TAHOE/TRUCKEE - The Lake Tahoe area is full of snow skeptics.
Get too excited about forecasted snowfall amounts and you're likely to get a smug "I'll believe it when I see it" in response.
But one Truckee resident's self-described obsession with big storms has led him to become a resource for those looking to know how much snow will end up on the ground before it gets here.
New Jersey native Bryan Allegretto started his weather blog, www.tahoeweatherdiscusssion.com, three years ago following a lifetime interest in the massive weather systems that help create big waves for surfers and deep powder for snowboarders. He lists both activities as passions, but, during a Friday phone interview, neither sport got Allegretto as excited as the weather patterns that fuel the pursuits.
His once humble weather website received 1.5 million visits between November and April last season, a far cry from when it started.
"Three years ago I had like one guy reading the weather," Allegretto said with a laugh.
Although the 32-year-old once had aspirations of being a professional weatherman and has received some formal training in meteorology, he describes himself as self-taught, studying everything weather-related he could get his hands on since he was a kid. Allegretto diverged from the professional weatherman track, earning an economics degree instead, when he realized his interest was in big weather events, not telling people it was going to be sunny most of the time.
He's confident in his forecasts, but admittedly loses sleep over his prognostication. Allegretto's mornings begin at 4 or 5 a.m. with a review of "weather model after weather model." He then double checks the weather models with previous experience and knowledge about atmospheric conditions, something he describes as a combination of technology and "old school" forecasting.
Allegretto, who works as a controller at the Resort at Squaw Creek, moved to Truckee just more than six years ago with the desire to work in an industry where he is excited to go to work every day.
And weather could become his primary work if a recent switch works out as hoped.
Earlier this month, Allegretto completed a transition of his forecasts to The Tahoe Daily Snow page on www.opensnow.com, a website started last year by a pair of Colorado meteorologists with similar passions.
The site's operators have big plans for the future, including bringing on experienced weather bloggers from every U.S. region with skiing.
Allegretto said he will continue to provide the same quality blog posts about Sierra Nevada storms as the previous website for free, but also expects to give readers even more detailed forecasts through a paid service anticipated for launch in January.
"We want the site to be the best snow forecasting site in the country," Allegretto said.
Following a question about the often heard contention that meteorology is the only profession where you can be wrong most of the time and still have a job, Allegretto said that, unlike the larger weather websites that can survive on their name alone, an upstart weather website needs to provide accurate forecasts to survive.
If the new site is successful, Allegretto hopes to turn is passion into a full-time job. But even if the weather doesn't pay the bills, his passion for big storms doesn't seem to be waning any time soon.
"I get as excited now as I did as a kid," Allegretto said.