RightWay Websites logo

Need a new website? Tired of your old one? By purchasing a website hosting package for as little as $299 setup and $14/month, you are helping me to keep SnowAlarm running.

Frequently Asked Questions and Help

The Site

Registration

Creating a SnowAlarm


The Site

Why is SnowAlarm the best?top

  • Multiple sources are used when collating the ski reports, and discrepancies are highlighted.
  • When available, SnowAlarm grabs the report published by the ski area. This is usually the first report posted allowing you an earlier start to your day - and an earlier start means more powder for you! If a ski area report is not being used, request it and I'll see if it is possible to inlcude it.
  • Overnight snowfall is reported if it is available!
  • Multiple SnowAlarms are bundled in order to minimize possible charges for each text messages. For example, say you have set your notification time for 6AM. All reports received before 6AM will be bundled as one SnowAlarm that you will receive shortly after 6AM.
  • The most flexible rule scheduling anywhere. Rules can be specified in 1" increments and times in 5 minute increments for every area for every day of the week..
  • Multiple profiles that can be independently active or disabled for the SnowAlarm unlimited products. For example, you can have all of the following:
    • A tomorrow profile that sends you text messages no earlier than 6am when your home area(s) receives a foot or more..
    • A travel profile where you can set SnowAlarms at your destination resort.
    • A digest profile where you get reports for all areas you specify regardless of new snow received at 10am every morning.

OK - I'm convinced. Sign me up!

What is the philosophy behind the site?top

This site was designed by meteorologists who ski. As skiers, we are interested in the timely and efficient reporting of new snow totals by the areas. As such, we grab the ski areas web page within minutes of an update and post it immediately to SnowAlarm.com. The page is effectively updated in real time so that the user does not have to repeatedly call a ski area or "ski phone" or check a web page for updates.

The availability of the information as soon as it is posted may allow the user an earlier start for those powder days, or help with the decision of whether and where to ski. In order to further unencumber the user, we have designed an interactive SnowAlarm that notifies the user of the ski report if conditions are met or exceeded. For example, a user could be notified at 5am if a specific ski area has received 12 or more inches of snow in the last 24 hours. Since the notification occurs in the form of an email or page, registration is required for the interactive SnowAlarm.

As meteorologists, we also post some real-time weather data, such as satellite, radar and surface observations which allows us gauge the strength and severity of impending mountain snows. Furthermore, ski area web-cams are also downloaded and are allowed to be looped in order to validate the real-time weather data. Finally, a full suite of numerical modeling products to aid in forecasting the mountain snows is available.

What is the difference between morning and latest reports?top

Morning reports are the first reports for the day received from the ski area, as well as any other alternate sources like trade groups. If there are multiple reports for the same area, the larger one is used when deciding whether to send an alarm or not (Also this discrepancy is reported on the web page and email SnowAlarm - see What are merged reports). Once your SnowAlarm has been sent for a particular area, you will not receive another alarm for that day for that area.

Then, any report that differs from the morning report I call the latest report. In fact, if an area updates their report several times a day, then the latest report numbers will change. If you have not received a morning SnowAlarm, then you will receive one whenever one of these later reports exceeds your rule.

Note that the time each report was processed is reported in the Time column of the Area reports page.

What are merged reports?top

Why are some boxes colored differently than others?top

There may be several sources for a report. For example, a trade group may report as well as the ski area itself. In that case, I have attempted to merge the reports by choosing the report that has the largest 24 hour new snow report, while retaining any temperature information if it is present. Discrepancies between the new 24 hour snowfalls reported by the different sources are highlighted so the user can individually check the report sources.

Registration

What is your privacy policy?top

We will not sell or give away your email addresses or personal information without your expressed consent.

We use third-party advertising companies to serve ads when you visit our website. These companies may use information (not including your name, address, email address, or telephone number) about your visits to this and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like more information about this practice and to know your choices about not having this information used by these companies, please visit Google ad and content network privacy policy.

SnowAlarm may update this policy. We will notify you about significant changes in the way we treat personal information by sending a notice to the primary email address specified in the registration page or by placing a prominent notice on our site.

What are cookies and why do you want me to have them?top

For your convenience, we can keep your username and password active in your browser until you sign out explicitly. We would still ask you to confirm your password to access personal information after you close your browser or after a period of inactivity.

Why do you need this information?top

A login name or username uniquely identifies you to SnowAlarm's database. A password restricts access to this database. The contact email allows us to send lost passwords and possibly allow other communication. See our privacy policy about the use of your contact email. The full name is optional and allows a more personalized session with SnowAlarm, as well as satisfying our curiosity about who is using the site.

Creating a SnowAlarm

How can I get paged on my cell phone?top

The capability to receive emails through your cell phone may be arranged through your provider. Depending upon the provider, you may receive a limited number of emails for no charge, or may pay for each email or may pay a monthly charge for unlimited emails. The actual email address of your phone is usually your 10 digit cell phone number, followed by the ubiquitous @ sign, followed by an address specified by your provider. Listed below are some addresses for the different providers. Check with your provider if you do not know your cell phone address.

ProviderAddress
AT&T1234567890@txt.att.net
Note: AT&T apparently changed
mobile.att.net to txt.att.net
Nextel1234567890@messaging.nextel.com
Sprint1234567890@messaging.sprintpcs.com
Tmobile1234567890@tmomail.net
Verizon1234567890@vtext.com
Voicestream1234567890@voicestream.com

What does the color shading mean?top

Tables are normally shaded according to the color of the selected navigation tab. Inactive items are highlighted by shading them red to make it easy for you to see at a glance what is set.

The Profile pagetop

The entire user profile can be quickly activated or deactivated through the radio buttons at the top of the page. An Active profile will receive SnowAlarms, while an Inactive profile will NOT receive SnowAlarms.

Basic modetop

Upon successful registration, a Profile page appears, from which you can set your profile options, including the rule, the notification time (which includes checkboxes for each day of the week), the timezone you are in, the maximum number of messages and the message format The ski areas that will be considered for a SnowAlarm are added and removed through the Add/Remove Areas box. Different regions may be selected using the pulldown menu in this box. When you have checked all of the areas you wish to include in your SnowAlarm profile, click the Done tab.

Advanced modetop

This mode allows you to have multiple profiles. The setting specified in basic mode now become the defaults for any additional emails.As these defaults are only used for initializing any additionally added emails, they can be "hidden" from view by pressing the Hide default information to reduce clutter. Note that I use email in a generic sense, as any email you enter can be sent to a cell phone or pager, in addition to your inbox. Your contact email specified when registering appears in the Email box which is where the SnowAlarm will be sent. This is can be modified at any time by the user. In addition, the alias "email" appears in the Alias box so that this email address can be uniquely identified, and this can also be changed at any time by the user. These unique aliases appear in the Areas page when the chosen SnowAlarm profiles are displayed and as column headers in the Add/Remove Areas box. A unique Alias ensures that you can have multiple SnowAlarm profiles going to the same physical email. You can change the rule, notification time, timezone, maximum number of messages and the message format to appropriate values for this particular email. Be sure to check the days of the week you want to be notified.

Next, press the Areas tab to begin adding ski areas that will be considered for a SnowAlarm in the Add/Remove Areas box. The Add/Remove Areas box allows the user to add areas to an email address whose Alias is displayed at the top of the column. Different regions may be selected using the pulldown menu in this box. After selecting the areas you wish, press the Update Areas button to actually add the areas. You can change the rule or notification time for each individual area you add.

Finally, press the Done tab in order to submit your profile to the server. Pressing the Exit tab will return you to the main SnowAlarm page.

The Update Registration buttontop

You can change or update your registration information through the Update registration information button.

Contextual helptop

There are three levels of help associated with each user in mode, and these can be modified from this page. verbose help indicates that contextual help will be made available in many areas of the page and will be indicated by question mark for contextual help. Furthermore, alert boxes will be issued whenever the user deletes an email or area from his profile. sparse help indicates that alerts are issued for email and area deletions and includes contextual help for that page indicated by contectual help for this page to the right of the tabs. Lastly, no help indicates that no alerts and no contextual help are provided.

The Display Aliases menutop

You can manage your email accounts from this page. Either Active, Inactive or both can be displayed via the pulldown menu labeled Display Emails.

The Update profiles buttontop

The Update profiles button is used to refresh the page when changing the Active status of an email or deleting an email.

The Add a new profile buttontop

Add a new profile allows the user to add a new profile.

The Reset buttontop

The Reset button cancels all changes made to this page.

The Active checkboxtop

The Active checkbox allows a specific email to be toggled as active or inactive, and inactive emails will be highlighted with a red color. An Active email will receive SnowAlarms, while an Inactive email will remain in the profile, but will not receive SnowAlarms.

The Email/Alias boxtop

The Email box should contain the address to where SnowAlarms will be sent, and the Alias box is a 5 character-limited field that uniquely identifies the actual email address. These unique aliases appear in the Areas page when the chosen SnowAlarm profiles are displayed and as column headers in the Add/Remove Areas box. A unique Alias ensures that you can have multiple SnowAlarm profiles going to the same physical email.The Remove checkbox is used to permanently remove an email from the user's profile, and after checking one or more Remove checkboxes, the Update Emails button should be pressed to submit the change.

The Test buttontop

In order to confirm that the entered email address can indeed receive emails, you can press the "test" button. Failure to receive a confirmation email at this address indicates an incorrect address or inability of this address to receive emails.

Furthermore the rule, notification time, timezone, maximum number of messages and themessage format can be individually changed for each email address.

The Remove checkboxtop

Multiple or single emails can be removed from your profile by checking this box. Either clicking the Refresh this page button or continuing on the Done page or Areas page will execute the removal.

The Areas pagetop

The entire user profile can be quickly activated or deactivated through the radio buttons at the top of the page. An Active profile will receive SnowAlarms, while an Inactive profile will NOT receive SnowAlarms.

The Display Aliases menutop

You can manage your email accounts from this page. Either Active, Inactive or both can be displayed via the pulldown menu labeled Display Emails.

The Display Regions menutop

You can manage your email accounts from this page. Either Active, Inactive or both can be displayed via the pulldown menu labeled Display Emails.

The Display Areas menutop

Areas included for each email address can be displayed and changed from this page. The Display Emails pulldown menu will display areas for either all email addresses, or only the one selected. The Display regions pulldown menu will display either all regions. Lastly, the Display Areas pulldown menu will display either Active, Inactive or all areas selected.

The Update Areas buttontop

The Update Areas button is used to refresh the page when changing the Active status of an email or area or when deleting or adding an area.

The Reset buttontop

The Reset button cancels all changes made to this page.

The Active checkboxtop

For convenience, the Active status of an email as well as the days of the week it is active can be changed from this page. Individual areas for each email address can be made active or inactive. An Active area will receive SnowAlarms, while an Inactive area will remain in the profile, but will not receive SnowAlarms. Also, each area can have a unique rule and notification time.

The Remove checkboxtop

Multiple or single areas can be removed from your profile by checking this box. Either clicking the Refresh this page button or continuing on the Done page or Profile page will execute the removal.

The Add/Remove Areas boxtop

The Add/Remove Areas box allows the user to add and remove areas to an email alias whose Alias is displayed at the top of the column. The Region pulldown menu shows the ski areas available for selection for the selected region. Aliases checked and shaded red are inactive, and those shaded yellow are currently displayed on this page. Those shaded grey and checked are active and currently hidden from view as per the Display Emails pulldown menu at the top of this page.

The Done pagetop

The emails and areas chosen by the user are written to the server and then displayed here. Note that this page is read from the server directly, so that these will be your final settings unless changed and resubmitted through the Done tab again.

Email addresses and areas that are shaded red indicate they are inactive.

What are Defaults?top

Defaults are values that the user starts with when adding new emails or areas. They can be changed at any time, or even changed for an individual area.

In the Rule and Notification Time boxes on the Areas Page the word "default" is used to indicate that the value matches the Profile default.

What is a Rule?top

A Rule is the minimum threshold of newly fallen snow in the past 24 hours before you are alerted.

In order to change the rule, uparrow and dnarrow allow for incrementing or decrementing in 6" increments and uparrow and uparrow in 1" increments. The user is not allowed to change the contents of the box manually. Furthermore, redo arrow remembers that last rule value changed, and will insert that value into any subsequent rule box when clicked.

In the Areas page, the rule box will display "default" if the value matches the email default.

What is a Notification Time?top

A Notification Time is the earliest time you will be notified if your Rule is met or exceeded on the day(s) checked. Note that you will not be notified until an area actually reports for that day. The days of the week the SnowAlarm remains active can also be conveniently reset through the checkboxes in the Areas page.

In order to change the notification time, uparrow and dnarrow allow for incrementing or decrementing the hour and uparrow and dnarrow the minute. The user is not allowed to change the contents of the box manually. Furthermore, redo arrow remembers that last notification time value changed, and will insert that value into any subsequent notification time box when clicked.

In the Areas page, the notification time box will display "default" if the value matches the email default.

What is a Timezone?top

The Timezone is the U.S. timezone where you receive the SnowAlarms for that address. Currently, there is no capability for non-U.S. timezones, although the site has been designed with that in mind.

What is Maximum?top

Maximum is the maximum number of bundled SnowAlarms that an address can receive. You may wish to limit the number of SnowAlarms sent to a pager or cell phone since you may pay the provider for each message. For example, say you have set your notification time for 6AM. All reports received before 6AM will be bundled as one SnowAlarm that you will receive shortly after 6AM. If your maximum is set at 1, then you will not receive any further alarms. If it is set at more than 1, then you will receive another SnowAlarm if the web-gathering software (which runs every 10 minutes) detects an additional area or areas that satisfy your rule.

What is Format?top

Format refers to the message format. A "-" appearing in any report indicates missing datum.

short text is intended for pagers and cell phones, and compacts salient information into a small form factor:

wolf_creek 3" 11F
loveland 2"
copper 1" -1F

long text, conversely is an expanded format that includes more information:

AREANEW12 NEW24 NEW48 NEW72 BASE TEMP
wolf_creek - 3" 5" 6" 35" 11F
loveland 2" 2" 2" 10" 26" -
copper - 1" 1" 5" 20" -

long HTML is intended for the majority of mail clients that can decode HTML. It includes SnowAlarm headers and trailers, and is particularly well suited to posting in public places. It looks like:

SnowAlarm logo with snow on top! middle part of business card
Report generated 08:37 AM on Tue 10 Dec 2002
AREA NEW12 NEW24 NEW48 NEW72 BASE TEMP
Big Mountain,MT
0"

22" 25F
bottom part of business card end of business card
RightWay Websites logo

Need a new website? Tired of your old one? By purchasing a website hosting package for as little as $299 setup and $14/month, you are helping me to keep SnowAlarm running.

Click to sign up for free weather forecasts for Steamboat Springs!

Free weather forecasts for Steamboat Springs!


Support SnowAlarm!


Contact me for information about advertising on this page

Steamboat Springs


SkiCondos4Sale.com
Ski-In / Ski-out properties
Email Dean
or call (970) 846-8284
RightWay Websites logo

Need a new website? Tired of your old one? By purchasing a website hosting package for as little as $299 setup and $14/month, you are helping me to keep SnowAlarm running.

Want to know where the snow is going to fall?

Powderchasers.com

Advertise here!

Contact me for information about advertising on this page!

Advertise here!