We just opened Lower Gamble this morning - it had been closed for the last week or so for snowmaking. It's now back open and in great shape.
Lower Gamble - photographed January 16, 2014
We're also getting ready to build out our Don Diego terrain park. This takes our crew about four days to build, so we will be closing this run early next week to begin the work. When we're building parks, we take some time to analyze the previous year's park - which features did guests love most? Which ones were underutilized or not used properly? The contours on our mountain also make for some great "natural" features. We study those spots on the mountain that people love to jump and jib off of most and try and incorporate those elements into our terrain park. This year, we're planning over a dozen features including boxes, jumps and rails, and we're looking at shifting the layout a bit over last year.
The entrance to Don Diego
We're eager to have our park open in time for next Saturday's King and Queen of the Hill terrain park competition, sponsored by NMX Sports. For details on that, click here.
Speaking of events, we have a couple more coming up: the Black Diamond Telemark Festival is this Saturday, and there will be free clinics (including one where I take the immediate to advanced telemarkers on a mountain tour and show them the best places to tele on our hill), free demos and the free skin-up, ski-down race after the lifts close. Next Saturday, January 25, in addition to the King/Quen of the Hill comp, we'll also be hosting the SkiBikeFun 2014 SkiBike Festival! This festival includes free demos and clinics, plus there will be a special moonlight skibike parade on Saturday night, a meet-and-greet reception in the day room and another full day of skibike fun on Sunday.
With the holiday season behind us and all five lifts turning, we're now looking at what we're opening next. Today I sidestepped Wormwood, and I was amazed to see the results of the hard work our team did last summer when they cleaned the face of this run. This run now holds snow better than it's ever done before, and with just a little more accumulation (there's a small chance of snow tomorrow, and we're eyeing another storm that's scheduled to arrive middle to late next week), we'll be able to open it.
Starting Monday, we'll bring some of our snowmakers back to hit a few hot spots on the mountain. By "hot spots," I mean places where we typically make snow and haven't finished, or areas that got a lot of traffic over the winter break. We're going to throw another layer of snow on those areas to make sure those high traffic spots last through the end of the season. We'll also start making snow and spread it across the bottom of Don Diego and Lower Gamble - we'll use this next month for our snow castle.
We're also beginning to talk a lot about terrain parks. Many of you have told me how much you've enjoyed skiing and riding Don Diego - we have, too. Others have asked how soon we'll make Don Diego a terrain park. The answer: soon. NM(X) Sports will have a big terrain park event at Sipapu on January 25, and we expect to have our biggest park open for that competition. We'll keep you updated on that. We're also discussing getting our smaller park, Pedro's Park, open soon, too.
As always, there's a lot to be done, but there's also a lot of good skiing right now! We hope to see you soon.
Tomorrow, December 31, we will open No Caboose, Worm and Upper Chopos from 9:00 until 10:00. I just skied it with Ski Patrol, and the coverage looks pretty good, so we're going to open these trails for just a little while to help solidify the snow (we want to ski in the run without skiing it off, which is why we'll only open it for 60-90 minutes). The access trail is not quite ready to open, so you'll be hiking in from Lift #4. Nearly the entire length of these three runs, top to bottom, will be fresh powder - anywhere from 18" to 25". Although there were no hits on skis today (I did tag one stump with my pole), please be aware that there will be unmarked obstacles, and I would encourage beginner skiers and snowboarders to sit this one out.
For the rest of you powderhounds, come get it. 9:00-10:00 sharp tomorrow!
Last week, we - and all of our guests - got a fantastic Christmas gift: the opening of Smart Chicken and Lift #4. It's good to have all of the lifts turning at Sipapu once again.
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Everyone was in a festive mood when we opened Lift #4.
As of today, we now have nearly 100% of our mountain's groom-able terrain now open. We're now prepping for the next storm and sidestepping tree runs. We're focuising on No Caboose next and will look at Worm after that.
Nearly 100% of our groom-able terrain is now open!
Our snowmakers are officially done for this season. We'll continue to monitor hot spots on the mountain (areas that get a lot of traffic) and we might hit those spots with a bit of snow next month but, overall, our snowmakers are done and have transitioned into terrain park staff, groomers, and ski patrollers. Last week, one of our snowgun vendors visited the mountain, and I was able to ski a few runs with him. He pointed out that our manmade snow is actually a higher quality than most because most of the snow guns we use produce a smaller water molecule than other manufacturers. Ultimately, what this means is that we're able to create really good snow. What's more is that right now the sun is positioned very far south, which means a lot of our runs are in the shade. With the cooler temps and a lot of our snow shaded, the snow is not melting and holding up really, really well.
All that to say: the snow is great and the lift lines are non-existent at Sipapu! Come on up!