You can use the database with QGIS or ArcGIS. There are some examples in QGIS in the documentation on that on Read the docs for the snowexsql
Open Source software means you can participate! Checkout contributing on RTD
Can I work locally? Yep! Checkout the python installation on RTD If you are just doing python development you do not need to install the database.
Big thanks to all the dedicated scientists who went out and collected these invaluable datasets.
A huge thanks to HP Marshall who gave me the opportunity to build this a couple years ago and continues to fund it. Buy him a beer or better yet volunteer for field work to hang out with him!