The Last Weekend

We've had several days of temperatures in the mid- to upper-60s, and while we're enjoying these warmer tempartures, it's been tough on the snow. We've been pushing it for several hours today, and here's how the mountain is shaping up for tomorrow:

We will have the first pitch of Gamble, Sassafrass to Loose Caboose, Loose Caboose to Thumper and Thumper down to Don Diego open. For those familiar with our mountain, you'll know this is our Opening Day route. It seems only fitting that we're closing the season skiing and snowboarding this exact route.

We will also open Paul's Folly and have a small park in the base area with two features, a rainbow rail and a small box.

Even though the route will touch on Sassafrass, let me emphasize that we will not have a top-to-bottom beginner route available this weekend.

But we will be open for New Mexico's final weekend, and we will be skiing and snowboarding - because that's what we love to do around here. We hope you enjoy it with us - it's on the house!

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Last to Close in New Mexico

This weekend will mark the tenth time in 12 years that Sipapu has been the last ski area to close in the state. Saturday and Sunday will be a lot of fun, and we hope you can join us as you take your last turns of the season in New Mexico (and you'll do it for FREE - click here for details about how to get those free lift tickets). The below list is a projection of what we're gunning to open - please check our snow report (click here) on Saturday morning for final details.

Lifts
Lift #1

Trails
Gamble
Rufous
Paul's Folly
Loose Caboose
Thumper
Butterfly
Parts of Sassafrass and Bambi
Don Diego
Lower Rolling Rock

Terrain Parks:
At this point, we may be able to open a couple of features on Don Diego, but most of this will be a dedicated trail. We'll make the final call after we push the snow tomorrow.

We will see what the mountain looks like after we groom tomorrow, but there is a good chance that we will not have a beginner route from top to bottom open. That being said, we're looking at opening at least eight trails, the weather looks beautiful, and everyone SKIS FREE. We hope you celebrate closing weekend with us!

One final note: the Balsamo family has been a very special one at Sipapu. They've been passholders for years, and what's always struck us about this group is that they are always skiing together. If Dad wants to do a tree run, they all do a tree run. If one of the kiddos (there are 5 of them!) want to ski bumps, they all ski bumps. They've dominated local and regional terrain park competitions, and this weekend, Marion Balsamo and Sammy Balsamo competed in the 2014 USASA (United States of America Snowboard Association) National Championships in Copper Mountain, where Marion took home gold and Sammy snagged bronze in the rails division, and Marion won 4th and Sammy won 8th in the slopestyle comp. Keep an eye on those Balsamos - you could very well see them on an Olympic podium someday.

We're proud of you, Marion and Sammy, and we're especially proud that you and your family call Sipapu home.

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Marion wins the national championship in the rails division and takes 4th in the slopestyle comp.

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Sammy wins bronze in the rails division and 8th in the slopestyle comp.


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April is FREE

It's snowing at Sipapu right now. This has us pretty giddy about our re-opening on Saturday and Sunday, so we've decided to up the ante by offering everyone FREE lift tickets this weekend, April 5-6, as well as our closing weekend, April 12-13.

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The base area from earlier this morning. 2" reported as of noon.

We were just on the mountain checking out the conditions, and the snow is holding up pretty well. Here are the lifts and runs we expect to open. As always, please be sure to check our snow report for final openings.

Lifts
Lift #1
Lift #2

Trails
Sassafrass
Bambi
Lower Bambi
Practice Slope
Gamble
Loose Caboose
Thumper
Paul's Folly
Rufous
Don Diego
Butterfly
Lower Rolling Rock

Terrain Park
Don Diego - we will need to pull out a few features, so it will be modified over last week. Stay tuned to learn how this park will change.

We also hope to have our ski school area magic lift operating, although we will make that decision on Saturday.

It has been a fun winter, and we're excited to be making turns April 5-6, and again as New Mexico's ONLY ski area scheduled to be open on April 12-13.

What's more is that you're going to do it all for FREE. It's another small way we like to say thanks for another fantastic ski and snowboard season.

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The Snow Castle

Ever since Sipapu started making snow (roughly 25 years ago), we have been making a snow castle. The reason for the castle is two-fold:

1. We make snow in February to "bank" it for March. When the snow is one big heap, it stays cold and preserved. That way, when the spring temperatures warm up, we have snow available to push out in the base area.

2. A less practical reason, but a lot more fun: we love a good reason to throw a party, dress up and celebrate. A snow castle is a great excuse for all of that!

We made the snow for the snow castle last month and, if you visited us anytime from mid-January until the first week of February, you've actually skied/snowboarded on snow castle snow. Historically, we typically make that big pile the week before February Fun Fest, Sipapu's annual President's Day Weekend festival, but thanks to some improved efficiencies in our snowmaking system, we were able to make it a few weeks ago.

The below photos show a visual timeline of how we make the castle. At any given time, we'll have 1-5 staff members working on the snow, and we estimate it takes about 125 hours to build it. No two years are ever alike in design, and we always create the castle with kids in mind: we want to make it as FUN as possible for them. The guys who work on the castle - groomers, ski patrollers, terrain park crews, you name it - get to use a lot of creativity in this process. Call them snow castle craftsmen!

This year's creation is about 5,000 square feet and about 2 stories tall. We've made a couple of tunnels - including our biggest one yet! - and at least 5 slides. There are also five levels to the castle and each level has a platform that includes areas for kids to play. There are also countless steps, so moms and dads can bank on some worn-out kids! We'll drop the ropes on the castle at 9 a.m. tomorrow!

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A blank canvas. We gathered this snow on Saturday night, Feb. 8.


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The snow pile on Feb. 9. We allow the big pile to cure for 24 hours before we start carving.


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On Monday, Feb. 10, we started carving. We always start at the top and work our way down.


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Progress as of Feb. 11. We use chainsaws (Stihl 046 Bar 36 for all you connoisseurs out there) to carve.


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Progress as of Feb. 12. We love creating spots for kids to discover and play.


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Nearly complete. The castle as of Feb. 13 - we will spend today smoothing out the snow and getting it ready for tomorrow!


Depending on snow conditions, we typically leave the castle up until early March.

Temperatures have been fairly warm this week, although a warm spell is pretty common for our ski area this time of year. While we are always eager for snow, the bluebird days are the best times to come out, bring your kids and enjoy these warm temperatures.

We'll see you on the castle this weekend!

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