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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I want to thank everyone who joined us on the mountain today. We had all 5 lifts and 30 trails open – the most terrain we’ve ever opened in any November – and today, November 28, 2014, we saw record-breaking attendance. Not just for November: this was the single-biggest day in our resort’s 63-year history.
This is what our mountain looked like on Thanksgiving Day. We were a little busier today.
I talked to many of you in the lift line today. The lines were long at times, but we all agreed: ours was the best lift line in New Mexico.
Sipapu prides itself on its lack of lift lines, but there are a handful of times – like today, and possibly again tomorrow – when we’re busy. Here are my best suggestions for avoiding Sipapu’s lines:
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.
Pack a lunch. We always want our guests to visit the Riverside Café for a meal, although on busy days like today, 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.
A few ways we’re adjusting our operations for crowds: In addition to bringing more staff on these busier days, we will also add additional parking starting tomorrow. We’re also in the process of getting lift scanners, which means that soon our passholders will skip the ticket window and go straight to the lifts. We’re also building yurts for our base area to provide additional seating (for those of you who don’t know, a fire last summer wiped out our patio restaurant, Paradise, as well as part of our Day Room. We are making these yurts available while we determine how to overhaul our base area.)
Know that our staff is working hard on these days to move you through the line quickly. When you see them tomorrow – or the next time you’re at our mountain – be sure to tell them thanks. A lot of them were bumping lifts, slinging drinks, printing lift tickets and fitting rentals while their families and friends were sitting down to a Thanksgiving meal yesterday. We are grateful for our hard-working staff and know you are, too.
We will continue to operate all five lifts this weekend, and we will keep our 30 trails open – and maybe even a couple more. Thanks again for being a part of this historic day!
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At the top of Lift #1. Photographed November 27, 2014.