By Sam Collentine, Meteorologist Posted 1 year ago December 15, 2022

Your Essential Tools for Tracking Storms & Planning Powder Days

When it comes to tracking storms, you can either dig through multiple clunky websites and spend hours sifting through weather data or you can check OpenSnow, your one-stop-shop for dialing in the details for your next powder day.

Need an example? Here's how we used all of the tools available on OpenSnow to plan for the storm that brought 3 FEET to Steamboat from Monday, December 12 through Wednesday, December 14, 2022.

We checked our Favorites in the OpenSnow app on Friday, December 9, and noticed the storm for the week of December 12 was starting to take shape.

The blue bars show snowfall under 6 inches, while the orange bars show snowfall over 6 inches. The color change is simply a visual clue to denote the higher snow totals and deeper powder potential.

It's exciting but we all know the details of the storm are still being worked out. Let's see what our local forecaster in Colorado, Joel Gratz, has to say.

We tap the "Daily Snows" tab and scroll down to the Colorado Daily Snow...

"The main story in the extended forecast is the strong storm that will impact our weather for the first four days of next week...from Monday night through Wednesday night, a wind direction from the northwest will bring the chance for consistent snowfall for most of the northern mountains."

This is very good news. Let's check back on Sunday, December 11 to see if everything still looks good...

Not only is there a new Snow Forecast Alert in my email inbox for Steamboat on Sunday morning but the forecast has bumped up.

Steamboat is now forecasted to receive 7-11 inches on Monday night and an additional 12-20 inches through Wednesday night.

There are also going to be mountain-top temps in the 5-10°F zone and winds out of the west-northwest. Those are prime-time ingredients for high-quality snowfall in northern Colorado, especially at Steamboat for this storm.

Yes, it's go time!

The next step is knowing exactly when the storm will arrive. That's when our high-resolution Forecast Radar comes into play...

Tap the "Maps" tab, scroll down to the large overlay button at the bottom, and select the "Forecast Radar" overlay to view forecasted precipitation for the next 2 days or...

Go into any location screen and tap the "Hourly Forecast For 5 Days" button to view the chance of precipitation (including precip type), temperature, snow level, wind speed, wind gust, and cloud cover.

There's really good confidence between the forecast radar and the hourly chance of precipitation for the storm to arrive by late Monday afternoon and really get cranking on Monday night...

Since we now know the storm will start on Monday night and the snow forecast has increased to 8-12 inches, it's highly likely that first chair Tuesday morning will be full of delicious powder.

Time to sit back, relax, and see what the storm brings by checking the mountains cam and being alerted with a Snow Alert push notification on Tuesday morning...

Not only have we woken up to a notification that Steamboat is reporting 12 inches on Tuesday morning but...

We know from the timelapse Snow Stake Cam saved in our Favorites that all 12 inches fell after the lifts closed on Monday night.

Even better news? It's still snowing with another 10-20+ expected through Wednesday.

It's time to go skiing!

And how did the storm perform through Tuesday night and into Wednesday?

Another 13 inches fell through Tuesday night and yet another 11 inches fell during the day on Wednesday and into Wednesday night for a storm total of 36 inches.

How was the skiing you ask?

"December 14, 2022. Best day of skiing of my entire life."

– Erik Smith, OpenSnow App Engineer & Steamboat Local

Start planning your next powder day and get unlimited access to all of the storm tracking tools available on OpenSnow by upgrading to All-Access.

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The OpenSnow All-Access subscription includes 10-day snow forecasts, high-resolution weather maps, expert local analysis, custom forecast alerts, and much more.

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About The Author

Sam Collentine


Sam Collentine is the Chief Operating Officer of OpenSnow and lives in Basalt, Colorado. Before joining OpenSnow, he studied Atmospheric Science at the University of Colorado, spent time at Channel 7 News in Denver, and at the National Weather Service in Boulder.

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