Powder Days at Sipapu

The holidays are always a great time to be skiing and snowboarding - and doing it on 11" of new snow (which we picked up over the weekend) makes it all even more festive. We've had nearly 100% of the mountain open and all 5 lifts running daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. - the only runs that are closed are Don Diego (we're building the new terrain park on this run - it's our biggest terrain park and it is scheduled to open mid-January), and Lower Gamble (we're making a little more snow on this popular run. We expect it to be open in a couple of days).

Thanks to the additional snow, we've built out our organic parks to include a few more features, including a log tap, an 8-foot vertical wall ride and a hitching post. We continue to hear fantastic feedback surrounding all of our parks, and we think they're really pretty awesome. We'll see what happens with this next storm cycle (scheduled to arrive at Sipapu on Thursday) - we could finish our organic terrain parks after a little more snow (we're only lacking a couple of features at this point).

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We love this photo of one of our guests in our organic parks. Provided by Instagram fan @tonymaples #sipapunm

As with every holiday season, it is busy. While the mountain is holding up really well, this is one of those rare times where you will encounter lines. If you are planning to visit Sipapu this week, here are a few ways you can spend more time on the mountain:

Come early. Our ticket office and ski school desk open at 8:00, and you can beat the crowds (not to mention increase your chances of snagging the first chair) by arriving shortly after these doors open. I suggest getting your tickets, rentals and ski school lessons early and then enjoying a breakfast burrito while you wait for the lifts to start turning.

Plan ahead. If you know exactly what lift tickets, what lessons, what rentals you need, we’ll zip you through the line much faster.

TIP: If you are staying multiple days, purchase your lift tickets, rentals and lesson packages the day before. Mention this at the ticket window, and they will tell you how you can get squared away the day before.

Pick up your rentals on your way. You'll rarely hear me or anyone else around here suggest you should get your rentals anywhere but at Sipapu, but during this time of year, we do sell out. Rental lines can be long, so save yourself some time by picking up your rentals at your local ski shop before you arrive.

Carpool. Our parking lot is getting full. Getting a ride with a friend will help minimze the time spent hoofing it to your car.

Pack a lunch. We always want our guests to visit the Riverside Café for a meal, although on busy days, it might be the perfect time to brown-bag it.

If you just want a SipaBurger, come early. Our restaurant is the busiest starting around 12:30. If you can grab an early (or late) lunch at the Riverside Café, you’ll spend more time on the mountain and less time in a restaurant line.

Give our employees a pat on the back. I want to personally thank our staff for their hard work everyday - and especially during this holiday week. When lines get long, please know this: we have a dedicated team of men and women who are doing their very best to give you the very best ski or snowboard day possible. A word of thanks or encouragements really does go a long way. Several of our guests have already treated our staff to high fives, muffins and cookies. You know who you are - thank you, and we appreciate it.

In light of all of this, I also want to say thank you to everyone who celebrated the holidays with us this week! We've had a great time with all of you.

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Organic Parks Now Open

Sipapu has been the only ski area in the state (and one of just a handful of ski areas in North America) to offer an organic terrain park and, as a matter of fact, we actually offer two. We built ours during the 2011-2012 winter, and these parks are unique because they exclusively use natural elements from the local forest and only natural snow. These parks offer guests a completely different kind of terrain park experience. If you've never been to one, I have to tell you: they're pretty cool and - more importantly - ours are now open.

Last week, we finished both Playground and Flight School - our two parks serviced by Lift #3. Playground includes a rail, canon and 30-foot wall ride, and Flight School offers a 10-foot gap kicker and canon. We're especially excited about the new 30-foot wall rde (which we're calling the C-Wall because it's shaped like a "c"). This feature has never been opened at Sipapu, and our terrain park manager, Isa, worked hard to build this during the summer. His inspiration for this particular feature came from his boardercross race circuit days, and he wanted to recreate those same feelings, like when he was riding those big berms. According to Isa, this new feature offers skiers and riders an "arsenal of tricks" and an almost unlimited number of possibilities. When you see Isa out there, be sure to tell him thanks for this innovative and new feature.

Over the next couple of weeks, we'll grow Playground to add a full quarter pipe wall ride, two more down rails and one tree tap. True to its name, Flight School is and will be all about jumping, with 6 different jumps, anywhere between 10 and 20 feet in length, and a canon. We'll need about another foot of snow before we open these.

We opened both Playground and Flight School over this weekend, and the feedback has been absolutely incredible. We can't wait for you to try them out - be sure to let our staff know your thoughts or feel free to post them here.

Last but certainly not least, our Pedro's Park is complete, and we ended up moving the two features from our Lower Thumper "pocket park" over to Don Diego. Our snowmakers will be blasting snow on that run as we prepare to open the Don Diego park in mid-January. This is always our biggest terrain park, and this year, we're looking to mix up our feature placement. Visitors who have been in this park before should also know we're adding a new quarter pipe as well as a triple feature - something we've never done before. (The combo will include an A-frame box, the quarter pipe and a 20-foot tabletop). In addition to these, our plan is to have 5 rails and 6 additional jumps for a total of 14 features in the Don Diego park. As always, we'll keep you posted on our progress and let you know when we expect it to open.

Until then, get out there and enjoy the only organic terrain parks in the state! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 3.48.34 PMSnowmaking continues. We'll hit Don Diego next as we begin building Sipapu's largest terrain park.

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31 of 41 trails open at Sipapu!

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Ahead of Schedule

I'm pleased to report that we will open Pedro's Park tomorrow morning! We were originally scheduled to open this on Saturday, and our team worked hard to complete it this afternoon. This is one of the most advanced parks we've ever had at Pedro's Park (while still being a solid intermediate terrain park), and we think it's going to be a lot of fun. If you've been to this park before, you'll notice right away that we moved the park from the skier's right to the skier's left. We did this because the new location is more in the fall line. We've added four features: a double feature that includes a rainbow rail and jump, a flat box and a take off for jumping.

The Lower Thumper pocket park will have a flat rail and a barrel - we've decided to keep the torpedo at the Don Diego Park, which we expect to open in January. The Lower Thumper pocket park will open very soon.

Snowmaking continues and we're pushing out snow on several parts on the mountain. We're tackling Rufous, Lower Rolling Rock and Paul's Folly. One of our groomers pushed snow around Lift #3 and said it looks fantastic.

Last but not least, we're seeing two big technology improvements that will be an even bigger win for our guests: today Kit Carson started their installation of fiber optic lines at Sipapu. We've been talking about this for years, and it's truly exciting to see it come to fruition. The objective is to provide our guests with high-speed internet and wifi. Please continue to stay tuned on this project and its anticipated completion date.

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High speed internet installation has started!

Likewise, starting today, we began scanning lift tickets and season passes at the lifts. This is pretty common at other ski areas, and we're thrilled to finally have those here. Passholders will really benefit from this new technology as it means they can skip the lift ticket window and head straight to the lifts!

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New scanners at Sipapu! Passholders can now go straight to the lift!

We're keeping an eye on the forecast - looks like snow on Christmas Day!

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Pedros' Park

After last weekend's 11.5 inches of snow, we've been working hard to manage that powder and prepare for the next storm, which is headed our way tomorrow.

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Sunday snow on the lift. Photo taken December 14, 2014.

We've been focusing a lot of our efforts on creating Pedros' Park, a terrain park that is located just past Thumper. We're moving a few features from our Lower Thumper park to Pedros' - we expect this park to have a jump/rail combo, barrel and a small box. We'll upgrade a couple of features in the Lower Thumper "pocket park" to include a couple of more advanced features, including a cheese wedge (or a long rail) and a torpedo. We expect to open both parks this weekend - just in time for two big snowboard events, our annual Never Summer Demo this Saturday and Sunday's World Snowboard Day.

We're also still making snow. Bambi Flats is now done, and we're throwing down a fresh layer of snow on Rolling Rock (as this trail is a perfect access point for Pedros' Park). We're also working on Lift #3, Lift #4, Paul's Folly, Rufous, Gamble and Smart Chicken. Patrollers and every available worker are side stepping all around Lifts #3 and #4, and we expect to open those this weekend. As always, if you are interested in getting a free lift ticket in exchange for side step work, let me know. You'll get a great workout and help our mountain staff open more terrain faster.

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We groomed Gamble Glades this week, and it looks very nice. Photo taken December 15, 2014.

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Another shot of Gamble Glades, this time during Sunday's snow. We also expect to open this run this week. Photo taken December 14, 2014.

Our new yurt is also up and running. We are building these yurts to provide our guests with another location to hang out, meet friends and family, and eat sack lunches. We're pretty proud of this yurt and are looking to add a second one soon.

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The new yurt interior. Photo taken December 15, 2014.

Expect to see more terrain, more lifts, more parks open starting on Saturday!

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Photo taken December 15, 2014.

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