Snow Conference - Speakers

Colorado Ski Country USA
37th Annual Snowmaking and Slope Maintenance Conference & Trade Show

April 4 – April 6, 2017

Two Rivers Convention Center
Grand Junction, Colorado

Joel Gratz, Founding Meteorologist, OpenSnow

Joel Gratz is the founder, CEO and Colorado forecaster for, a website and mobile app that provides snow forecasts and travel advice to over 2 million skiers and snowboarders annually. He’s been featured in Outside Magazine, Ski Magazine, Time Magazine, and is quoted by numerous news sites throughout the winter months.

In addition to forecasting for, Joel also forecasts for adventurers around the world, including a team who set the world speed record by reaching the highest peak of all 50 U.S. states in only 46 days.

Joel graduated from Penn State at the top of his meteorology class, and then stayed in school earning his MS and MBA from the University of Colorado. He took a job as a pricing analyst and forecaster for a hurricane insurance company, but it always nagged him that he couldn’t get an accurate snow forecast in his home state of Colorado. After years of studying local weather patterns, Joel made his first public snow forecast in 2007 to an email list of 38 people. Three years later in 2010, with a following of tens of thousands of snow seekers, Joel left the insurance company to forecast full time, and then started in 2011. The site has grown since then and now includes skiing weather forecasters across the country.

When he’s not forecasting and running the business, Joel talks excitedly about weather to anyone who will listen, including school and community groups. He also finds plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors through skiing, biking, hiking, and even chasing and photographing thunderstorms and tornadoes. Joel and his wife Lauren live in Boulder, CO, but when the snow flies, they hit the road to personally test his forecasts.


Tom Cech, Director, One World One Water Center for Urban Water Education and Stewardship at MSU

Tom Cech was born and raised on a farm near Clarkson, Nebraska, graduated from Kearney State College with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Math Education, and later received a Masters Degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He was Executive Director of the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District in Greeley, taught water undergraduate and graduate level water resources courses at the University of Northern Colorado and Colorado State University, and is now the Director of the One World One Water (OWOW) Center for Urban Water Education and Stewardship at Metropolitan State University of Denver.


Weston Brandt, Terrain Park Cat Operator, Breckenridge

After graduating from Colorado Mountain College’s (CMC) SAO program, Weston Brandt has gained a wide range of terrain park building experience from hand crew to terrain park management. Weston has also assisted in teaching the Terrain Park & Pipe Operations course at CMC. SketchUp and an eye for detail have been the cornerstones for Weston’s career in the ski industry. 


Joe Clark, Regional Manager, Prinoth LLC

Joe has been involved with the Ski Industry for over 40 years.  He began his 10-year career at Vail Ski Area as a parking lot attendant during high school and held several positions ranging from Groomer to Lift Supervisor and Lift Construction Supervisor.  After leaving Vail, Joe was the Assistant Mountain Manager at Kirkwood Ski area for 3 years before taking the job as Regional Manager for LMC in California.  Upon returning home to Colorado he left LMC to become the Regional Manager for Bombardier, now Prinoth, where he is currently employed.


Scott Pittenger, Mountain Operations Manager, Telluride Ski Resort

Born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. Shortly after graduating from Butler University with a degree in Business Administration and Marketing, Scott left his desk job to pursue life in the mountains enriched by family, friends, skiing, biking and whitewater. Scott started his career in Telluride as a graveyard groomer and summer project pack mule. Through the years Pittenger has operated winch cats, run heavy equipment, overseen capital infrastructure improvements, trail building and forest management around the Telluride Ski Resort. Now the Director of Mountain Operations, Pittenger focuses on supporting on-mountain personnel, ski area logistics and facilitating capital improvements.


Justin Tate, Regional Sales Representative, Kassborher All Terrain Vehicles, Inc. 

Justin A. Tate is a ski industry veteran with over 25 years of experience. He is currently a Regional Sales Representative at Pisten Bully in Grand Junction, Colorado. Prior to Pisten Bully, Justin worked at Delta Rigging & Tools where he focused on inside and outside sales along with being a rigging instructor. Justin has also held positions at Prinoth as a sales representative and LMC as a service tech and parts manager. In his spare time, Justin likes to spend time his wife, Kimberly, and his three adult children (when they are around). He is an avid outdoorsmen who loves to bow hunt and fly fish.


Frank White, Snowmass Snowmaking Manager, Aspen Skiing Company

Frank grew up in northeast Ohio and attended Youngstown State University. While in college, Frank worked in two different steel mills as well as the General Motors assembly plant before deciding that 300 days of sunshine per year was far better than 300 days of cloudy skies. Since his move to Colorado, Frank has been making snow for over 23 years at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass. Frank has headed various projects from compression installation to pipeline replacement and installation of steel, ductile and HTPE pipes. He is also excited to work with Snowmass’s new micro-hydroelectric plant. Frank has been an avid cyclist for over 40 years. 

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Snow Conference Speakers


For more information about the event, or to sign up as a trade show participant or sponsor, please contact Katherine Rainbolt at or 303.866.9728.

Written material may be mailed to:

Attn: Snow Conference
Colorado Ski Country USA 
3773 Cherry Creek North Drive
Suite 955
Denver, CO 80209