Evan Thayer: The skier who brings you your Ski Utah powder forecast

By Tom Kelly Dec 16, 2019
Talk about finding your passion - snow forecaster Evan Thayer is living his dream! As a kid growing up in the mountains around Lake Tahoe, young Evan just loved to ski. But he was also fascinated with weather.
Evan Thayer: The skier who brings you your Ski Utah powder forecast

Episode 3 - Dec. 16, 2019

Talk about finding your passion - snow forecaster Evan Thayer is living his dream! As a kid growing up in the mountains around Lake Tahoe, young Evan just loved to ski. But he was also fascinated with weather. Today, Thayer is truly living out his fantasy job spending his days hopscotching across Utah resorts and his early morning hours bringing you the day’s powder forecast through his role at OpenSnow.com.

Following his time at college in Colorado, Thayer was working as a computer programmer. Then fate stepped in when his wife got a job in Utah. Just for fun, he started an email list among new Utah friends with his daily forecasts. That blossomed to a blog, Wasatch Snow Forecast, then a job at Ski Utah. The rest is history as Thayer spends most of his winter days on skis, doing on-mountain forecasts and keeping an index of his favorite runs.

Tune in to Last Chair to hear Evan’s story and pick up a few tips on what to watch and where to ski or ride.

Evan Thayer

Episode 3 - Transcript

00:00:10- Welcome back to Utah. Skiers and riders past week, more training has been coming online at resorts around the state as we head up to the holidays.

00:00:17- Coming up, shortly after a sensational Thanksgiving weekend, storm after storm is buffeted the mountains, creating some sweet early seasons skiing and riding around Utah. So where does that fluffy white Utah powder come from? Today, we're going to explore both the science and the culture of snow forecasting with one of the best. Think about all of the facets that go into weather that produces the greatest snow on earth. Here in Utah, weather impacts us every single day. Our guest today has been fair, moved to Utah a decade ago and has never looked back from the snow forecasting. Bloggy started in 2010 to a role as Ski Utah's weatherman and now his job today reporting for open snow. Evan Fehr has been in the middle of the storm, giving all of us amazing insight as we plan our ski and snowboard days. Evan, welcome to Last Chair. Great to have you join us.

00:01:09- Thanks, Tom. It's an honor to be here.

00:01:11- You know, it's been an amazing season. I know as a skier, I've had a blast. I think you probably as a weather forecaster have been having a great year so far.

00:01:19- Yeah, I've had a you know, I've had a number of powder days and conditions couldn't be better.

00:01:23- I'm as happy as could be now as a forecaster, when you get this kind. I know you're a skier, too, so you're kind of thinking, OK, I want this powder to come. But as a forecaster, how does it feel to be able to give that early season weather to get people fired up to start the year?

00:01:39- It's always enjoyable. Everybody's really excited early in the season. They spend all summer kind of slowly. They think they're, you know, tired out from skiing or boarding. And then as summer wears on and the heat wears on them, they start getting more and more excited. So throughout the fall, you just feel that excitement building. So when it finally does start snowing, everybody is just pumped.

00:02:01- Well, let's talk a little bit about your background and how you found your way here to Utah. I know you grew up in Tahoe. And tell us about your pathway that took you here to the greatest snow on Earth.

00:02:11- Like you said, I grew up in the Lake Tahoe area. I was skiing. I don't even remember learning to ski. I was skiing since I could walk. My dad was a volunteer ski patrolman who moved to Tahoe specifically to ski. So I've been skiing my whole life and got interested in weather while living there and seeing those big Sierra storms.

00:02:29- So I went to school in Colorado, skied there for a while, enjoyed my time on the front range. And then my wife was offered an opportunity to work in Utah. And I jumped at that chance. I moved to Utah. I've always wanted to this to be my home and to ski.

00:02:47- The greatest show on earth had you skeet here prior to moving here?

00:02:50- I had, yeah. A few times I'd been on trips to Park City and and to the cottonwoods. My parents were timeshare owners in the 70s at the Iren Blossom up at Snowbird. So I had always heard stories from them of coming up here. And, you know, I've seen pictures of my dad at the mydad large, you know, skiing in the spring. And he would always talk about how every year he came out here and they would have at least one epically deep day. So I had always seen Utah as kind of a mecca for powder skiing.

00:03:18- What were your favorite places to ski in Tahoe when you were growing up?

00:03:22- Well, I lived closest to heavenly. So for convenience, that was right there. I lived just a stone's throw away from the Boulder Lodge on the Nevada side. But whenever I could, I headed south to Kirkwood. That was a bigger mountain with more snow. And. And I quickly became my go to place. So I probably ski. There is 30, 40 times a season growing up.

00:03:43- And how about Colorado? When you moved there, did you have time with school to cut classes once? Well, they had up to the mountains.

00:03:49- I did. I definitely there were times where I skipped out on classes and went skiing instead. There are challenges to living on the front range and dealing with traffic getting up there. But I tried to get up and I ski to variety of mountains and snow there is great, too. And and you have a great ski culture in Colorado as well.

00:04:07- So let's let's talk about how you got into weather. And you know, I know it's something that that you started to pick up as a kid. But what what was it that initially got you excited about forecasting the weather?

00:04:21- That's a good question. I don't know if. As a kid, forecasting was ever part of the equation. I just loved following weather. But it was always because the activities I like to do, like skiing or so weather dependent that I started looking at weather forecasts. And then I became curious as to how these forecasts were made and how does somebody know what's going to happen in five days. And rather than wait, you know, for the back, then all I could do was there was no Internet when I was a little kid. So I could just wait to like the 5 o'clock news to see what the weatherman said was gonna happen. And I got impatient. So I started looking into how can I make these forecasts myself? And that just kind of blossomed, I guess, into an obsession that's kind of a chicken and the egg scenario. And sometimes. I don't even know it was I into skiing first and that got me into weather. Was I under weather? And then I became interested in skiing because it was such a weather dependent sport. And I still don't know the answer to that question.

00:05:17- You know, you probably didn't have a whole lot of resources to draw on at that point in time, did you?

00:05:22- No. I had very few.

00:05:25- I remember even when I did get Internet access in the 90s, there was just no weather sites out there. There is very little or if there was, it was very raw. So I remember they had local forecasts on the eights on the Weather Channel. And I would every ten minutes would, you know, look to see if anything new had changed and what was going on with the radar. And well, you know, it was an obsession. I couldn't sleep at nights when storms were rolling in.

00:05:50- Do you do you remember, though, when you started to get into forecasting a little bit? I mean, did you look at the weather and kind of make an analysis of how deep the snow was gonna be up in the mountain Saturday?

00:06:01- Yeah, I would say I wasn't looking at specific amounts, but when I was in high school, all of my friends were into skiing and snowboarding. And I just happened to be the one who was paying attention all the time. So they started looking to me like, oh, what's the weather gonna be, Evan? And so I felt this obligation to kind of actually look into it and give them specific forecasts. So this all always kind of born out of my friend's nagging me what the weather was going to be and what day we should all skip school and go skiing.

00:06:29- So it's a pretty cool thing. I mean, I had to go talk to Evan. He's got to know what he's gonna wanna know what the Paul situation is gonna be this weekend.

00:06:35- Yeah, it was it's kind of a burden because nobody says to you, oh, you were right. Like, thank you so much for the powder day, at least back then. My friends never said that to me. All they did was blame me when I was wrong. So I'm kind of the life of a weatherman, not a life of a weather man. Absolutely. You get blamed for it. But when it doesn't go according to plan, plan. But you never get the praise from when everything does go as expected.

00:06:59- Now, did you did you follow a pathway in college when you were over in Colorado that helped you with this passion that you had?

00:07:06- Yes. So I went to Colorado State University, which has an excellent atmospheric sciences grad program. And the front range of Colorado is kind of a mecca for meteorology. And so my rough plan when I went to college was I was going to do an undergraduate and sciences, specifically computer sciences. And then the plan was then do a grad program in atmospheric sciences.

00:07:28- And I kind of wanted to work for NPR, which is the National Center for Atmospheric Research. But they do a lot of the modeling. And I wanted to kind of be on the technology side of writing these weather models that we used to forecast.

00:07:41- And so that was the original plan. What happened was I went to school, I got my computer science degree. I kind of realized it's very difficult to get these jobs. They're not super high paying. And suddenly I had this, you know, very marketable degree. And I just decided, you know what, I'm not going to go further into debt. So I'm just gonna go be a programmer and a developer. So I worked in software for a long time and I didn't follow the the meteorology passion initially.

00:08:09- Do you know when you when you moved over here to Utah? I remember that you started a blog initially when you got here. And what what was the impetus to do that when she moved here?

00:08:20- There wasn't. I mean, what it was the same as when I was younger. It was friends asking me what the weather was going to be. And I just didn't want to have to say the same thing over and over again to a dozen different people. So I initially started an email distribution list and said, tell you what, when there storms coming. I'll just email you a quick paragraph or two about when the best day is gonna be. And so I did that and I did that for a while and then I kept getting requests. Hey, can you add this person to the email? Can you do this? And so after a while, I had, you know, 100 people, most of which were strangers on this distribution list. I said, okay, this is kind of a pain. Tell you what, I'm just gonna start a WordPress blog. You can go check it at your convenience. And you don't have to add everybody to a distribution list. You know, you can just send the link along if people are interested. And so that's what I did. And that's how Wasatch snow forecast was born.

00:09:11- Do you remember how many people eventually joined your e-mail list?

00:09:15- I think the most I ever had was about 100 to 120 in that range. And then after that, I went the way of the blog.

00:09:24- And your you're actually doing this now all for free. At this point, there's no there's no real revenue stream for you.

00:09:31- No. We do make money on open snow. We off you know, we we do advertise there's a membership where that people can do. But but you can access my forecasts and my discussions 100 percent for free.

00:09:44- But your email lists going back to your early days.

00:09:46- Oh, my early days. I was honored present for free. There was no plan ever for me to make money off of this. I was just doing this because there's my passion and, you know, people were appreciative.

00:09:56- And so I figured I was doing this all on my own and I would be doing this on my own anyway. Might as well, you know, share it with a few other people.

00:10:03- So you start the blog. And all of a sudden, it just it just blossoms over those next few years.

Evan Thayer Goggles Up

00:10:08- It blossomed over that first year, we it didn't get too much traction early season, but then we had a, you know, a really, really snowy kind of end to the season, second half of the season. And as that happened, all the sudden, my traffic started picking up. And I remember, you know, I'd look at my analytics and I had 3000 visitors in a day and I thought, oh, my gosh, this is crazy. Like, I can't believe how many people are. And now I look back and, you know, three thousands, nothing for where I am now. But at the time, that was just it was remarkable. And I just realized then that, you know, this was something.

00:10:48- Did you ever have a situation back then in those early days where you're writing up a journal of somewhere and people kind of get the conversation going, all of a sudden they realize, hey, you're that dude that's forecasting the snow?

00:10:59- Yeah. That does happen. It happens pretty frequently now. And in the past, it was rare.

00:11:06- And so I've kind of gotten used to it. But but a lot of times what happens is they'll start the conversation by asking me, oh, where do you ski? And I'll kind of say, oh, you know, I kind of ski all over the state. And they'll say, oh, you know, do you have a pass here or there? And sometimes they'll be like, well, you know, because of my work, I have a past all the mountains in Utah and I have a ski Utah silver pass. And and they go, Oh, do you work for Ski Utah? And they always kind of goes through that path.

00:11:32- And eventually they get to this point where they're like, they'll be like, wait, what's your name? And I'll be like, oh, my name's Evan. And they'll be like, you're the Evan.

00:11:40- And so that's usually how the conversation goes. It's pretty cool, isn't it? It is. It is. I would have to say, I'm the kind of person who is not good at small talk. And so, you know, they'll thank me for what I do. And and I'm very appreciative of that. But it's kind of I don't know what to say, you know.

00:11:58- I just kind of say thank you for reading the forecast, you know, what can you say?

00:12:02- Yeah, I think one of the things that I particularly love about skiing I've spent my whole career in it is it is such a family, everybody's friends. And when when they find that connection point like, oh, there's Evan, the snow reporting guy, you know, they want to be a part of that. They want to be a part of what you do.

00:12:18- Right. And that's absolutely true. And over the years, so many people I've met and they've realized who I was and now they see me all the time skiing at the mountain. And now it's just, oh, there's Evan, you know, he's skiing.

00:12:30- And I was just at Alta the other day. And that place feels you had Graham on. It feels like a community. And every day there's 30 people that I see and say hi to. And I've learned the names of lots of people through that.

00:12:41- So it's eventually you just become one of the crowd again.

00:12:44- So that's a pretty cool thing. Let's talk a little bit about how weather works. I'm I know it's a very complex science, but can you break it down a little bit and give us a sense of how does weather work? And we'll talk a little bit more in a bit about how specifically works here in Utah. But what are the principles at play here?

00:13:03- So, I mean, essentially the word I always say that's most important for weather is lift. You get different weather systems or storms that come in. But essentially what you want is lift and lift. What I mean by that is you get air that rises up through the atmosphere. And as it does so, it cools, it condenses and it turns into precipitation. So lift is the key to all things weather. And so storms, they move in off the Pacific Pacific Ocean. They pick up that moist air that's needed and they have dynamics and something we call convergence, which is where warm air masses meet cool air masses and it kind of force the air upward and that creates that lift and then it falls as snow. And then we also have terrain here in Utah mountains and then you get orographic lift. And that's where moist air pushes the flow, pushes it into the mountains.

00:13:58- And then the terrain, the topography, pushes the air up into the sky, cools, condenses and falls as snow. So those two things, a few other things can generate lift.

00:14:07- But those two things create about 95 percent of the snow we get here in Utah.

00:14:12- You know, just a broad question. And then I want to dive a little bit more into some of the specifics of of Utah on some of the microclimates. But, you know, I think most of us have the general principle of weather that we generally get a southwestern or westerly flow here. So I look at the topography here and I just wonder, you know, what impact does the Great Salt Lake have? What impact do the old crews have on what comes through the Wasatch?

00:14:35- Well, as you know, like when you look at the state of Utah right now, I'm looking at a map of the state of Utah that shows like the spine of the mountain is going straight north to south through Utah. And the prevailing flow of the jet stream is west to east. So that's really good for us because our mountains are perpendicular to what the typical flow is. And when they're perpendicular to that, that means the lift comes in perfectly at that angle and then it goes right up the mountains and drops snow. So generally speaking, that's one of the reasons why you. Does so well, and when you get these storms, you kind of get these cold fronts that come in out of the northwest. You get a southwest flow ahead of the front and then the storm comes through and you get like with the front, you'll get a bunch of precipitation, but then you'll get that northwest flow behind it and instability behind fronts. And that's where we get those orographic northwest flows. You'll hear me talk about that a lot. And that can dump a lot of snow in the mountains here as well, including the cottonwoods. Now, you look at like the ochres. Let's say you brought that up.

00:15:35- Those can create their own lift. They can get plenty of snow, but they can also, you know, shadow out the Wasatch. Occasionally, we'll get a directly westerly flow and the ochres take the brunt of the precipitation. But then there's what's called like a rain shower or precipitation shadow behind them. And so sometimes the cottonwoods get the raw end at the deal because the ochres can actually be a negative for us. The Great Salt Lake. A lot of times you'll hear people talk about the lure of the lake effect snow. And it's very true. We have this large body of water that's relatively warm in the winter. So when we get that cold, unstable air crossing it, you can generate lift and you can create precipitation downstream from the Great Salt Lake. Now, it's kind of a myth. People think that a lot of our snow comes from the great Salt Lake. The estimates that are it's less than 5 percent. Even in like the cottonwoods, which are directly downstream a lot of times. So really, the great Salt Lake doesn't have much of an impact, but it can add that little bit of bonus, especially in the fall when the waters are still really warm.

00:16:35- You know, I grew up working in the ski industry in northern Wisconsin, and we had a resort that was really only probably about 50, 60 miles south of Lake Superior. And some of the resorts in the upper peninsula of Michigan even closer to it. And you know, when we would get that northerly flow coming off Lake Superior, it produced some truly remarkable snow.

00:16:56- Yes. Some of those mountains like Mount Bohemia and there in the U.P., they can get so much snow from lake effect precipitation. Now, the Great Salt Lake is a lot smaller than the Great Lakes there. So you don't get it as frequently, but you definitely can get lake effect snow here in Utah.

00:17:10- Let's talk a little bit about southern Utah down in Bryan Head Country and and what are the weather systems that impact the snowfall down there?

00:17:19- Brian heads a great location. I mean, a lot of people think of southern Utah. They think of the Red Rock and the desert. And they don't realize just how high in elevation it gets up there. Brian heads at the top of the grand staircase. And so the base of the mountain, if I'm not mistaken, is like 90, 800 feet. And the top is 11000 feet, same as Snowbird. So it's an extremely high elevation resort. So not only do you get snow down there, but oftentimes you get that really low density, you know, fluffy snow that we all love so much. And so in southern Utah, they don't always get the same, you know, northwest flow storms we get, but they get a lot of like cut off lows. And when I say cut off flow, these are kind of low pressure systems or storms that don't typically follow just the jet stream. They kind of break away and break free from the jet stream and slowly meander down in like the desert southwest. And they can bring up copious moisture out of the Gulf of California and some subtropical moisture. And a lot of times, Bryan Head will get these southerly flows and it just snows so hard in late November this year right around Thanksgiving.

00:18:22- Brian had got something like four or five feet of snow and most of that wasn't that exact same scenario.

00:18:27- Yeah. Let's let's move up north now to the to the Wasatch. And I know that the just the dynamics of the mountains and how they're set here create a lot of little micro climates and talk a little bit about that. And let's kind of zero in on some of the canyons and some of the unusual weather things that happen here.

00:18:46- Ok. One thing you'll get is that a lot of people know as the cottonwood canyons big and little Cottonwood Canyon, they tend to be favored in a northwest flow. You'll hear that a lot. That when you hear those that phrase northwest flow, you know that the cottonwoods are going to get a lot of snow. And that's just based on the topography just upstream from the cottonwoods. It creates that perfect lift like a ramp. And the air just goes up, cools, condenses and drops as snow right on them. So that's a very typical microclimate. You also get wraparound precipitation that can favor the Wasatch back. So sometimes in a low pressure system passes just to our south, you kind of get this counterclockwise rotation around the low pressure and you actually get wraparound precipitation.

00:19:29- And then it creates that same lift on the back of the Wasatch to the Wasatch back, including Sundance and Deer Valley and Park City can get a lot of snow and that kind of pattern.

00:19:38- So that's another microclimate we see every once in a while, you know, being from Park City and out of Deer Valley and Park City Mountain a lot. You can stand up on those ridge lines and you can watch the storms coming in. And you can see from the pattern of the storms that what could be happening at Brighton is quite different than at Park City, which is different than at Deer Valley.

00:19:59- Absolutely. I mean, I've had days where it was completely sunny at one resort and then I traveled. Ten miles. And it was dumping snow. And so that's just part of living in an alpine environment like this, is that you're going to find all sorts of conditions over a short range of distances.

00:20:16- You've talked a little bit about this, but I want to explore a little bit more what constitutes the greatest snow on earth? What are the meteorological features here in Utah that make the Utah powder so unique?

00:20:30- So I think the number one thing is density of the snow. When I grew up in Tahoe, the snow was on average much denser there, around 10 percent or higher water content in the snow here in Utah. It's usually between 5 and 8 percent. That's about your typical range. And what that means is that when it's colder temperatures and it has a little bit to do with humidity in the air as well. But generally speaking, colder temperatures lead to lower density snow. And there are other places, Colorado, Montana, that have low density snow away makes Utah so great is we also get a big quantity of snow. So it's a combination of quantity and that quality, low density snow that makes it the greatest no on earth. And we also just the way storms come through. Like I said, it's normally that Southwest flow first and then the Northwest flow afterwards. So that usually means those storms start warmer. So you get denser snow on bottom and then the cold flow comes in behind the front and then you get the lighter, fluffier snow on top. And it's that perfect right side up snow that makes for the greatest snow on earth.

00:21:34- Let's talk a little bit about what you do. What's that? I know there's no such thing as a typical day in what you do, but but kind of walk us through a 24 hour period and in what you would be working on, where you'd be getting data to put these forecasts out for us.

00:21:49- Right. So I wake up early. I mean, that's that's the life. I get up probably about 5:00 a.m. most days in the winter. And the first thing I do is immediately go through and check model runs. And so most models run about four times a day. There's four different runs of them, but they take longer to process. So they come out at all different times of the day. So when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is check to see what the models did overnight and using that and the trends. I kind of come up with a rough outline for the forecast and I start writing. I mean, usually by 7:00 a.m. I have a forecast post out. And so that's that. And then I'll usually go skiing. I ski quite a bit, so I'll usually ski in the morning. And then by the afternoon when I'm done, I'll go back and I'll check the latest model runs. And there's always an update. There's always something new that's happening. And part of forecasting is you're always watching trends. You're watching trends within the same model run to run and then trends, you know, across different models and comparing them. So throughout the day, it's just kind of a never ending process of taking it all in and trying not to overreact to one specific run because you have dozens throughout the day and then just finding what you feel to be the most likely scenario.

00:22:59- So when you're out there skiing, you've done your forecast, you're out skiing. Are you kind of watching the sky and what's going on?

00:23:07- Yeah, I'm obsessed. So I generally speaking, have to be near a window if I'm indoors. And even when I'm near a window, I am always looking out of it. Just last week, I went and saw a movie with my wife. And of course, there's no windows in a movie here. And the first thing I did when I walked out was do a 360, you know, panoramic view to see what's going on everywhere, because I just am always analyzing what's going on in the sky. And as much as you check computers and a lot of people and meteorologists will tell you that we've become so reliant on computers that we forget to just look outside. And I've had days where I, you know, was surprised by snowfall. And it snowed even five, six inches at my house. And I didn't even look outside. And I just started writing a forecast. And it wasn't until after my forecast was posted, I realized, oh, my gosh, we got some surprise little storm last night and it snowed outside. So I have to remind myself, that's not all about technology and the forecasting. Sometimes there's no substitute for just looking outside and observing. So when I'm skiing, I'm always I'm always watching the clouds.

00:24:07- I'm always seeing what's going on with the technology that you have today. Are you able to, on your smartphone, get much of the data that you need?

00:24:15- Yes, pretty much everything I can do on a laptop or a desktop computer I can also do on my smartphone. It's not always quite as easy because a lot of these sites that process model data aren't optimized for, you know, a mobile browser. But that's OK. I can still do it. So while I'm skiing and well, I'm a lot of times on the chairlift or without my phone and see if there's any updates to any of the models.

00:24:37- Yeah. Now you live up in Eden. You have a place here in the valley, but you also live up in Eden. The weather patterns up there are also unique.

00:24:46- They're very unique. For example, in that November storm around Thanksgiving that I talked about, my house and Sandy for the first two days of the storm got zero snow, as in nothing. And then when I went up to Eden, there was almost three feet of snow. So that's a. There are only about an hour and 15 minutes away from each other, and it's a difference in a winter wonderland and then just bare ground.

00:25:13- What do you like to ski up there?

00:25:15- I love Powder Mountain. I am only about eight minutes away from the Timberline Lodge up there. And it's just such a unique place that I try to ski there as much as possible.

00:25:24- So you and I both can think back to when we were young about what we could get for weather data, how accurate the forecasts were. It's changed a lot since then. But let's look in the crystal ball a little bit and take it out. Ten years we do you have any sense of where forecasting will be in 10 years?

00:25:44- It's hard to predict. But like you said, they say that, you know, in 1980, we could predict about 3 days out about the same accuracy as we can predict 10 days out now. So right now, I could tell you what's going to happen 10 days out and it wouldn't be perfect or probably wouldn't be perfect, but that's about the same accuracy as they had three days out 30 years ago. So, you know, in technology, there's something called Moore's Law, which is everything gets better and faster and doubles like every year or whatever it is. And I honestly think that that's just going to continue. We're gonna get better and better at getting more inputs, processing those inputs.

00:26:21- We're going to learn we have these things and whether called analogs, which is just kind of what happened before and we take what happened before we archive that and then we try to program that into these weather models so they know, hey, we were in this situation before I got these same inputs. Now I know better. I'm going to come up with a better output. And so I see that, you know, it's gonna be the same. I think what we can see 10 days from now, like 10 days from today, let's say I can kind of gets at what's going to happen. I think in 30 years that's gonna be about the same as what I can see right today, three days from now. So I'm going to be pretty confident what's gonna happen in 10 days from now.

00:26:58- Have you seen a lot of change just in the 10 years you've been doing some forecasting?

00:27:02- Absolutely. Yeah. There's kind of a little competition going on. You have these world meteorological organizations that are putting out their models and one will be better than the other. And so kind of puts this pressure on another organization to improve their models. So you'll see just this year we had the American jeffs' model upgrade. And so there's always these attempts to make these models better. And it's just a continuous process.

00:27:27- You know, if if I'm a skier or snowboarder, what should I be doing to find the latest information before I go out and ski or ride check my forecast for a which is available. A skier duduk.

00:27:39- Yeah, that helps. It really depends on what you're doing. Those Web sites, you know, of these ski resorts here in Utah do an excellent job updating on terrain information. So going to directly to those Web sites is great.

00:27:51- Ski Utah Snow Report is an excellent resource to see what's been happening. And then I would say, you know, checking on social media, people are posting and they're tagging resorts and using hashtags. You can go on and you can really gain a lot of information by just searching through social media and seeing actual images of what the conditions are like.

00:28:12- Yeah, it's a you know, I know that as a skier myself, that I'm constantly looking at the forecast kind of. Okay. How much snow we're going to get in the next couple of days and just kind of planning out. It's interesting with the reports that are out today. It's become a lot easier to kind of plan out, okay. Where's my ones? My powder day going to come this week is going to be Thursday, Friday or next Monday.

00:28:33- It's much easier. Yeah. In the past, you were kind of guessing and you'd commit to a day and hope that worked out. Now, you know, five days in advance, seven days in advance. You're having people like me telling you when it's going to snow and what the best powder day is going to be. So things have definitely changed.

00:28:49- We still email you.

00:28:51- I would prefer that you didn't e-mail me though. I am always accessible via email. Most of the information, I'm not withholding any information. A lot of people think, you know, I'm somehow, you know, keeping these secrets. So they'll be like, oh, well, what do you really think about next week? And I'm like, trust me, if the information's out there, I'm giving it to you. So, you know, check back tomorrow if you haven't quite gotten the details you're looking for.

00:29:15- You know, that Thanksgiving weekend was really wild and crazy. Did you hit the forecast pretty well that weekend?

00:29:21- I thought I did, yeah. I mean, it was very different, not just because it was a it was a very long duration, slow moving storm. There's so many moving parts. But the areas that I thought would get hit the hardest did get hit the hardest. I mean, the cottonwoods always get seemingly more snow than anywhere else. And that was the case. But I also said that Bryan Head would get really hard and that the northern Wasatch like Snow Basin would get a lot of snow and all of those things happened. The good thing is it was a nondiscriminatory storm. So everybody got a good amount of snow. Snow. And that's always easier on me because sometimes that's not always the case. And you'll get you know, I'll be talking about how great it was because it snowed a lot, you know, locally or up at Powder Mountain.

00:30:02- And then somebody will email me from Brian headand saying, what are you. Talking about we got nothing. So I always like it when everybody gets the goods.

00:30:08- Yeah. You're the superstar at that point. Our. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. We're gonna close it with some fun stuff. Little lightning round action with a few questions for you. First of all, how many days on snow? Last year I had a hundred and four days. And you kept your economy accurately?

00:30:21- I keep a spreadsheet. I keep a spreadsheet with notes and everything on how the conditions were.

00:30:26- So I have a protocol question. If you ski to resorts in one day. Does that count as two days? It counts as one day. No. Yes. Sorry. Honest guy. Favorite run in Utah. Gunsight at Alta Suite. Favorite run outside of Utah. The wall at Kirkwood, the do you have a ski hero, Shane McConkey, Shane McConkey. That's a good one. Best on mountain lunch. Do you ever take time to have lunch?

00:30:55- I would go with The Wrestler Lodge at Alta and their burger. It's got elk and wagyu beef and bison and it is delicious.

00:31:04- Do you ski after having that burger? I do. Yes. Good for you. Favorite Utah craft beer. I'm going to go with Kato's Amber Ale. high-dose Amber $key coconut for me. At least from those. I haven't tried that. You should check that out and check out. I know Graham's favorite was from Templin right down, right down the street from their biggest powder day ever for you.

00:31:30- That's a tough one. I'm going to go with the tax day storm and I think it was 2015. So is April 15th, 2015. And it snowed about 40 something inches overnight.

00:31:40- And there was an empty mountain at Alta and it was glorious.

00:31:44- So you were up there and nobody else could get there. People could get there.

00:31:49- But it was April 15th. You know, all the tourists were generally gone. People had moved on to their spring and summer activities. And we had one of the greatest days, not just of the season, but of my life.

00:32:00- Sweet, nastiest line you've ever speed you.

00:32:06- I skeeved main shoe in Alta in September.

00:32:10- In September, in September. What was what was on it?

00:32:15- Maybe about a foot of early fall snow and a lot of rocks.

00:32:20- How are the skis afterwards?

00:32:22- They had a few rocks, but they were meant to hit a few rocks.

00:32:26- That's nice. I'll take care of that.

00:32:29- Biggest forecasting success story.

00:32:35- I think in January of 2017 we had an epic storm series. And I remember writing in my forecast. I said, forget calling in sick, just quit your job. And we ended up having one of the snowiest months ever. I think Brighton's saw something like 200 inches just in January that month. So I consider that a win because I called it before the storm series ever came.

00:32:58- I hate to ask this one, but I got to ask it. Biggest forecasting faux pas. One that you missed.

00:33:04- There was a storm. I would say it was in 2013. We are already having a rough season, less snow than we normally get. And we finally had a good storm coming in and I called for a foot of snow. Most mountains and it just didn't move east and all the precipitation hung out over the west desert.

00:33:23- I remember places like to L.A and the west side of the Salt Lake Valley got the foot of snow. And the cottonwoods normally sometimes you'll get storms, you know, where the mountains don't get quite as much, but they at least get something. It was like every resort reported an inch max and the valleys got over a foot.

00:33:44- And it was just such a bust because we were already kind of you know, there was this anticipation finally we're getting this storm and everybody was just so upset, including myself.

00:33:54- That's when you got to grab the skins and get up to the ochres and see what you could find generally.

00:33:58- Exactly. Evan. They're great to have you with us here today. Really appreciate the insights. And we look forward to some great forecasts throughout the rest of the year. All right. Thanks, Tom. It was a pleasure being here. It's been a great season. A lot more to come and you'll be able to follow it all in Ski, Utah dot com with the expert forecasting from Evan Fair. Until then, thanks for joining us. To learn more about the greatest snow on Earth. I'm Tom Kelly, your host for Ski Utah's last chair. See on the slopes.