Tahoe Snow Forecaster Bryan Allegretto of OpenSnow
Welcome everyone to the wild west podcast, where we talked to the people shaping how we think about nature outdoors and California's wild places, I'm San Francisco Chronicle travel editor Greg Thomas, and this pot is a place where I interview adventure, athletes and environmental advocates and the movers and shakers who are defining and redefining what we do. When we go outdoors today. We're excited to have Tahoe. Snow and weather expert, Brian allographs on the podcast Brian has been writing excruciatingly detailed snow forecast for the Tahoe region for the past thirteen years, and he's the California snow forecaster for open snow, which if you don't know is a winter weather forecast service that he helped launch about eight years ago. They have a massive loyal following of readers who check their forecast daily for skiers all over the country. But Brian is the resident guru for the Tahoe region. So to give you a sense of what that means tens of thousands of people checkout Brian's daily forecast each morning. And as you can imagine his predictions factor into whether weekend visitors decided drive up to home in the first place where locals go to chase powder and all that stuff. So he's really a fundamental fixture of tahoe's winter culture and Konami which is why I was so excited to talk to him for me personally. It's more about the snow than it is the skiing the snow powdered as our mazing. But I'm just as happier, happier. Sometimes just standing in the woods with snow dumping down around me. I just love snow. There's love being in it playing in just living in it. And so there's a emotional attachment to Brian carefully crafts his forecasts each morning, and he's become sort of a local celebrity around Tahoe. People recognize him around town, and at the ski lift people pick apart his forecasts and comment on his blog every day, and he gets his fair share of haters to as you can imagine. So we talked about how he manages all that. And what it is about snow that draws such. Passion from people. We also talk about his thoughts on climate changes affect on winter. And of course, I couldn't let him go without dishing on which resorts are his favorites. So to record the pod I met Brian on a sunny, weekday at the logic, sugarbowl and Truckee. So you'll hear some ambient background chatter every now, and then and just know that that's what we recorded. It was a great conversation. And I hope you guys enjoy it. We'll get to my conversation with Brian grow just a moment. But first this brief message. I am Susan's lesser Oakland. A's beat writer for the chronicle. And I'd love it. If you've listened to my podcast as plus attack. The players coaches executives and others around the team every week. You'll get on field analysis and off the field insight. Do you know, which as player lost twenty pounds on a diet of donuts? You would if you've been listening to as plus join me every week wherever you get your podcast as plus. All right. We're back now onto my conversation with California snow forecaster, Brian allographs show. So Brian you are kind of the weather the snow guru of Lake Tahoe. Walk us through an average day in your life. When does it start? What happens? How do you come up with the predictions and the projections? So there's a big difference in a day. Women dry spell and a day we're in a storm series. And so it could be anything from a dry spell like this past week. You know, we're all sleep until six AM have on my work done by nine AM because I'm putting together four different blogs storm day different. So what I I have to do is what time are you up on a stay at between three and four AM because I still wanna have all my work done by nine AM. I'm going to have the taco blog out by seven thirty eight AM is my goal and then have all four or five out by eight. So I have to get up earlier for bunch of reasons. One of them's because I have to calculate all the snow fall from each skiers. I have to take all their numbers. Make sure there's numbers make sense because sometimes their maths off and put all that together. And then compare that to what I forecast for the storm plus put together the forecast for the storm that day the day after so. Yeah. Anything from three in the morning to six in the morning, depending on the weather working till nine ten AM. And that's just to get the blogs out. That's not I'm done for the day nine AM. And I'd just sit around all day. It's then I'm creating content. The rest of the day new model runs are coming out. And after noon the evening, so I'm constantly studying reading keeping track of what the weather's doing all afternoon and evening, sometimes updating the blogs in the evening, if there's a big change in a storm that currently seeing and then during the day, I do try to get out on the mountains and capture content for people to see what the weather's doing outside. And then I go home edit that upload that social. So keeps me pretty busy. But it's a fun job. But it's a job. It's it's definitely a lot of work. Right. Sounds like it so between on a snow day between three and six. What are you? Exactly where does the data the information come from. So I subscribe to several professional subscription sites. And then just the one there, and I'm looking threes model, and I kind of have my favorite things some pretty fast at it. Now. I just go in there. I grab you know. The variables I'm looking for from each model, put them into this huge huge spreadsheet that created in dialed in over the last thirteen years and that calculates snowfall. And and then I'm reading a lot of blogs from meteorologist all over the country when it comes to like global, weather and just the overall pattern over the next few weeks. So that way because they're none of them are forecasting specifically for Tahoe. That's kind of a lot of it. And then like I said on the day after a storm at throws in the extra work of calculating all those numbers emailing resorts that the math Zoff and getting the final numbers and make sure they're accurate. It's interesting that you say that the math of the resorts is sometimes off do you get the sense that there's any intention behind that? Sometimes or that I'm not trying to paint the resorts in. Like negative, light or anything. But they are obviously incentivized to put out like a an inflated or like an an optimistic shall we say like forecast for their specific area. I don't think they're doing intentionally. Well, you have to understand is where they're measuring and elevated that makes a huge difference. Some ski resorts are measuring both base and some elevations which is really helpful squad valley measures that base sixty two hundred feet, and then they measure about eight thousand feet the top of the food Intel. So you get a good idea. What's the bio amount wants to top most ski resorts eighty eighty five percent of early giving you one number and if they're only giving you one number whereas number coming from is coming from the lower third of the mount in the upper third tippy top some of our measuring almost at the very top like nor star, which is why they usually have a bigger number than mountain right next to them. That's measuring closer to the lower third and some mountains have base elevations that are higher than others home would mountain goes right down to the edge of the league two hundred feet where you go over to alpine meadows. The base starts at seven thousand which is the same. As Sierra tahoe's well out in front of their parking lot starts at seven thousand. Kirkwood starts even higher than that. You got mount rose starts eighty two hundred. So even those base elevations can be two thousand feet apart. So you just really have to understand like when the skiers reporting where elevation reporting from. And then if you know what L the reporting from how does that relate to their base in some elevations, and they're not really showing that on their website. Very clearly, usually they're not telling you where they're measuring the snow. I would just assume it's at mid mountain to the upper mountain, I always call upper mountain measurements. It's usually from halfway up to higher. So I always say the upper mountains got this much. So that people aren't expecting that much at the bottom. I know most of the ski resorts measuring on the upper two thirds third of the mountain, but the snow reports, you know, that's an hourly wage job at most of the ski resorts that is probably the low rung of entry level marketing in the marketing department, so if you wanna get into skiers marketing step in and be a snow reporter, and then work your way up. So what happens is there's a lot turnover and. That's where the mass gets thrown off. Because I keep every single ski resort for the last thirteen years daily reports in a spreadsheet. So I can pretty much know when they're when they're all pretty quick. Okay. So you're kind of keeping them honest a little bit has that had any effect that you've been able to notice on the way that they report or how careful they are about it. Yes. Some of them the ones that I've closer relationships with for sure. I'll catch stuff and pointed out to them. And then I know they'll ask me sometimes to talk to this reporter and explain to them, you know, what we're doing or the I know that because they'll reply back and say, yeah, we coach this reporter again today. This is third time this week. We taught them how to do it. Hopefully gets it right. Starting next week. I know that like I'm helping them to catch things because you know, the director marketings running around with their head cut off like. So busy all the time. They're not paying attention to if the guy reports no in the mornings off by three inches, but I'm doing it. Because a tight Bay I used to be an accountant, and I just like stats statistics numbers on pulling on my blog to be accurate. The second reason though is I grade myself every storm I hate to be wrong. So if the skiers were always making sure that they fell within the range. I forecast I'm hoping they do. So if they're screwing up their snow reports accurate numbers. So I know how grade myself and then improve my my my calculator. So you get the sense that they have stepped their game up as a result because you're kinda sheriff of snow and more and more people are looking to open snow, and yes, you sense that that's had an effect in terms of maybe how much they invest in their reports or their methodology. I don't think I personally have that much influence. I think websites like ours though. The part where I think it's really affecting them a little more. Now is that you have more websites with more technology more apps coming out like ours. That are reporting and sending out snowfall hurts to our customers. Not just there's they're probably becoming more cognizant because it's not just a comment on their Facebook page. It's literally thousands of emails coming in like this is wrong. And they're affecting our business by putting it in wrong answers. There's it makes us look bad. Even though we enter the information. So looks back it up for a second after looking at so much data for so long. Are there any rules of thumb that you've been able to discern? I just get a general feeling looking at the trajectory of storms coming in. This is my thirteenth season specifically tracking storms for Tahoe ski resorts. And just feeling like, okay I've seen this before. And this is what happened last time and the time before that. Yeah. So how does being in your case snowboarder, but how does actually being on the mountain help influence your projections or your predictions about these you're forecasting? Kind of circling back to like when I was saying where the ski resorts measuring what elevating so just helps you really get a good handle and everything. And then you know, I have some friends in town last week. And they were like man, this is so great having you with us because I would give them literally the hourly conditions. I'm like we have to be out there. Let's leap in today. We're ought to be out there for one o'clock after noon because there's only been interest Nova crossing the morning, they'll be about eight inches in counting filling in by the afternoon that way it'll fill in over the crust tomorrow morning. We gotta get out by on verse chair because by eleven thirty twelve o'clock. The temperatures are going to rise warm front comes through it's gonna turn drizzle and all that powder's going to go to sloppy cement and this. And then so then they look at me the second day and they're like, dude. This is awesome. We nailed it perfectly yesterday afternoon in first thing this morning. So it's just like just knowing what not in the go win hours. Of course. I don't put all that out there on the blog. But it's just learn so much about. Where to be win. That was my next question is is there anything that you hold back from putting out on social media? Putting out on the blog putting out on the app. Not too much. Just not an overload of information and try not to be technical the whole point of open snow and Tahoe weather before that was to take a very complicated. Science and chaos of weather in kind of spoonfeed it in simple understand forecast. You know, like the evening news guy, but for specifically skiers skiers and how much note each elevation each mound. So I try not to get technical people. Try to push me to be more technical sometimes the mass of people the majority that are coming up on the weekends the ski and just wanna hip out just wanted to win and where to go with the snow's going to be like have you ever been tempted to direct people? To certain areas knowing that like there's going to be this amazing dump in this one place, and you kind of want it to yourself or you like don't wanna crowds to go there, you're tempted to do that. Because you're basically like blowing up your own spot every. I don't promote any specific mountain for that reason. But I also don't usually promote any certain mountain because our philosophy at open snow is that we work to forecast all nouns, and we don't favor anybody. So I'm not going to sit there and be like oh well. Alpine's my mountains. And then you just do social media everyday from alpine. Right. Just because maybe I bought a pass their, and that's my mound because we want to be seen as the forecast light for all the resorts evenly. So I kind of hold back from naming specific mountains and less, right? Like is coming in the other day. I was saying from Sierra Tahoe down the Kirkwood down the bear valley's going to get the most no most likely, so I'll do that on name two or three of them. And I'll do it once in a while. I could be like mount rose could get the most because they're eight thousand beaten up everyone else gonna get rain and a high elevation storm. But I'm only doing that just because of that one storm just bury careful about specifically. And I and I don't like one of Basham either. I just try to stay very neutral because I know there's people that love skiing trees, people love to ski groomers people that love the ski cliffs, I have all kinds of readers. And so I'm not going to try to put my influence on what I like to do. I'm not gonna write the blog around snowboarding at a certain mountain on a certain terrain that I like, yeah. There is the one secret mountain that I really don't mention too much for me will be home would and mentioning on this podcast now. But but I think it's a kind of a locally known that that's a secret mountain, right? Like people drive by. It's only the one run when you see on the road, and is actually much bigger actually has cat skiing at the top and has some nice bowls great powder for days after storm. So. It's a nice local spot amid all of the huge resorts that attract like so many of the and it's on the west shore. All yeah. So for me. Yeah. That mean, if I'm trying to scape- crowds and hit powder, and I have no one else out there. In rise old fixed grip lifts that make it impossible track. Yes, that's really my only like Goto secret place. But that was that leads me to my next question. Which is you've looked at these for soul you've followed. The this information for so long. What are some of the sweet spots? Tahoe. If you had to point to like, if you could only ski three areas in Tahoe for the rest of your life won't they be asked. This question a lot hope. So man, the first question came to mind, what are your top three or five ski resorts? Yeah. For me. It kind of breaks down by what you're looking for. I have kids in a family. Obviously the kids are seeing different train than than instr- interested in and some days. I'm I wanna see rumors somedays I wanna do trees and some days I wanted to shoots in rocks. So for me, I like all different kinds of each mountain. Kind of has it's own vibe going on more of a low-key guy. Don't like the crowds in the masses. And I don't like it and not over and lift line by think they belong in the Olympics. So for me, narrowing all that down. And I live on the north side of lake. So right southside resorts, they're all at our to have from my house. So for me, it's probably sugarbowl alpine and home would would be the three. And if you had probably nor star just because it's such a great family mount, in my opinion, the kids love it there. It's mellow, and they have the ice skating at the bottom and all that. So. Yup. Back to the relationship your relationship to the resorts for just one second. Do you hit the sense that they love you? They fear. You what's that relationship? Like exactly are they a little bit discomforted by open snow, and what you guys are doing. Or are. They really stoked do. They approach you guys like to offering some kind of partnership has I go. I'm always trying to think about that in my head because I get different reactions from different ski resorts ski resorts that have no interest in average out. Hey, can I stop by and give you some free t shirt and from swag? To say, hi, I'd like to learn a little bit about what's new this season. And they're like net too. Busy. Okay. So, you know, I'm not trying to sell you anything. I'm trying to give you some free stuff. And just I'm gonna talk about your mount a lot. But okay up to ski resorts like squall end their personal weather guy on there weather page. They pay me to do that. And I agree relationship with them. And they Email me constantly or call me and want me to stop by or Email them spreadsheets numbers where we last year on this date for percentage. No fall versus today. I gotta go to this meeting. And I wanna tell everyone, you know. So I've very close relationship with them. And they're pulling all our data on their website. Like, they're they have the widgets from open snow, so all the temperatures wind snowfall. Forecasts are all pulling from our site to their weather page. So it's that extreme from the one of the other. I'd say the majority mountains I have a friendly relationship with because they just want me to come by. I think most of my reading us, and it's very helpful to them for a lot of people the mountains and operationally. It's helpful what I put out there for them. So I have pretty release shipped with most of them. I think they like when I stop buying for free coverage for sure so ninety percent of them. It's really good relationship. Okay. I wanted to ask you about the reception, and the reaction that you get from users because you guys can in some ways whether it's intentional or not you can sort of make or break like a ski weekend for somebody. You know, the way I think it is the more they read if they're on their every day legitimately following along. And understanding what I'm saying they understand my methods. They followed me for years. And they know I'm doing everything I can to give them the most accurate conditions and snowfall forecast. I can and I'm telling him when it's going to rain I'm telling him what is going to be to winning lifts are gonna be closed on tell them like two weeks ago. There was a storm series of first week of January where I was telling people on social media and the blog don't come up this weekend. The lifts are going to be closed. It's going to snow. Four feet of snow, but it's going to be a hundred twenty dollar wins the whole weekend, you're not even gonna be able to get on the mountain, right? It's miserable. You know, it's not any what your time. Even though we're getting a lot of snow. So I try to be really honest with them. So they know what the expectation is. And I've talked amounts like again squall. Like, I say what what are you are you are you going to be mad? If I say, it's gonna rain 'cause I do their specific weather on their website for them and for them. Now, they say we want people to show them the parking lot. And know what to expect we want you to say raining in the base when it's raining at the base. And so that's great. Because that's what I'd do. It carries over to what I'm doing in the blog and gaining that trust. So I think we have a lot of trust from people who follow us. But then there's the other end of the spectrum. There's people who just check in for the first time or twice a season. Because that's when they're only coming up one week another year, and they're just like, oh, here's another weather site. And he saying this was go see somebody else is saying, oh, they're all weatherman, they're wrong. But they percent of the time. Anyway. And then there's the people who I think never actually read us. They don't actually read. They see whether forecasts coming out on getting blown out by the ski resorts. Like hype headlines that are being written by newspapers or online media. And then the ski resorts reshaping that information, and they're saying huge numbers six feet of snow coming while I'm writing there's like one foot coming to and and then people will come on my site. Like, literally go down the comments and start bashing me to vent their frustration. Because it didn't snow as much as the hype media was saying it was going to when I never said it was the snow anywhere near that amount. So for me, I've of got the feeling that the thirteen years that a lot of the people who have shown frustration or don't say, they don't like us. It's because they don't actually read us. They don't understand even know what we do. They're just making a sumptious about without actually reading okay, and assuming where like all the other media out there, but the people that follow every single day. No that how much. I want to be right. And I grade myself, I'm the only weatherman know that the day after every storm says here's what I forecast here's what actually fail. Here's how Rama was. And then I keep them up to date on where off how much off of the season I've been off between inch and a half to two inches. The last three years for the season. So people can come on my say all day long hype. That don't actually read me, and I have a stats now. I started keeps asked two years ago to be able to disprove it. And yeah, that's a good defense. Yeah. I can prove it all the statute show some storms off six inches under sometimes I'm six inches over but on average it's closer to two inches. Yeah. The last three years. What is the most memorable piece of hate mail or mean comment that you that comes to mind, I was just looking at one the other day that stood out? I actually snapped the picture of it because it's probably like one of the worst things, and it was a Facebook comment in the guy went back and researched me personally, and basically went on there. And was like, I don't know. Why anyone listens to you know? You know, he he only has X amount of schooling, and he's not a real meteorologist. And he doesn't know what he's talking about. And he goes as a matter of fact, I don't know why only listens to any weatherman. And they don't know if they're talking about anyone listens to this guy's a fool like, Bob, LA these guys. He just does this to get paid by the ski resorts, they pay thousands of dollars to forecast, snow amounts. That's how he makes a living in anyone supports that fool. And I was like holy crap. Like, which is all false like across the board. It makes no sense that Noski what's going to pay you to make a big forecast. They're gonna pay you because you have subscribers and you'll have this grabbers if you have a trusted forecast coming back to every day if I just constantly, but thirteen years was putting out ridiculous. No forecast. I'd have no readers and the, no advertisers. But that's an easy accusation to make you know, it's really easy for people to understand who are maybe in that same boat frustrated about the winters or just wondering how open snow works, and it seems like something kind of claim could easily gain traction among followers readers, and I wonder if you have gotten that sense that there's like a contingent out there. If people who think that, you know, open snow is whatever in the pockets of the ski resorts or something I think it's contingent. But it's a small minority as far as I can tell us for as we continue to grow and grow and grow. We're already we ought to third of. Skiers reading us and growing so. You know in those guys were hard time coming on their to there in the comments section on our blog a hard time. Like, yeah. Well, you just gave us another click thing. Like, you know what I mean? Like, if you hate us that much when read us, and they're still checking in because they want to know how much news coming. I think I think just in general. There's a jealousy thing out there too. I mean. We're not celebrities, and we're not rich. But you see that in that celebrity world people to slam slip celebrities because they're jealous because they're successful. They have nice houses. Nice cars like I think people just get jealous that for a living. We forecast snow and ski. Yeah. And they're, you know, they're not able to get out in the hill and ski because they're working at their job all week. And so they get on the blog into slam us because it's just fun to do because they're jealous, but it's never. Maybe a storm or two we will blow season and we deserved to be slammed. But yeah. In general, Joel tracks is accuracy too. And is never an intention to mislead anyone. We are. So our whole company philosophy is to be completely transparent, honest, and accurate and all we're trying to do is accurate and honest as possible there's no motivation behind it other than that. So you guys are the oracles. And so it's you can see how people who are so stoked on skiing or feeling antsy. Because it's the winner in wanna get out and really want snow can get passionate about it. But what is it exactly about on some level? It surprises me how much traction a site like open snow has gotten just by virtue of how wonky it is. But what do you think it is about snow or skiing or the mountains that makes people this passionate about these deep dive weather reports. That's the funny part of it for me. Just the part. I love about it. That's me. That's how this all started. Right. I'm extremely emotional about it. I'm for me. Tell people all the time for me personally. It's more about the snow than the skiing of the snow powdered as our mazing. But I'm just as happier, happier. Sometimes just standing in the woods with snow dumping down around me. I just love snow. There's love being in it playing in it just living in it. And so there's a motion attachment to it. I try to explain it for myself. If you explain how this for everyone else. I just try to look at how it is for me. And you're right. I don't know. It's I grew up surfing on the beach in. It's the same way. It's just, you know, riding nature like riding swell like energy the earth is producing energy. And then you're harnessing that energy and riding it as a human and the same thing with the snow is like nature's just pouring out this moisture in his energy this. It's something that you're going to go ride and the mediums are so different like surfing. There's never the same texture in the same shape to a wave and the same angle on any given day. It's always constantly changing is why so hard to learn the sport is because it's not like tennis where the court is a clay the same clay every day in the same net. Same racquet same bowl. And then he just keep practicing the better. I mean when every single day the speed of the wave height of the way the shape of the way the angle the wave is different every single day, your medium constantly changing. And I think that's the same with skiing and boarding. You got wet snow deep. Snow not so d- the snow light, fluffy snow cake snow in the middle windy days. Sunny days. There's so many changing mediums and people have what they like some people like Sundays. They don't like snip storm days. I love storm days. I like getting whipped in the face with cold snow flakes and getting on track powder because everyone's in the lodge, get warm. So I don't know. I just think there's just that human connection to nature and harnessing nature. Cher- and riding nature different in those sports like surfing and skiing. It's like, it's it's way different than other sports where you're harnessing manmade objects. Definitely. And I think there's there's a connection to our souls with the nature that way, and we get emotional because it brings us so much joy to be connected with nature in those those areas. So that makes me wonder because so many people go to these massive resorts often on the same days when the snow is good or projected to be good. That is the furthest thing from a natural experience for me. The last time I was heavenly. It was a huge mass getting up there. Huge getting home huge mess on the mountain. As like, what am I doing? I mean, it really made me reevaluate. My idea of skiing enjoying the mountains a ski weekend in Tahoe. Which is for those of us who live in the bay area, the most successful and and natural place to go. So I think that's. It just makes me wonder about that. Because I totally get what you're saying. All these people love nature wanna be outside love that feeling of skiing. But at the same time, you go to these places these days, and it's like the crowds and just like the pressure these pressure cookers, and it's just overwhelming. And so I just wonder like how how you reconcile like the experience that you want and that you kind of fantasize about the experience you actually get I think it depends. Yeah. And I think it depends on the person to like I struggle winnings. -iety, and my whole life is something that I've had to deal with and. People who having Zion. No, you you find different ways to manage your anxiety. One of the things I do manage my ideas. I don't ski on the weekends because of that. Because I it's not enjoyable for me because not because it wouldn't be enjoyable, but with my that ideal with being around large crowds and feeling the pressure to get first tracks on powder day on a Saturday when it's gonna be tracked out within the first hour to get up. There. Get I chair anxiety of all that just turns it off for me. So you're right. And so I think it just has to be like what what are your expectations? You know, if you struggle with things, -iety and crowds in Russia's a people and things like that trigger you then. Yeah, you should be expecting to be triggered when you up here on a beautiful Saturday after storms. But in general, I think. A lot of people are stuck at work all week. Right. So they don't have an option. So they have to try to make the best of it. And. In the mountains. There's enough mountains that you can find your area where you're you're off to the trails on the side. And you kind of everyone not getting run over. But you gotta know if you like powder, not to I like, it's not easy to keep out of people that call powder, and then up here and they've just ball down all day lodge hours. Like, totally wore out. They think they went powder, but most people wanted to snow during the week, and then they wanna ride the groomers on a Saturday. Maybe have the opportunity to go off the trail little bit and get some fresh pockets that are left over. So. Yeah, it's just what do you like you have to kind of know what you like? And I think when you were saying before about emotions, I was more talking about myself, and the people that have ditched their high paying jobs in the city to live up in the mountains inexpensive area. Make a lot less money. Just because we're that emotionally attached to the nature of it the weekend people are different group. Right. So I think for a lot of them, especially if you're like a once a year twice a year vacation person. It's more about like, the nostalgia. You come up thinking like nice hotel Hotta fireplace dinner downtown you have your favorite restaurant favorite hotel that gives you that feeling that you remember from the last. Years, and it has that your favorite hot tub, and you have your favorite mountain that has your favorite opera St. bar that you go to these X certain friends, you bring every time you have the ski outfit that you wear that you have or whatever you wear once a year till I see her. So they're getting a good feeling from packing the car heading hotel going skiing going heading up to their favorite mountain going to their favorite restaurant. And that's not a completely different experience in a completely different emotional tash than people that live here. We're just going back to our same house. We live in every day. We're not going to the hot tub, you know, anything fancy like that. We're just going home and cook in our selves dinner on the stove at our house that we go back to every day. So it's just two different emotional Tashkent's. I feel like yeah. It's funny. How it's such a different frame of mind. But you're basically doing the same activity in the same space oftentimes. And it's funny that you said you have you don't go on weekend. You don't ski on weekends anymore. I basically made that same resolution this year to to me. It's worth taking the day off of work to get up and go on a week day when it's going to be wide open and just chill. Even if the snow is an amazing, whatever it's such a different experience. It's so much more enjoyable, I really like come away from that day feeling chilled out relaxed about it as opposed to coming away from day at like a big resort Wynn super-popular on Saturday, Sunday, whatever and just feeling like edgy. And like I just had to like elbow my way through the day. If you haven't done that if you're just a weekend warrior. I mean, I would definitely suggest that you try it once and the fall in love with it is totally you, and I were talking today we pulled in the sugarbowl it's a Thursday. There's huge base every single trails open. There's tons in the mountains in the last cycle. It's beautiful. It's forty degrees. Look amazing and an hour at the mount opened there's ten cars in the parking lot because it's Thursday. So our experience when we go out after after. This is you know, we're gonna be only ones out there. So it's such an enjoyable experience. If you haven't skied mid come on up and try to I mean, there's people that ski mid week if you times fall in love with and then they quit their jobs in the city and move up here. And it's why they do that. Because they fall in love with that. Experience that's different than the we can experience for sure. Yeah. Okay. So in addition to looking at all of this data in Tahoe for the last thirteen years. I'm sure you've also studied the historic snowfall patterns. Yes. Is there any other any broad takeaways for kind of the late the layperson lay listener in this case that they should know about or that you think are particularly fascinating about snowfall in Tahoe. The way the weather interacts with the Tahoe basin. Well, the cascades and Sierra were right next to the Pacific Ocean. So. The clouds aren't losing moisture as they come in there picking up moisture off the ocean and then slamming in to the mountains, and then they dried out by the time, they go across the rest of the country. So the the amount of precipitation is just pushed most of the rest of the country in all of how much snow we can pick up and we pick up like the last storm cycle we picked up six feet at squall. Right. That's not twenty to one ratio Colorado powder. That's like eight to ten to one ratio now. So we're not only getting credible amounts of snow, but that's a low snow ratio to the mount of moisture in that's known about total precipitation is just amazing that we get here, California, Oregon and Washington and. If they get a foot us know, Colorado. They'll get a foot of snow off half an inch of precipitation. We need an inter- more. So that Sierras as everyone calls it, right? But yeah, that's why one of the reasons I picked here was trying to decide where I wanted to live when I knew I wanted to work in either the serving the skiing industry. Is because they get the biggest storms here. The most mounts now being of weather lover. I just thought how it'd be to live a place that gets three feet of snow overnight. We had to storms last March jump forty plus inches overnight. Where else are you going to go that gets that much snow overnight? It's just incredible. But yes, because we're right next to the ocean storms come into up all that moisture bam slam right in the mountains was lifts the storms squeeze out even more moisture than they would already be dropping down the bay area. There's obviously a lot of concern about Tahoe winters lately. Do you think winters are fundamentally changing around here, or do you think this the what we've seen in recent years? Recent dry years is just kind of a part of a larger pattern that you know, we might be on the down swing of a larger cycle any changes. I've seen just been so gradual, you know, we went through few drought years, which are pretty extreme. We didn't get any snow. Yeah. And then we went right into one hundred and forty hundred fifty percent of average snow year was huge. Yeah. This crazy. And then we average here. And in the last year it was tied with the worst season on record as a February. Twentieth. I think and then had the second biggest March in history and we ended up the season below average. But nowhere near the bottom. The extremes here. It's just hard. I think it's hard to notice here because overall climate change is happening. It seems like so gradually the temperature going up like so slow and the weather's changed but slowly because climate science rights climate science over decades, not over weeks weather is over the weeks. So like, it's sunny and warm today that's not climate change. Like climate is something that's slowly changing over long periods of time. And so, yeah, it's definitely the warming and the climate changing. But it just sitting here watching like, it's so gradual in the streams here. So extreme we had times in the nineteen thirties where we went like eight years in a row with like well, weld below average snowfall for eight years in a row. We've never had that many years of below average snowfall in a row since the nineteen thirties. So but we've had drought years. And then we have these really wet years. So I it's hard to say, right? Like, we're getting less snow. No. We're not getting less snow. We just had one hundred percent than average this year. We're above average again. But what I've started doing over the last ten years tracking the percentage of average rain versus percentage of average snow which basically would say like. If let's say. We have an average total precipitation average year, but the snow falls below average that would kind of tell you that more than the average number of storms came in with higher snow levels. So it rained and this is at seven thousand feet, I'm tracking so more than average storms came in with higher snow levels above seven thousand feet because the snow isn't the same as the precipitation. You would think if you have a hundred percent of average rain, you have this one hundred percent of average snow. So if the snow's at seventy percent of average why we bowl because more of it fell rain seven thousand snow tracking that just to see if we're averaging higher snow levels on average. It wasn't moving much. It was still kind of fluctuating until the last six years and the last six seasons. It's definitely starting to see like a definitive decline on the graph that I made that I posted last year at the end of the season. I posted it out for everyone the block so I'll continue to track that. But yet we have been the last six years at least getting more rain than snow on average. At seven thousand feet here. So something to watch. But. Like, I said it seems to be having so gradually. I don't think that like we won't be skiing and five years. I mean, it's gonna take a long time. If the earth continues to warm, it would feel like it was going to take a while before it's so bad that we're not skiing anymore. Yeah. No bills. Snow? We're looking out the window here. And it's huge base at the bottom of the man. So very gradual. But do you think that maybe people will have to re consider reevaluate their kind of conception of winter in Tahoe? What winter feels like what the what winter activities are? Yeah. Yeah. I think well like we were just talking about skiing and one of the things I've noticed. I've had these high snow levels the last ten years a lot of storms, and I'm always just saying people, what doesn't what do you what do you freak out so much you don't ski at lake level you ski up on the mountain. And so it's still snowing in the mountains, just raining a lot more leg level. And but then I got a whole bunch of crap from the cross country skiers because the snowshoe because all cross country tracks down lake level. And so they've been feeling it way more than ski resorts of feeling it with the higher snow levels. You know, most of the mountains, you can see the two-thirds the mountain and not have. No this much of a difference. The last ten years, but has rained a lot more at the bases and at lake level. So. And people I think people notice that it's been raining in the parking lots a lot more of the storms the last six years, but the upper mountains of Venice still getting averaged above average snowfall. So yeah, I think their expectation for cross country. Skiers and snowshoe is already started changing. Like, you're gonna come up here. If you've come up here in the last six seven years, you might be staying at the lake and a house, and there's not much in the ground or none at all. And but once, but then people get confused because they're like, oh, there's no snow. But then as soon as the mountain there's tons of snow because still snowing above seven thousand feet, most of the storms. So yeah, I think it's we gotta watch that. 'cause it's specially if that creeps up higher and consistently snowing seventy five hundred zero seven and eight and. The ski resorts to that. How do you? How does it open snow keep its edge in this space? It seems like there's more. They're more blogs. There's maybe more competition, or at least more voices. So what are you guys do to stay ahead of the state of the curve right now, what we've been doing is all of our money that we've invested is Ben into technology. We just redid the entire site this year brand new platform did same thing for both of our apps launched a new app for our summer. Program for the for open summit, biking weather, and we're working on a new website for that. So we're just constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve as far as technology, making sure everything goes flows perfectly from the websites and mobile because the big shift in last two years has been the majority of our users were desktop until two years ago. And then it was kind of fifty fifty two seasons ago and last year mobile went up ahead of desktop and this year mobile uses way ahead of desktop use. So we had to redo our platform because it what you saw on the website on your desktop book completely different than what you were seeing Moberly on your phone now, we made it so it nears everything and MIR's the app, and we have technology like advertising like advertising companies are they're not buying banner ads anymore. Like they were when we started doing this twelve years ago. They don't call you on the phone. Like, hey, I wanna put a static banner ad on your page. Everything's all through the cookies tracking. And they know exactly how old you are where you live what you do for a living. So you could be on open snow in one house and the next door. Neighbor is on open snow looking at the same blog. And you're looking at sue sets different ATs because it's advertising to you. But we have to have it technology on our website to be able to do that. To be able to get advertisers. We still just only accept the banner ads. We'd be you know, we lose all lot of advertisers. So we to keep up with that too. In the beginning set us apart. And everyone else was we started a platform that was a lot like surf line where we had the forecasters forecasting from where they were skiing like surfing was kind of the first ones do that where they had the surfers in each surf location as the forecasters on their site for the waves we have skiers forecasting for the mountains there skiing each. Any other site out there pretty much that's big as ours that's forecasting for the whole world or country for C resorts has one general forecast for each region coming out of one office in one state not coming from somebody ski resort in each ski region. So that's what set us apart and. You know, I still feel like, you know, everyone has their favorite app, but you know, being that it's so personal with us with Joel and Colorado skiing there forecasting me here skiing forecasting evident, Utah skiing. We're gassing first of all you'd have to be as passionate as we are. I mean, we all worked our tails off like making zero dollars for several years just forecasting for the love of it. Never in the beginning that I even think it was going to become a career. I was just doing it for the love it. And so you'd have to have that kind of passion that you're willing to work your butt off and nothing which I don't think people like to do. And then you start a site. And then you got to be able to find a way to get the first guy show up on there. And then you gotta be I mean, it is twenty four hours a day seven days a week. You don't get day off for six months in the winter. So you got to be ready to go seven days a week on top of the weather, and you gotta be accurate, and you got to have a personality. You can't be dry, and you gotta break it down and a feel like a lot of meteorologist don't like to do the dumbed down forecast stuff. Like, you know, they spend a lot of time at school that their master's doctorate. They're very smart people to say it's going to be sunny and light winds like they enjoy the indepth discussion stuff like the technical stuff. But the masses don't understand. They can't read that stuff. And so we were like that's great. But we're okay with you know, with Joel his masters meteorology, and we're okay with like getting on the website and just giving a very simple spoon-fed, easy understand. So you so you got to be able to do all those things and then step into this new market that we're merging into and have the money. Develop platform that can keep up with technology. So I think I think we stepped into at a good time thirteen years ago when blogs or I coming out, and you could just start a WordPress blog and go from there. And now, I think it'd be a lot harder with without technical. Everything is just like oh start a block tomorrow, you know, for the weather. So that's helped us just getting in at the right time. And being one of the pioneers of what we were doing. And there are a lot more of them now. But but just we just kept that trust the whole time and with our readers and just continue to kill ourselves and workers selves to the bone out of passion for what we're doing. So you guys recently expanded with open summit to. Non winter weather reports for the mountains wants to talk a little bit about that. I mean open snow was like we only care about snow, and now you've expanded right, basically, how start it was lightning strikes. The issue with people out hiking in the summer, and lightning will just come out of nowhere are striking trees around you. And you're up special higher, you go the more of a chance that happening. So started as a fourteen thousand foot and up lightning forecast in Colorado to protect hikers. But over the last two years we've developed into total hiking weather forecast for the upper elevations for all the peaks in the United States. We added over a thousand peaks this past summer when we launched that the app to now you can go to most of your hiking peaks Tahoe or anywhere in California, the west or the east wherever you're going any mountain you want to hike, it's a popular hiking mountain that you want to go up and hike and camp, we give you the upper elevations weather forecast wins temperatures all the things and specifically lighting forecast because that's really important. Once you give up ten thousand feet. So that we keep people safe to is there any other any other plans going forward with open snow? What are you guys thinking about next? We just wanna continue to we just build this new platform for the website. So we want to continue to try to give more and more the readers what they want. So we're gonna continue to add more features. We're really trying to push towards the subscription side. Just giving this ascribes what they want on our website, just adding more and more stuff to the subscription side. So that people who won know exactly when and where to ski have all the tools rather fingertips in one spot, so probably gonna focus on that a lot in the next year two and then continue to develop the summer activity hiking site, we reached out to sometimes by sites that are doing other weather like surfing forecasts or. Voting forecasts. And they're like, oh, do you ever think maybe we could merge one day? So I don't think it's the question one day, we would consider that maybe in the future. Once we we just feel like we have a lot more still offer what we're doing right now. And we'll be perfected that. I don't think it'd be outta the question that we could potentially maybe merger by somebody get bought in create even bigger weather platform for all outdoor activities or more act door activities just kind of expanding on what we're doing with the snowfall forecast, some exciting potential for sure. Our men will. I don't want to keep you too much longer. Brian. You've got some skiing to snowboarding. So thanks very much. Come on, the podcast is awesome. Yeah. Thanks for having me. Thanks again to Brian for making time to come on the podcast, if you wanna follow his daily weather forecasts, go to open snow dot com or download the open snow mobile app on your phone. If you wanna follow what I'm up to California travel. I'm on Twitter at Greg are Thomas, or if you've got questions for me or suggestions for who. I should bring on the pod Email me at g Thomas at chronicle dot com. Wild west is a part of the San Francisco Chronicle podcast network. Find subscribe on apple podcasts. And if you like us, please throw us a rating and review our music today is a track called fuzzy and true by the mini vandals. And it comes courtesy of the YouTube audio library next time.