes three things: Weather, snow, and skiing.

After a childhood spent ski racing and teaching skiing at Shawnee Mountain in Pennsylvania, Joel attended Penn State to study meteorology and to continue ski racing.

After graduating at the top of his meteorology class in 2003, Joel moved to Boulder, Colorado to enjoy the good life in Colorado and to attend graduate school. While earning a Masters in Environmental Studies and an MBA, Joel realized that forecasting snow in the big mountains of Colorado was very difficult and missed a few incredible powder days due to inaccurate forecasts made by himself and others.

Vowing to not miss another powder day, Joel studied the mountain weather patterns of Colorado and started sharing forecasts in 2007 via an email list called Colorado Powder Forecast.

In 2009, Joel moved his forecasts online to ColoradoPowderForecast.com, and this site became known as the go-to source for snow forecasts in Colorado. In 2010, Joel left his full-time employer to start a business around forecasting weather and skiing powder. And during 2011, a fortuitous thing happened and Joel met another meteorologist and programmer named Andrew Murray. The two teamed up to create OpenSnow.com and the rest is (snowy) history.

Joel still lives in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, home to an incredible number of supportive entrepreneurs. You can find Joel skiing deep powder both in bounds and in the backcountry, as well as hiking, biking, and chasing thunderstorms in the summer months.

Andrew Murray

Technical Founder & Meteorologist

Hailing from the fine state of Minnesota, Andrew is the brains behind the code and design of the site. He is a life-long skier, meteorologist and an expert in web design, development, and working with weather data. While studying meteorology and computer science at the University of Utah, he also built the popular site Utah Ski Weather.

After graduation, Andrew spent time working at NOAA’s National Weather Service as the Geospatial and Mobile Program Manager for Western Region Headquarters. There he was part of the team that developed and built Interactive NWS, a mobile alerting system for emergency managers. Due to this work, he was the recipient of the NOAA Administrator’s Award, a prestigious honor within the Department of Commerce.

After leaving NOAA, Andrew continued his work as a web developer in the atmospheric sciences field at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. After working about a year, he decided to follow his true passions for mountain meteorology and left to work full time with Joel on both Chance of Weather and OpenSnow.

Most recently Andrew made the move from Boulder, Colorado to Minneapolis, Minnesota and became OpenSnow's eyes on the ground for the Upper Midwest.

When not programming or staring at clouds, Andrew skis, bikes, hikes, and likes to travel to far-away lands and sleep on couches (with the owner’s permission, of course).

As the Technical Founder, Andrew’s main job is to feed the penguins that run the servers, take awesome photos and videos while skiing the slopes, and occasionally go buy the six-packs.

Bryan Allegretto

Partner & Tahoe Snow Forecaster

Bryan Allegretto has made a name for himself as the go to guy for long-range snowfall predictions for the Lake Tahoe ski region.

Bryan grew up on the Jersey Shore and his obsession with big coastal storms goes back as far as he can remember. At a young age he would assist his father, who was in charge of making sure the major highways stayed clear of snow, in tracking down snow storms.

Bryan honed in on his amateur forecasting skills to plan ski vacations full of powder into his highschool years. As soon as he had a license to drive Bryan was tracking down big Nor-Easters and purposely trying to get himself stuck in the middle of the deepest powder dumps the Northeast had to offer.

Bryan studied meteorology at Kean University and not long after graduating decided he needed to fulfill his snow obsession and move to the where some of the biggest snows fall in the country, Lake Tahoe. Over the past 9 seasons he has used his storm tracking skills to track down the powder dumps for the Lake Tahoe region. His forecasting accuracy has gained him a spot as one of the regions best forecasters.

Evan Thayer

Utah Snow Forecaster

It wasn’t long after learning to walk that Evan was learning to ski. Skiing fresh snow became a passion for him even as a child – and growing up in Tahoe allowed for plenty of powder days. Obsessively checking weather maps and reading meteorological journals eventually led him to making his own snowfall predictions.

In college, Evan honed his snow forecasting skills while studying at Colorado State University and skiing the Rockies. Many holidays, however, were spent travelling to Utah to ski the Wasatch where Evan found the combination of quality and quantity of snow unmatched.

Evan and his wife moved to Utah soon after completing school and they have lived there ever since. He has continued his dream of forecasting snow and skiing big mountains. To Evan, “The Greatest Snow on Earth,” is more than just a motto -- it’s a way of life. In 2010, he started Wasatch Snow Forecast as a way to share the best powder days with his fellow snow-lovers. Evan brings the same quality forecasts and weather discussions to OpenSnow.com and hopes you enjoy skiing/riding Utah as much as he does.

Sam Collentine

Operations Manager & Colorado Forecaster

Sam grew up in the small Front Range town of Windsor, Colorado and on most weekends during the winter, he was lucky enough to be able to fine tune his ski and snowboard skills at Vail Mountain.

Sam attended the University of Colorado at Boulder where he received his BA in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Atmospheric Science. While attending CU, he was a Weather Intern at Channel 7 News in Denver, a Learning Assistant to undergraduate level Atmospheric Science courses, and a Meteorologist Intern for Joel Gratz here at OpenSnow.com. In the summer following graduation, Sam interned at the National Weather Service in Boulder until joining OpenSnow full time in September of 2013.

When skiing or snowboarding isn’t possible, you will most likely find Sam mountain biking, trail running, or climbing one of Colorado’s 14ers.

Larry Schick

Northwest Meteorologist

Like a deep powder skier exploring new territory, Larry is on a planned, yet unpredictable journey of fun.

He grew up under the warm, sunny skies of Laguna Beach, California. Surrounded by breathtaking seascapes, he played in the ocean - enjoying an idyllic childhood. Think Norman Rockwell meets the Beach Boys.

He discovered surfing (board & body board) while surrounding himself with the joys of beach living. He soon realized the ocean offered infinite entertainment value. Observing ocean swells, waves, tides and beach topography, he deluded himself into thinking he had a knack for predicting quality surf.

He claims he really never saw snow until he attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona at 7000ft. From his home base in the dorm, he skied the high southwest including Arizona and Colorado to Utah

Much to his astonishment and his parent’s relief, he obtained a degree. He was heard to boast of a 4.0, but that was probably his senior year BAC. His diploma was in Earth Science and Weather Forecasting. But he wondered, what was one to do with this newfound knowledge?

He had a driving ambition to tell people about the weather. He went on a crusade to get his dream job as a TV meteorologist. After an intensely focused six-month search and more than a hundred resumes, infinite conversations, aided by detailed research into the television industry, then pursuing dozens of dead end leads - there were no interviews and certainly no offers.

But alas, there was a sudden change in the wind. Somehow he talked his way into an on air TV weathercasting job in beautiful Monterey, California. This was a charming piece of salesmanship and confidence, as he had no on air television experience.

Unlike most TV weather people of the time, he had a weather degree and sometimes actually knew what he was talking about. It seems people noticed that distinction, garnering him a growing and very loyal audience. He peppered his nightly weathercasts with humor, science education and always an accurate forecast. In this case, the college education did pay off.

Living in the stunning coastal city of Monterey, he skied the nearby Sierra Nevada in on his days off. He was hooked on deep powder skiing at Kirkwood and all the Lake Tahoe resorts.

To his surprise, a phone call came from another extraordinary place – Seattle. It was the prestigious KING – TV and they wanted him to be their on air morning broadcast meteorologist. He accepted immediately. The TV station manager was disappointed when Larry said he couldn’t start for six weeks. Larry was shading the truth. Who could blame him? A monster El Nino was in progress, hammering California. He had a season pass to ski Kirkwood. The “Wood” was getting pounded with daily, epic powder, weeks of dumpage, with no end. Also, during that month, he went on a seven day trip skiing in Canada. You can see how playing in the snow often directed his life and took priority.

He finally got settled in Seattle and did the weather on TV for the next two decades, skiing the Cascades, B.C., Oregon , Idaho and Montana. He won awards for his TV science journalism reporting and also a national award for snowsports reporting. His ski trips for the station were often cleverly disguised as a news report, blurring the lines between work and play to his advantage.

He finally left TV after 25 years of daily TV broadcasts. He now works in water management, as a meteorologist for the US Army Corps of Engineers in Seattle. He forecasts large floods, while working with massive dams, big water and flood control. It’s a fascinating and exciting job.

Larry cherry picks the best powder days to ski. He has skied more than 60 ski areas in the Western U.S. and British Columbia – including cat and heli skiing.

Larry can also be seen in Hawaii, reliving his early beach days and getting some waves.

His ride continues. The path is lined with fresh snow and perfect waves.

Bob Ambrose

Montana Snow Forecaster

Hailing from New England, Bob made his first trip West as a teenager to ski at Taos, New Mexico. It did not take him long to realize that ski racing on New Hampshire ice paled in exhilaration to carving first tracks down an alpine bowl on a powder morning in the Rockies…even on 210’s. Being ski-centric, he followed his passion westward.

After graduating from the University of Nevada with a B.S. degree, Bob moved to Lake Tahoe to work and… ski as much as he possibly could. Watching storms roll over the Sierra Crest into the Tahoe Basin was perhaps the start of his obsession with weather. Growing this fascination by analyzing satellite, radar and moisture data when tracking low-pressure systems allowed him to predict future powder days and most importantly, which days-off he wanted each week. His ski buddies had it easy and he seldom bought beers.

With all that money he saved, he and his newfound wife Rachel made the move to Missoula, Montana where the snow is lighter and the mountains less traveled. The knack for forecasting eventually grew to be part of Bob’s professional career. Being a producer of outdoor adventure television shows, it is his responsibility to provide filmcrews with detailed forecasts and thus safely preparing them for multi-day assignments in the mountains, deserts, jungles, and tundra. For almost twenty years producing shows all over the world his crews have always been 100% prepared for what nature throws at them.

Still living in Missoula, Montana, Bob spends his free time skiing Lost Trail Pass in the Bitterroots, mountain biking single track, peak bagging and fly-fishing to hungry trout. You may have a hard time finding Bob in the winter as he has so many powder stashes and doesn’t tell anyone where they are. Well, except Rachel…

Bruce the Snowman

Official Snowman & Powder Lover

Who is Bruce? Nobody knows for sure. One day he might be a snowman. Another day he’s a skier dressed in 80s gear. The only thing we know is that Bruce is unreasonably excited about snow, though sometimes he acts a bit odd.

When Bruce is not hittin the slopes or chasing powder across the country, you can find him enjoy the après-ski life, and flirting with the ladies.

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