The Team

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, 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 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

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.

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 decade 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.

Sam Collentine

Director of Operations & Meteorologist

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 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.

Eric Strassburger

Director of Partnerships

Eric hails from Peoria, IL but lived in eight different places growing up. He learned to ski in one of them (Arizona) and love the sport in another (Colorado).

Eric attended Creighton University where he received his BA in Visual Communications (focusing on advertising, graphic design and public relations), along with receiving a Certificate in Business. He took his talents to the seven seas after graduation and worked on three different cruise ships over two years. After meeting his eventual wife on his second contract, they moved to Denver where Eric began a tenure with The Denver Post that lasted a little over a decade. He met Joel Gratz at an event in 2010 and started representing both fronts ( and The Denver Post) during the 2013-2014 ski season before joining OpenSnow full-time in July of 2016.

When not helping partners or hitting the slopes and trails, Eric loves to spend time with his growing family and cure his travel bug.

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 and hopes you enjoy skiing/riding Utah as much as he does.

Erik Smith

Mobile Engineer

Skiing + Weather + Snow + Programming = Erik

Hailing from the hills of northwest New Jersey, Erik had his first taste of skiing in sixth grade at Shawnee Mountain in the Poconos. Two years later he was lucky enough to tag along on a trip out west to Steamboat. At 13 he knew Colorado was where he wanted to be.

Originally attending Penn State as a meteorology major, Erik graduated with a psychology degree. Always technically minded, Erik soon found his passion for programming. He began his career working with windows desktop applications. He later moved into backend web development. Ultimately he found his niche in the mobile apps realm. Since then he has written or contributed on nearly 30 apps in both Android and iOS.

After working in the New York area for 5 years, the urge became too strong to resist and Erik and his wife made the move to Colorado in 2011. They wanted to partake in all the skiing, hiking & exploring this beautiful state has to offer.

Erik has been an OpenSnow fan since the ColoradoPowderForecast days. From November to April, reading daily snows has become somewhat of a morning ritual. When it snows you can find Erik glued to the window or the computer models, losing precious sleep while his family desperately tries to break his "weather trance."

When Erik isn’t writing apps, you can find him spending time with his wife and son, tending to his killer garden, fishing, traveling, or trying to fulfill his appetite for adventure.

Ben Taber

Software Engineer

Growing up in New York City did not afford many chances to get out skiing, but when it did those opportunities were typically on the hallowed ice sheets of Hunter Mountain. As the venerable Johnny Drama said, "If you can ski Hunter Mountain, you can ski anywhere".

The call of bigger mountains, softer snow, and fatter skis lured Ben to the University of Colorado (Go Buffs!). Boulder offered a stellar education, a burgeonging (now blossomed) tech community, and close proximity to many a powder day.

Ben has spent time in his career as a front-end developer, back-end engineer, systems architect, engineering manager, CTO, sales guy, and all things in-between, primarily in the Financial Services and Fintech world.

After enjoying a four-year stint in Sydney, Australia (where his daughters acquired perfect Australian accents), Ben and his family recently relocated back to the US. Ben currently lives in Snowmass, CO with his wife, two daughters, and dog - Milo the Powder Hound. On most days you'll find him either hanging with the family, staring at a computer screen, or changing elevation in the local mountains on two feet, two skis, or two wheels.

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…

Powderchaser Steve

OpenSnow Powderchaser

Powderchaser Steve has over 30 years of experience chasing storms based on his weather knowledge, and local knowledge of resorts on both the east and west coasts. HIs snow intel will likely land him at the deepest resort and almost never missing "First chair" in the process. Follow "The Chase" on Open Snow to find out where the deepest freshies may be falling.

Steve Stuebner

Idaho Forecaster

Steve Stuebner has a big appetite for outdoor fun. He has written over 10 books on Idaho outdoor topics, including Boise Trail Guide: 95 Hiking & Running Routes Close to Home, Mountain Biking in Boise, Salmon River Country, Paddling the Payette, Boise Road Cycling Guide and Cool North Wind: Morley Nelson's Life with Birds of Prey.

Steve wrote a science book for Boise State University titled Idaho Microbes: How tiny single-cell organism can harm or save our world. Steve received the Idaho Book of the Year award from the Idaho Library Association in 2016 for that nonfiction project.

He pens a weekly outdoor blog called "Stueby's Outdoor Journal" and talks about the latest topic on 94.9 FM "The River" on Friday mornings.

In his day job, Steve is PR & Marketing professional, working on web videos, press releases, blogs and managing social media for clients. He specializes in natural resources, outdoor travel and tourism.

Steve has bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and History from the University of Montana.

Julien Ross

New Mexico Forecaster

Julien was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico and was introduced to skiing at age 7 through the public schools subsidized ski program at Ski Santa Fe. It was love at first turn and Julien has been chasing deep powder and good mogul lines ever since. Julien grew up fascinated by weather and studied physical geography with a focus on meteorology at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. Tracking storms is one of Julien’s great passions, especially when it helps lead to fresh turns for all! When he isn't skiing or chasing storms, Julien can usually be found cooking (especially any New Mexican recipe with red and green chile!), playing tennis, or fly-fishing. Julien is an avid traveler and fluent in Spanish and conversational in German.

Alan Smith

British Columbia Forecaster

Alan grew up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Greenville, South Carolina, and in spite of the southerly location he became obsessed with snow, weather, and the outdoors.

He went on to earn a B.S. in Meteorology from Metro State University of Denver in 2014 and has been working in the private sector of meteorology since 2013. Alan has forecasted for skiers all over the West and especially the Northern Rockies, including British Columbia and Alberta. When not on the slopes, Alan enjoys hiking, mountain biking, peak bagging, and spending time with his fiancé and two black labs. He lives in Jackson, Wyoming and also writes forecasts for local websites.