Colorado Tourism Office Keynote (October 4, 2013)

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Information about Colorado Tourism Office Keynote (October 4, 2013)

Published on October 24, 2013

Author: findOpensnow



Presented at the Colorado Tourism Office's fall meeting in Telluride, CO on October 4, 2013. The power went out just before this presentation, so you never had a chance to see the slides - bummer! This talk covers weather forecasting secrets for Colorado as well strategies to use weather information to increase tourism business.

Sometimes the weatherman is right! Meteorologist Joel Gratz Photo: Connor Walberg Wolf Creek, CO Monday, December 31, 2012 “My wife and I chased the last storm to Wolf Creek. By mid morning there were double digits and it was a full on powder day. We couldn’t get enough. Your forecast lead us to face shots...” - Mike V. “...then another storm will likely move up from the southwest on Monday (December 31st) and could target the southern San Juans with good snow (Durango, Silverton, Wolf Creek).”

FORECAST WOLF CREEK POWDER! + 6 days 12/25/12 Tuesday 12/31/13 Monday

It’s not fun to miss a powder day

1960 2005

How this presentation will help you: 1) Remove mystery of Colorado weather. 2) How to use weather to increase your business.

Hi, I’m Joel Gratz. I grew up in Pennsylvania, ski raced and instructed, then moved to Colorado after college.

And I started to miss powder days due to inaccurate forecasts.

And it made me mad!

So I learned how to forecast in Colorado, and started to share. Dec 2007 28 people email list 2008-2009 500 people email list 2009-2010 245,000 pageviews 2010-2011 1,315,000 pageviews 2011-2012 3,330,000 pageviews 2012-2013 12,000,000 pageviews

Big Weather (primary care doctor) (knee surgeon)

Actual Storm Track

16 Day Forecast

15 Day Forecast

14 Day Forecast

13 Day Forecast

12 Day Forecast

11 Day Forecast

10 Day Forecast

9 Day Forecast

8 Day Forecast

7 Day Forecast

6 Day Forecast

5 Day Forecast

4 Day Forecast

3 Day Forecast

2 Day Forecast

1 Day Forecast

Actual Storm Track

Front Range Flood Storm

Front Range Flood

Ft Collins Estes Park Loveland Longmont Boulder Denver

Weather is not magic. It’s physics. Forecasts are rarely perfect, but they are getting better every year. Study them, don’t dismiss them.

Long range forecasts stink! We cannot reliably predict snow accumulations beyond about two weeks. Seasonal outlooks are even worse.

But, we can look for clues about snow during the upcoming winter. Just don’t get too excited. Or depressed.

This is where we look for El Nino or La Nina.

Storm tracks for La Nina. Courtesy: Mike Baker, NWS Boulder

Storm tracks for El Nino. Courtesy: Mike Baker, NWS Boulder

But it is (probably) a La Nada.

Storm tracks for La Nada. Courtesy: Mike Baker, NWS Boulder

Perhaps there’s another clue. We set a snowfall record in April and a rainfall record in September for Boulder. Does this tell us anything about winter snow in the mountains?

It just might be a great winter.

Each line shows amount of snow on the ground for various weather stations, during winters after heavy precipitation in Boulder. 160% 150% 140% 130% 120% 110% 100% Dec 1 Jan 1 Feb 1 Mar 1 April 1

It snowed in Aspen during September. Of the past 22 Septembers with snow, 19 of the ensuing winters have been average or above. - Cory Gates,

Weather happens when moist air gets high 1 2 3

Where’s the moisture? Less moisture (land source) Lots of moisture (ocean source) OK moisture (ocean + plants)

Orographics get air high

Mountains = Precipitation Indian Peaks / RMNP Park Range Flattops Gore Ten Mile & Mosquito Grand Mesa Elk Mtns N&S San Juans Sawatch Sangre de Christo East San Juans

Favorable wind directions Steamboat RMNP Summit Co. Aspen Powderhorn Vail Crested Butte Telluride Silverton Wolf Creek

Vail January 31, 2013

Moisture in the air 10F 0F Temperature >> colder

The best snow requires... • Lots of moisture • Mountain top temperatures between about 0-10F • Not too much wind

Wind directions? Complicated. What about radar? Nope. There’s a problem...

Jamming the Radar

Overshooting the Snow 0.5 deg

Denver Airport Grand Mesa Pueblo

Steamboat Vail Aspen RMNP Summit Co. Crested Butte Telluride Wolf Creek

4.8 mile resolution 2.4 mile resolution

4.8 mile resolution 2.4 mile resolution

Weather & Tourism: Trends • More educated consumers, weather is a big factor. • Weather is not just a consideration but a driver of bookings.

Weather & Tourism: How-to • Create customer segments based on weather sensitivity. • What can this accomplish?

Weather & Tourism: Repeats 80% 35% Tipping point 5-9 uses See more insights on the blog at

What are we doing well? • Educating the audience & putting the weather into their (fun!) context. • 85% returning visitor rate.

Apps coming in November!

We need your help... • We’re a young, local business and... • We’re doing something right, but would love your help to identify how we can positively impact the industry.

How to plan 7-10 days 4-5 days 2-3 days

Joel Gratz

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