Photo by Adam Finkle

For most, the weather’s just the icebreaker for awkward conversation, but for Jim Steenburgh, the topic opens the door to an enthralling discussion.

For 18 years, Steenburgh has been a University of Utah professor of atmospheric science, studying Utah’s lake-effect and snow. But he doesn’t just teach weather, he writes about it on his blog Wasatch Weather Weenies, frequented by atmospheric scientists and those who share his other passion–hitting the slopes. “I joke now, and have for years, that [meteorology] is great science, but I really do it so I can be out there on a big powder day,” he says. 

Steenburgh is now compiling his snow research for a book, Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth, coming out in September. “It’s a book on some of the real reasons Utah has the greatest snow on earth,” he says.

Back>>>Read other stories in our March/April 2014 issue.