A few photos from Don Diego today. No crowds, no lift lines at Sipapu!
The entrance to Don Diego - taken December 22, 2013
Don Diego - taken December 22, 2013
For those of you who have visited us in the past, you'll know that Don Diego is a run we've used for our mountain's biggest terrain park. We're planning to once again build out our park here. Our snowmakers double as terrain park staffers, so once we finish making snow (which is iminent), we'll have them start focusing on our parks. In the meantime, we continue to love the snow on this run!
Playground and Flight School (where our organic terrain parks are located) are also currently being used as trails. While the runs are in great shape for skiing and snowboarding, we'll need a bit more snow to build out the park features. We typically have all of our parks (3 of them) going by mid-January. We'll keep you posted on that.
We do, however, continue to maintain a small park with its four features on Thumper.
I just finished pushing out Don Diego, and I'm virtually speechless. I have never pushed out that much volume of that much quality snow on an entire run. Last night, I started pushing it, and the snow was so soft that I let it sit overnight. This morning, I just put the blade down and tilled it out. Honestly, it felt like the most amazing, natural snow.
There is a lot of snow on Don Diego!
It feels like we cracked the code for snowmaking on this run, and Mother Nature would have to approve. We made this snow about 10 days ago when the temperature was between -13 and 10 degrees. After that, we let it sit for a week and any moisture those mounds of snow got on top of it only helped cure it. The result: you'll be skiing and riding on this creamy, amazing snow. It's unbelievable.
And it's now open.
Open trails as of December 20, 2013. We're working hard to open Lift #4 next.
Today we will open Lift #3 and the surrounding trails (including Brandy, Candy, Flight School and The Playground). Flight School and Playground are where our organic terrain parks are located (Sipapu is the only ski area in New Mexico with organic parks. These parks are made entirely out of natural resources - including natural snow). We currently do not have quite enough snow to build out these parks, but we will open them as trail runs for now.
Highlighted trails indicate which routes are open as of today.
Snowmakers are down to their final snowmaking days of the winter. We'll be working on the Face of Gamble, Paul's Folly, West Point (this is the west-most bend of Sassafrass) and Smart Chicken before shutting down our operations until February Fun Fest (we always create a pile of snow for our huge snow castle - the castle opens the Saturday of President's Day Weekend and remains open until early March).
Our snowmakers will finish snowmaking in a few days. After that, they won't make snow until we create this snow castle in February.
We're looking forward to a fantastic holiday season! Snow is in the forecast this Saturday and Sunday - we can think of not better way to kick of our winter break!
On Tuesday, Sipapu reported 11" of snow, and we ended up posting the most snow in the entire U.S. that day. We were only expecting a couple of inches, so it was a pleasant surprise when we cleared the snow stake on Tuesday morning.
Tuesday's snow report showed us #1 in the United States. Courtesy of onthesnow.com
We've had an impressive snowmaking run over the last week. Thanks to the very cold temperatures, we had over 168 hours of non-stop snowmaking, and it was a very good run. Midway (that stretch of our mountain where Sassafrass turns into Bambi) was knocked out in just four days, which I think is a record for us. Our groomers spent eight hours a day pushing snow, just so that we could un-bury the guns and ensure they get good hang time while creating paths to move the guns to the next spot.
Unburying the snowmobile at the Entrance to Lift #4. We hope to open this lift very soon.
We call our big piles of snow "whales" and our team was particularly proud of a whale on Don Diego. It had to be at least 16-20 feet tall and 20-30 feet long. Impressive.
While temperatures are warming up a bit, we experienced some pretty extreme cold temperatures at night. During those coldest periods (where temperatures dipped well below freezing), we had to keep our guns going non-stop. If we shut the water flow at all, it would freeze the water within our lines in seconds. Consequently, we got a little creative during our gun moves: instead of turning the guns off (and risking freezing our water lines), we would very s-l-o-w-l-y creep our guns to the next locations while they were still running.
This year, it took us just 4 days to cover Midway with enough snow to open. We think this is a record.
Midway is now open, which gives us a good top-to-bottom beginner route. This week, we should be able to open the second pitch of Gamble, Upper Rufous (and we're gunning to open all of Rufous by this weekend) along with Don Diego.
In terms of what's next, we're now focusing our snowmaking efforts on Lift #3 (under the lift lines plus at the bottom and top of the lift) and hope to have that open by next week. We're also working on Lift #4, Smart Chicken, West Point, Paul's Folly and the Face of Gamble.
Sipapu is known for having some of the best tree skiing in the state, and these runs (above Lift #4) will be opening soon.
If you haven't picked up a copy of this month's Sunset Magazine, please check it out: Sipapu was named one of the magazine's "favorite family venues." Here's what they said about us:
"With friendly lift operators, slopeside parking, and a general store hawking homemade fudge, SIPAPU SKI AND SUMMER RESORT exudes old fashioned charm. The northern New Mexico resort also keeps skiing affordable, with free lessons for skiers, $50 Car Load Days and Kids Ski Free Week, which this year falls Mar 1-7." - courtesy of Sunset, December 2013, "Mountains of Fun for the Whole Family"
We were proud to be highlighted in Sunset - being a family-friendly ski area is something that's incredibly important to us. Let us know how we're doing with that - and how we can make it better.
Sipapu is open everyday, and lift tickets start at $15! We hope to see you soon.
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