The Team

Staff

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 ColoradoPowderForecast.com, 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 OpenSnow.com 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.

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 OpenSnow.com. 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 (OpenSnow.com 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.

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.

Mike DiLorenzo

Software Engineer

Mike grew up in upstate New York where he learned to snowboard on the icy slopes of the Berkshires at night. Before attending college he was riding an ancient mountain bike on ATV trails and taking friends on day trips up the rocks and roots of the southern Adirondacks.

Mike attended the University of New Hampshire where he studied computer science. He got a nicer mountain bike and began riding singletrack trails and eventually started climbing 4000 footers in the White Mountains. After graduating he worked for a bit and then hiked the Appalachian Trail. That 6 month hike led to two more long distance hikes of the Pacific Crest and Continental Divide trail, and in between those long hikes he visited all but two of the 111 peaks in the north east above 4000 feet.

Mike eventually moved to Colorado to be closer to the mountains and wide open spaces of the west in 2005 and started building websites for software companies in 2006. While he loved computer programming, he wanted to build software that people could interact with, and web development allowed him to combine his analytical and artistic sides. He's been working as a front end web developer ever since!

Now a days, Mike lives in Boulder with his wife and two boys. When he's not crafting a better user experience in the browser or cooking tasty meals for the family, you'll find him mountain biking, cross country skiing, or hiking in the local mountains. And just as often you'll find him at home, tending his garden, working on a landscaping project or his latest DIY project.

OpenSnow Forecasters

Bryan Allegretto

California 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.

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

Alan Smith

Northwest Meteorologist

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.

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 Snow 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 Meteorologist

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.

Jay Cordeira

New England Meteorologist

Jay Cordeira is from New England and has a BS in Meteorology in a MS and PhD in atmospheric science. After working as a research meteorologist in Boulder for NOAA in 2012 and in San Diego for a weather-software company in 2013, he returned to New England and is now a professor at Plymouth State University. When he’s not teaching, Jay is doing hydro-meteorology research that focuses on storms called "atmospheric rivers" that produce a large majority of heavy rain, big snows, and flooding across the western U.S. When he’s not doing research, you will likely find him traversing a ridgeline on a 15-mile run, topping out on a climb at Rumney, bombing down a ski trail, or floating in the middle of a lake.

Zach Butler

Mid-Atlantic Meteorologist

Zach is from Bethesda, Maryland where his parents took him outdoors to hike, ski, and camp at a young age. Spending time in the mountains year-round throughout his life built a passion for the outdoors and studying weather systems. From 2014-2018, he attended the State University of New York at Oswego to obtain his B.S. in meteorology. He studied and forecasted lake-effect snow systems in upstate New York for the NY Department of Transportation and local school districts. After achieving his undergraduate degree, Zach got a real taste of his passions when he interned at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire. Experiencing over 100mph winds and studying extreme weather and climate in a rugged environment was a lifelong dream complete.

Zach started at Plymouth State University in the Fall of 2019 to obtain a M.S. in Applied Meteorology where he started forecasting at OpenSnow, continuing research in snow science on Mount Washington while also ski instructing at Loon Mountain. When not studying weather or snow-chasing, Zach is hiking, rock climbing, fishing, camping, and baking some delicious bread by the end of the day!

Mike Korotkin

Southern California Meteorologist

Mike’s love for meteorology and the weather started when he was a little kid. In the 4th Grade he gave a book report on Hurricanes and was forever hooked on forecasting the weather and just experiencing it. His parents complained that he had the Weather Channel on too often! He started reading weather blogs as soon as he got a computer. Mike grew up in Southern California right on the Pacific Ocean. He never felt quite at home by the beach so right after graduating high school he moved to the place his heart was pulling him towards: The Sierra Nevada Mountains. He quickly began his now lifelong passion for backpacking and climbing mountains. By moving to South Lake Tahoe he had the opportunity to spend his summers hiking the Sierra Nevada mountain range and climbing the Sierra Peaks Section List (SPS). He’s climbed 134 mountains on the list out of 247. He’s hoping to finish in the next decade.

After completing his Associates Degree at the community college in Lake Tahoe he finished his Bachelors Degree in Atmospheric Science at the University of California, Berkeley. One thing was certain, Mike wanted to be back in the mountains climbing and living in the snow. He moved back to Lake Tahoe after graduation and started working to save up money for Grad School. Mike’s passion for meteorology and teaching meant he needed to get a Masters Degree. While living in Tahoe over the past decade Mike started reading Bryan’s Tahoe Weather Discussion Blog and eventually Tahoe’s OpenSnow blog.

Interestingly enough Mike’s experience with skiing didn’t start until quite recently. Right before Mike started his graduate degree he learned how to ski and quickly realized there was no greater sport out there. Soon thereafter he started his Masters Degree in Atmospheric Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. While getting his degree Mike started working at the Desert Research Institute (DRI). Mike is a forecaster for the team with mechanical knowledge of the cloud seeding generators that DRI operates. He also assists with field work and data analysis for the projects. His thesis is focused on Mountainous Convective Snowfall (Thunder Snow) which combines his passion for fascinating meteorological phenomena and the outdoors. Mike also started working as a Forensic Meteorologist at WeatherExtreme in 2020 where he analyzes weather data, runs weather models and performs data analysis using Python.

While not working his day job or working on his thesis Mike is constantly trying to ski both in bounds and the backcountry in the winter. In the summer he’ll be climbing and backpacking in his beloved Sierra Nevada.

Croix Christenson

Midwest Meteorologist

Croix grew up in Saint Paul, Minnesota, no stranger to snow, where he developed his passion for the outdoors and snow. His favorite "chore" as a child, and to this day, is shoveling snow. This obsession with snow has remained a constant thread throughout his life, with a commitment to arriving early for first tracks on powder days.

He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received his BS and MS in Atmospheric Science. He worked for the National Weather Service, TV stations, and private weather companies before recently moving into the healthcare analytics industry. When not working, you will find Croix exploring his Duluth, Minnesota backyard by skiing, mountain biking, fishing, surfing, hiking with his dog Doppler, or just about any activity that gets him outside.

OpenSnow Athletes

Caroline Gleich

Athlete

Caroline Gleich is a professional ski mountaineer, endurance athlete, and activist for the environment and equality. She’s been on the cover of every major ski magazine, in award-winning films, and has summitted some of the highest peaks in the world including Everest/Chomolungma and Cho Oyu, the sixth-highest peak in the world. In her home mountain range, she is the first woman to have skied all the lines in "The Chuting Gallery," a steep skiing guidebook to the Wasatch. Caroline is a committed activist for social and environmental justice. She’s testified to the House and the Senate about how climate change is affecting snowsports. Caroline is based in Park City, UT. Her goal is to inspire people to get outside, live a healthy active lifestyle, and protect the places we love to play.

Chris Davenport

Athlete

Two-time World Champion Skier Chris Davenport is widely regarded as one of the premier big mountain skiers in the world today. Among his many ski mountaineering achievements, in 2007 Chris became the first person to ski all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks in less than one year. He has numerous first descents of peaks around the globe and has guided and skied on Mt. Everest. Chris has been featured in more than 30 ski films by Warren Miller and Matchstick Productions, was recently named one of ESPN’s "10 Greatest American Freeskiers of All Time", and is an honored member of the USA Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and Colorado Snowsports Hall of Fame.

Cody Townsend

Athlete

One of the most awarded skiers in freeskiing history, Cody Townsend has evolved from a California beach kid obsessed with the mountains to standing atop the pinnacle of the sport. From a successful alpine ski racing career to stunt doubling for Hollywood films, or skiing the "Most Insane Line Ever" to ski mountaineering North America’s "Fifty Classic Ski Descents", Townsend skis some of the most challenging and dangerous lines all with an affable nature and a smile on his face.