Big Snow

The last 48 hours have been tough but very productive in the construction of our magic carpet. Yesterday, we woke up to 5" of new snow at the top of the mountain, and our base area (and the slope where the new magic carpet is being installed) was mostly muddy. Really muddy. Here are a few shots of what our day looked like yesterday:

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October 30, 2013: snow up top and mud down below (left) and a huge thanks to the guys who weren't afraid to get muddy: JP, Abel, Colby, Travis and Chris (right).

I'm pleased to report that the installation of the lift is nearly complete. We spoke with the manufacturer about our progress, and they told us that on a typical bluebird summer day, you can expect to get as much as 150 installed in a day. We did 200 feet yesterday. They were amazed. We are, too! I want to personally thank Travis, Cody, Abel and Chris for their hard work.

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October 30, 2013: the carpet is ready to be aligned

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A muddy work day

In one of the biggest single October snowstorms in over a decade, we woke up to nearly a foot of snow this morning. Not bad for October - we're hoping it's another sign of good things to come. In the meantime, we've got work to do on our new lift, and we anticipate making snow again tonight.

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October 31, 2013: one of the last remaining aspens. The only other yellow things on our mountain right now are snow guns or snow cats.

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Sipapu opens November 16!

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Magic Carpet Update

We're expecting snow tonight and tomorrow (and we expect to resume snowmaking operations by tomorrow at the latest), and our crew is working overtime to get as much work done on the magic carpet before the ground freezes. Here are a few photos of our progress so far - we're still on track to have this project completed by Opening Day (November 16, 2013):

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The installation begins: we currently have 80 feet installed - just 390 feet to go.

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This carpet replaces our Poma platter lift, renowned as New Mexico's oldest lift.

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From left to right: Chris Bell, assistant mountain manager; Bruce Bolander, managing partner; and John Paul Bradley, mountain manager, discuss lift logistics.

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The path of the future magic carpet

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New Snow, New Lift

Snowmaking operations are still on hold as we continue to wait for colder temperatures. This past weekend, the storm we were eyeing produced a little rain and not enough cold temperatures. This rain didn't affect our snow really at all - because of our commitment to making good, dry snow, the rain just drains out as we wait to resume snowmaking. We hope to turn the guns on again this week.

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The piles of snow are pretty big right now - some as high as 5 feet tall.

While we wait to start making snow, I'm very pleased to report that we're working on another large project. We just received approval to replace Lift #2, Sipapu's Poma Lift on the practice slope. This lift was one of the oldest lifts not only in New Mexico but in the country. It reliably served as New Mexico's first lift to open and last to close for more than a decade and has been one of Sipapu's lifts since 1961.

We're now installing another magic carpet, the conveyor-style lift we currently have in our teaching area. When we installed this lift in 2010, it was so well received by kids, parents and instructors alike that we decided to replace Lift #2 with this one. We're excited to be adding the upgrade to the mountain and are working hard to have it ready by Opening Day.

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 Photo left: what the carpet looked like when it arrived. Photo right: mountain crews working on the carpet installation.

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What the carpet will look like once it's complete.

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The Next Storm is Coming

After making snow for four consecutive nights, we shut off our snowmaking system on Saturday night, and our team of snowmakers got a couple of full nights of sleep. We're now keeping an eye on the weather as we are watching a storm front moving in later this week. We hope that it brings snow and - more importantly - cold temperatures. We knew that by firing up our system this early on in the season, we would see the more seasonal temperatures (as we're seeing right now - it's currently a crisp 56 degrees in our base area), and we intentionally made snow only on the coldest spots on the mountain. These "snow igloos" will preserve the snow for us until we're ready to push it out (which won't happen until much closer to Opening Day, which is scheduled for November 16).

I'm really proud of our snowmakers and this first week of snowmaking operations. As a matter of fact, we're now looking to do a large gun move in the upcolming days to hit new spots. We'll keep an eye on the weather (and you can look at what we're looking at by checking out our weather station here) and keep you updated.

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