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!
Snowmaking 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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
We groomed Gamble Glades this week, and it looks very nice. Photo taken December 15, 2014.
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.
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.
After over 30 inches of snow in November, we're eager for even more snow - and it looks like it's coming this weekend. Last I checked our weather station, we have a "100% chance" of snow at Sipapu starting tomorrow night. This storm system has hit California pretty hard and it shows El Nino patterns, which means we can expect it to come here. Our weather station estimates up to 8 inches of snow starting tomorrow night and through Sunday. It should be a fun weekend for skiing and snowboarding.
Over the last couple of weeks, we have been making snow at every opportunity. This early winter has been warmer than usual - which can be fun for skiing but it is certainly challenging for snowmaking. I'm pleased to report we're making better progress. We have focused our snowmaking efforts recently on Bambi from the top of Thumper to the top of Lift #2. This is important to us because it provides excellent terrain for beginners and access to popular trails Howdy and Beep Beep. We're largely focusing our efforts on a stretch called Bambi Flats - this is another one of those names you won't see on the trail map, but it refers to the stretch of terrain on Bambi just past Rolling Rock.
Our snowmakers have also been making snow at Pedro's Park (another internal name we use - this is also located on Bambi, just past Thumper), and we're beginning to make plans for this terrain park. We've now made enough snow for the park's base layer and we're making additional snow piles for park features. We gunning to have this second terrain park open the weekend before Christmas.
Temperatures look solid for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday for snowmaking, and we're also looking to throw down some fresh snow on Thumper and thicken it up in a few of the higher traffic areas. We'll also be targeting Paul's Folly, Rufous, Lifts 3 and 4 and Smart Chicken. Our expectation is always to have as much of the mountain open for Christmas week, and this year is no different. After this weekend's snowfall, we'll make some decisions about when we'll open additional terrain and lifts - and, as always, we'll keep you updated here.
One final note: many of you have asked about the change in our lodge. Last August, Sipapu's outdoor patio restaurant, Paradise, caught fire and damaged the Day Room. As we plan to remodel, we're currently building yurts. These will offer guests a place to rest, get warm and hang together with family and friends. Here are a few photos of our progress so far:
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