New Lift Load Test: Complete

For those of you who missed it, we completed our load test on the new lift this week as well as the staged evacuation. Both are mandatory requirements prior to opening a new lift, and both went without a hitch. We have a few remaining tasks to complete prior to opening this lift for our guests, and we hope to have those complete this week. We'll make the announcement here when the new lift is ready to go!

The load test on the new lift

We simulate bodies on the lift to make sure everything works as it should. Our test went great!

Part of the final checklist includes doing a lift evacuation, which we practiced here. Great practice for our staff.

For those of you who have visited us this week, you may have noticed that the very first top of Sassafrass (off the top of Lift #1) is currently closed. We discovered a pipeline leak in that area, which we are currently fixing. We will likely have this repaired by Saturday, and we'll re-open the route starting Friday, December 4. NOTE: this means we do not have a complete, top-to-bottom, beginner route.

We have also been making snow this week, although temperatures now and going forward look pretty marginal. We will need additional snow at the entrance of Lift 3 before we can open that terrain. Again, we anticipate having that ready to go when we open for daily operations.

While all of these projects are keeping us busy, we continue to be very excited about the amount of terrain we have open! Having roughly half of our mountain open in mid-November is fantastic - and we can't wait to add the new lift to the mix!

November 21, 2015

2 Feet of Snow = More Terrain!

First of all, I want to thank everyone who joined us for Sipapu's opening weekend. Thanks to the commitment and hard work of our snow making and mountain operations teams, we were able to open top to bottom and before any other ski area in New Mexico for the 13th consecutive year.

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New Mexico's first skier and snowboarders on the state's first chair of the season.

Shortly after we closed on Monday, it started to snow. We expected 5" to 8", and we ended up with 24" by early Wednesday morning (click here for photos)! It was absolutely incredible and the timing was fantastic, given that we're gearing up for a Friday re-opening and we'll be open daily through November 29.

The new lift line with 2 feet of snow. Not a bad view.

Since the snowfall, we've spent a lot of time grooming and track packing to get things prepped for our Thanksgiving week. It looks really good around here. As of today, this is what we expect to have open starting Friday (click here for a trail map).

Lifts Open:
Magic Carpet - Practice Slope
Magic Carpet - Ski School Area

Trails Open:
3 Beginner
14 Intermediate
3 Advanced
1 Expert

We'll essentially have everything Lift 1 services with the exception of a few tree runs (Pinball, Indecision, Reasonable Anxiety, No Whiners, Wormwood, Jip & Josh Chutes).

We are checking out the terrain around Lift 3 and Lift 4 to see what we can open during the upcoming week, too. Stay tuned for a final confirmation about that.

Our terrain park crew is currently rebuilding the small park at the top of Lift #1. We will keep the park in the same place as last weekend, although our goal is to make it bigger. Again, we will keep you posted here and on our snow report page.

Chairs are getting installed on the new quad

In addition to all of this, we were also working on our new lift (to read the details about Sipapu's first quad, see: Introducing a New Lift!). This week, we finished the haul rope and have been installing chairs, and we're now finalizing a few remaining details before we schedule our final load test.

A quick word about load tests: this is one of the final steps for a new lift installation. During this test, we load the chairs (we'll use barrels of water) to emulate riders and then we'll run the lift. We anticipate that this test will happen soon and it could be scheduled on a day that we are operating. If this happens, we will close the west side of the mountain for the safety of our guests. We will let you know as soon as we have a confirmed date and time for this test.

See you Thanksgiving week at Sipapu! Lifts run daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Friday, November 20 through Sunday, November 29. Daily operations begin Friday, December 4.

Tomorrow's Opening

Tomorrow's the day.

We're going to open our mountain for New Mexico's first day of skiing and snowboarding!

As I posted yesterday (see: Opening Day 2015), we are still planning for a delayed start. While we still have a long night ahead of us (we will continue to make and push snow all night and into tomorrow morning), my gut tells me that we'll be open at around 10:30 or so tomorrow morning. Should you arrive before the lift is open, we'll have music on the patio, breakfast in the restaurant, and plenty of mountain staff to cheer on - we hope you can be there to be a part of the festivities.

We will have a single route from the top of Lift #1 to the bottom, which will include two intermediate trails. From the top of Lift #1, here are the trails we will have open (see below trail map for our highlighted route):

Top pitch of Gamble to Sassafrass
Loose Caboose to Thumper
Thumper will cross over to Don Diego around Tower 2

As a reminder: there will be no beginner terrain or lifts open for our first weekend of operations.

We will likely have a few terrain park features open this weekend, although I do not think they will be ready by our delayed start time. We will be building those as quickly as we can, and they will be located at the top of Lift #1.

Less than 12 hours from right now, we'll be skiing and snowboarding.

Who's ready?






Opening Day 2015

This Saturday will be the 13th consecutive time Sipapu has opened before any other resort in New Mexico. It will also mark one of our earliest openings ever.

Snowmaking began at Sipapu last week

We are always working around the clock leading to opening day, and this year is no different. However, yesterday we experienced a unique challenge that will affect our November 14 opening. At about 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning, a tree blew over and took out our transformer, which knocked out our phones and electricity.

This also meant our snowmaking systems was offline and we could not make snow.

Our power and phone lines were restored at about 5 p.m. last night. Within minutes of power being restored, we were making snow once again.

Losing more than 14 hours of snowmaking was tough, but we are committed to maintaining our opening day this Saturday, November 14.

However, we know we will have a delayed opening. At this point, I don't know if that means we'll start turning the lifts at 9:30 a.m. or later: it all depends on how much snow we are able to make today, tonight and tomorrow, and how quickly we can push it out. We will monitor this closely over the next 48 hours and keep you posted here.

What I can absolutely say with confidence is that we will have a route from the top of Lift 1 to the bottom that will be open. Our crews have worked tirelessly to make this happen, and we are excited to have this terrain available for New Mexico's opening day. From the top of Lift #1, here are the trails we will have open (see below trail map for our highlighted route):

Top pitch of Gamble to Sassafrass
Loose Caboose to Thumper
Thumper will cross over to Don Diego around Tower 2

Trails that will be open for Sipapu's Opening Day, November 14, 2015

Please note: we will not have any beginner terrain open, nor will we have either of our magic carpets open by this weekend. We will let you know here once we've opened those beginner friendly trails and lifts.

Several guests have asked about our terrain parks - we typically have a few jibs available on our opening day. At this point, I am not sure what we will have available by Saturday. Anything we have will most likely be at the top of Lift 1.

Here's a photo we snapped of the mountain on Tuesday, shortly after we received several inches of snow. It looks fantastic, doesn't it? This is a tribute to the founding family and the philosophy they established (and we continue to this day): Lloyd Bolander was known for saying he wanted to be able to ski his mountain on a heavy frost, and he did everything he could to ensure that would happen by mowing his slopes, clearing rocks and creating an amazingly clean mountain. This photo is a tribute to the work he did, but do not be fooled: these snowy trails are not yet ready to ski. We haven't even track packed these trails because there isn't enough snow. Nevertheless, this is definitely a sign of good things to come.

Photo taken on November 10, 2015

Top of Sipapu - photo taken November 10, 2015

Our lift manufacturer continues to work on the new lift nearly constantly (often with headlamps on after dark). Thanks to their diligent work, we may have this new lift open for Thanksgiving week! Stay tuned for a confirmed opening date.

The top of Sipapu's first quad.

We will update this blog, our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) as well as our snow report with information about our confirmed opening day start time.

As a reminder: Sipapu will be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and everyday for Thanksgiving week, from Friday, November 20, through Sunday, November 29.

See you Saturday!