By Cody Townsend, OpenSnow Athlete Posted 1 year ago November 7, 2022
In skiing, conditions are everything. There are few sports in the world where precipitation, temperature, and wind combine to create such wildly different outcomes of joy or despair.
From perfect powder to glazed sheet ice, the weather and its effects on snow can combine in the most magical of ways for the best ski day of your life or combine in such a way to chase you inside for an Irish coffee and an early retreat home.
The thing is, if you follow weather and conditions carefully, along with receiving assistance from meteorological experts like the team at OpenSnow, you can stack the odds in your favor to receive many magical days in the mountains.
Here are some of my tips and tricks and how I use OpenSnow to plan my ski days.
Look Far Out
Every meteorologist will immediately tell you that long-range forecasts, usually, 10+ days out, are about as reliable as an office printer. But when you’re chasing conditions, getting a general idea of where to go is important for making plans.
My list of locations under the Favorites screen in OpenSnow is set up with one major ski area that is representative of each general region around the world. That way I can get a wide scope of the ski world at a quick glance.
I slide the "Snow Forecast" chip all the way to the right to get to the end of the forecast window and then scroll down to see if I can spot any trends.
Use The Experts
Once I start to see a trend, I dive into OpenSnow's "Daily Snow" forecasts.
I’ve learned so much from the weather gurus that make up the OpenSnow forecaster team. They do such an incredible job of taking multiple weather models and combining that with their historical analysis and local knowledge of the region to map out what I’ve seen to be the most accurate representation of snow forecasts in the weather industry.
Little secret, most weather apps only use one forecasting model, while OpenSnow uses every model and weather tool available to them to get the most accurate reading of the weather.
Anyways, I digress, the Daily Snows really help me get an accurate read on the probability of the longer-term forecast. A narrative of what’s been going on lately in that region and what will happen.
The "Daily Snows" are the gold of OpenSnow and always help me find the best conditions.
View Detailed, Hourly Analysis
As the storm gets within a reasonable window or about 1-3 days out, I start to dive into OpenSnow's hourly forecast data. Their forecast data provides a detailed, hourly analysis of precipitation, temperature, wind speed and direction, snow level, and cloud cover.
You'll gain the knowledge of exactly when the storm is going to switch from rain to snow, what direction the wind is coming from, and what the expected cloud coverage is to help you plan out a mental map of where to ski.
For instance, if I see temps dropping at 5 AM and winds out of the southwest at Palisades Tahoe, well my first lap on a powder day should be something higher on the mountain and northeast facing.
While everyone else is taking laps in the trees in wet glop, I know to head up to the Headwall when the clouds part and go ski the Hogsback or C2 bowl in perfectly filled-in, cold pow.
This level of detail in OpenSnow is the difference between wasting your time and getting those magical ski days that we all dream about.
Tracking upcoming storm cycles with the Favorites screen, reading expert analysis from their team of local "Daily Snow" forecasters, and dialing in the details of the storm with hourly data are just a few of the many great features that OpenSnow has to offer.
OpenSnow is my go-to source for mountain weather and it should be yours too.
Want to learn more? Check out OpenSnow's "Getting Started Guide" to gain a deeper knowledge of how to use OpenSnow for planning your next mountain adventure.