High pressure fronts, dumps, low pressure fronts, La Niña’s, El Niño’s. What does it all mean? We ski and snowboard junkies are an optimistic bunch, which is necessary, especially when you never know where your next fix is going to come from. Have you noticed though, that this optimism tends to bring out the amateur meteorologist in some people? Don’t get me wrong, I fall into that “some people” category too.
Think about it. How many times have you heard that the next storm is supposed to unleash obscene amounts of powder because of the updraft, variable low pressure fronts, lake effect, or some other such thing? You roll with it though because sometimes, Joey/Sally at the bar/lift line is right, and that low pressure slipstream is going to unleash all sorts of fun for you. Oftentimes, though, these meteorological wunderkinds are simply regurgitating things, or parts of things that they’ve picked up over the years. Like some weather specific adult version of the telephone game, we pass around these buzz words with an underlying sense of hope that they come true. It’s truly part of the fun of winter because some part of you knows that what’s coming out Joey/Sally’s mouth is complete nonsense, but you smile, pass along those words of wisdom and hope that a storm materializes and proves them right.
While this banter is an everyday part of the winter for us, every once in a while it’s nice to actually have a good idea about what may or may not happen with future storms. There are a ton of blogs and websites out there that claim to have the weather forecast down, but I prefer the ones that make no such claims. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) is always a good call because it gives you an unbiased, fairly accurate weather report. The downside though, is that they don’t specialize in any region, so it serves as a good general guideline, and that’s about it.
And then you’ve got Joel Gratz and Open Snow. This is my go-to because Joel is an AVID skier who happens to be an AVID (and real) meteorologist. With different meteorologists specializing in different regions, Open Snow provides daily forecasting that breaks things down for the average guy or girl and breaks the mold on traditional weather reporting in the process. They track their accuracy on each storm and call out when they’re off, which surprisingly, isn’t that often. The best part though, is that they are as passionate about skiing and riding as we are, which makes them equally invested in the next possible storm.
Rejoice in the buildup of excitement surrounding the storm Du Jour, and smile when you hear that the doughnut effect is going to deliver a pow day worthy of a snorkel. I hope it does! Let’s face it, if someone told me that an upcoming trip was well planned because a recent yeti sighting brings good tidings of a low pressure system which promises to deliver the most epic snow I’ve ever seen; I’d go with it. Call me an optimist.