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  • Writer's pictureSteven Barrow

The Snow-Saving Web App: A Dad’s Journey to Becoming a Rockstar Ski Dad

My wife and I have a passion for skiing, and we wanted to share that love with our young kids. So, we took our family to the French Alps for a winter vacation. But when we arrived, I was in for a rude awakening. We had paid tens of thousands of dollars to fly the whole family across the world, our Airbnb accommodations, and to rent a minibus big enough to haul our family and gear around France and Switzerland. But we made it there and settled in.

Finally, the long awaited day of skiing arrived. It was a beautiful day in the French Alps, and my kids and I were finally able to hit the slopes. We had been planning this trip for months and were so excited to enjoy the fresh powder and beautiful scenery.

But little did we know, our day would start off with a bit of a struggle. As we made our way to the ski resort, we encountered a major issue - finding a parking spot close to the lift. Despite arriving early, we were still forced to park far from the slopes, which meant a long and tiring hike in our ski gear, along with fighting crowds of people along the way.

And if that wasn't enough, we finally reached the top of the mountain, ready to hit the slopes - only to find that the snow wasn't exactly in prime condition. It was slushy, icy, and not at all what we had hoped for. To add insult to injury, friends and family back home were sending me photos of all the snow they were getting. I needed to find where the good snow was, and fast.

As a world-schooling dad with young kids, I was determined to make the most of our ski trip. I have a personal mantra that says “I will either find a way or I will make one.” So I decided that I needed a tool to show me where the good snow was. And that's how my weather web app was born. I love teaching my kids about STEM (especially engineering!), so this was the perfect opportunity to turn my passion into a project. I created a web application that returns the 5-day weather forecast of any location on earth.

To create this app, I first had to create a developer account with OpenWeather and generate an API key. Then, I used that key in my python script to grab the 5-day weather forecast of any place on earth, based on the input provided by the user. I made the application available to anyone on the internet by hosting it on Streamlit, so you can try it out for yourself by visiting this link:

Since creating this app, I have gone from a crummy ski dad to a rockstar ski dad. I now have the secret intel of where the best snow is, right at the palm of my hand. We’ve discovered that the best snow in the French Alps is at Megeve, on the backside of Mont Blanc. But more than that, I went from being a data science newbie to a professional. This was my first web app to build and release, and it’s only the beginning.

This project was not only a fun learning experience for me, but it also transformed me. I went from having lackluster ski days to amazing ski days, and from being a lame ski dad to a rockstar ski dad. And all it took was a little bit of coding and a lot of determination.

So, if you’re a homeschooling dad (or mom!) who loves to ski and the outdoors, and you’re tired of having crummy ski days, give this app a try. You never know, you might just transform into a rockstar ski parent like me.

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