First Chair in 47 Days

 

Guests at Sipapu get an extra perk at this time of year—spectacular fall foliage throughout the surrounding Sangre de Cristo Mountains. But our winter operations team has little time for leaf looking. While you enjoy another round on our world-class disc golf course in the fresh mid-60’s afternoons, here’s what’s happening behind-the-scenes as Opening Day—November 11—fast approaches.

Snowcat Maintenance

Our snowcats have been in through routine maintenance, including oil changes, lubrication, filter changes, hydraulic hoses, tire replacement and track work. Imagine what would happen if you never changed the oil in your car. Our snowcats (and lifts, too) would experience similar results if we didn’t do our maintenance. It’s a lot like taking your car to Jiffy Lube, except that our cats have to operate without fail in below zero temperatures and extreme conditions.

Snowmaking Readiness

As you know, Sipapu prides itself on being the first ski area to open and the last to close in New Mexico. In order to achieve that, we repair and maintain our stellar snowmaking infrastructure during the summer, including our sixteen snow guns. According to the almanac, it should be both colder and wetter than normal. We’ll start placing the guns around the mountain around October 15. We typically begin making snow sometime in the middle of October, of course depending on the weather.

Beginner Trail and Magic Carpet Updates

Small enhancements can make a big difference to beginners. This winter, you’ll find a new hand rail on the ski school magic carpet to give our beginners a little extra support and confidence. Plus, we’ve completed a trail widening effort that widens the bottom Beep Beep by a full 15 feet. That should give everyone a little more elbow room.

Did someone say something about fall? The changing season really is stunning at Sipapu. But, all my crew and I see is snow! We’re about 3 weeks away from snowmaking and 7 weeks away from opening day, November 11th. Make sure you’re ready by grabbing your Season Passes and Power Products this week. Our Season Pass and Power Products Sale ends this Friday, September 29.

Speaking of snow, our sister resort, Arizona Snowbowl, was the first ski area in New Mexico—and the United States—to make snow! Snowmaking operations began Saturday, September 23. Stay tuned to learn when Sipapu will begin our snowmaking season.

Arizona Snowbowl is first ski area in the country to begin snowmaking. 

80 Days until New Mexico is Open!

For our guests, Summer at Sipapu means a relaxing hike or ride, trout fishing the Rio Pueblo, friendly rounds disc golf and heaps of laid-back family time--all in the cool Sangre de Cristo mountains.

For our winter operations team, summer means just one thing: get ready for winter. Expansion and renovation of Sipapu’s historic lodge, plus lift and trail maintenance and snowmaking readiness are in full swing. While you soak in the last few weeks of summer, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at our ski season preparations.

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A beautiful rainbow frames the new main entrance to Sipapu’s renovated lodge.

Expanding and Renovating the Lodge
We are so excited for guests to see our renovated historic lodge, with its 2,141 square foot addition on the west side, including a new Rental Shop, Ticket Office, restrooms and a locker room, plus more retail and gathering space. We see it as a place to welcome you to our mountain and a space for you to make memories after spending the day on the slopes. Construction is on schedule to be completed for the upcoming ski season. View our photo album showcasing some of our favorite parts of the “new” old lodge.

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Lift Maintenance
Right now we’re doing a lot of testing to ensure all lifts will work as they should when we open for winter. The reason we talk so much about lift maintenance is because it takes so much time, and is so critical to our successful operations. At this time, we’re about halfway through the work necessary for opening day.

We’re about 8 weeks away from snowmaking and twelve weeks away from opening day. New Mexico will open for skiing and snowboarding on November 11, 2017. Make sure you’re ready by grabbing your Season Passes or Power Cards/Power Packs before the first snow.

Celebrating 20 Years of Disc Golf at Sipapu

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While Tiger Woods was winning his first Masters 20 years ago, construction was starting for a different type of golf at Sipapu Resort. This summer marks the 20th anniversary of the world-class disc golf course at Sipapu.
Even with its rise in popularity through the years, not much has changed in the world of disk golf. There seems to be something so satisfying about the “Ka-chink” a disk makes when it lands in the basket that keeps people coming back. Disc golf is a fun social event where friends can have a beer and compete against each other. It's also great for families looking to get outside and spend quality time together.

Lifelong disc tossers, Denny Borski and Sipapus’ own Bruce Bolander coordinated the installation of the disc golf course 20 years ago. They hired Chris Meyer, a local DGA (Disc Golf Association) member, to design the original course. But why so much effort? They all had a passion for disc golf and believed in the future rise in popularity of this relatively new activity.

When the Sipapu disc golf first opened on June 1st of 1997, the course was a bit different. The original course only had 18 holes with a Pro and a Recreational tee pad at every hole, with the 19th basket as a practice target. After a couple years Bill and Sue added a 20th hole and advanced tee pads to create the course we know and love. The original 18 basket course gave Sipapu its world-renowned reputation, so Bill and Sue aim to keep it as similar as possible to the original. The course features several river crossings, elevation changes, and exquisite fairways you won’t find anywhere else.

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Sipapu was the first alpine ski area disc golf course in New Mexico and hosts tournaments and events from May to September. The first New Mexico State Doubles tournament was hosted at Sipapu in October of 1997, even with four inches of snow on the ground. Although the first tournament was a snowy success, the event was eventually moved to September. The New Mexico State Doubles are the longest continuously run disc golf tournament in the state. The tournament has recently seen record participation with over 50 teams this year!

Sipapu’s signature hole and most people's favorite target is the 18th. It is a downhill tee off that features gorgeous views of the lodge. It’s even fun for noodle-armed players because it’s wide open and they can still launch their disc far down the hill. As players chase their discs down the trail, they walk through beautiful fields of wildflowers full of Wild Iris, Penstemon, Columbine, Indian Paintbrush, Daisies and Oregon Grape. Some tournaments at Sipapu even feature a “longest drive” competition from the 18th tee to the Lodge, a distance of over 1000ft.

The impressive course record is -11 for singles and -15 for doubles. This is based on the 20 hole course with a par of 60. But don’t expect to beat these record—just like in golf, the round can start off great, but after a few doglegged shots, your score can quickly go from par to a triple bogey.

Sipapu is considered one of the premier courses in the US and one that many people have on their bucket list. The baskets will be up May through September while the snow is off the ground. Families staying at Sipapu can try out their hands at disc golfing by renting equipment from the main lodge or bringing their own to play for free.

$15 Million in Improvements across 5 Mountains!

For Immediate Release: April 25, 2017

Durango, Colo. -- Resort officials with the largest ski area collective in the Southwest announced capital improvements that will be made for the 2017/2018 season at five southwestern mountains located in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona, plus Colorado’s largest cat skiing operation.

James Coleman, managing partner of Purgatory Resort in Durango, Colorado; Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff, Arizona; Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort near Taos, New Mexico; Pajarito Mountain Ski Area in Los Alamos, New Mexico; Hesperus Ski Area, west of Durango; and Purgatory Snowcat Adventures, Colorado’s largest snowcat skiing operation, announced the company is investing an additional $15 million for the 2017/2018 season, continuing the aggressive multi-mountain improvement campaign for a grand total of $35 million over three consecutive seasons. Capital improvements include additional trails, enhancements to snowmaking systems, new summer activities, and new offerings to boost the overall skiing and guest experience at the resorts.

“Every year, our company invests millions of dollars in our resorts to make improvements to the guest experience, enhancements to the mountains, and to provide something new and exciting for locals and visitors alike,” stated Coleman. “We are excited to continue our commitment once again this year to improving the skiing experience, which remains our number one priority.”

The 2017/2018 capital investment plan outlines new trails, snowmaking, new summer activities, and more at these mountains:

 

Purgatory Resort

Building on the success Purgatory has seen in recent years with summer activities becoming more popular, additional summer activities are planned for Purgatory Resort. Two new summer activities will be offered in the Columbine area at the resort: summer tubing, accessed via the Columbine Lift 9 and a new 50 foot by 50 foot airbag that guests jump on to from a platform. Coming later in 2017, Purgatory will feature a new mountain coaster, which will be located just north of the Twilight Lift 4 and will operate during both winter and summer seasons. This is the first mountain coaster to be built on as steep of a mountain slope in the U.S. The coaster will be 4,000 feet in length. For winter, Purgatory is expanding its terrain with new intermediate and expert trails on the back- and front-sides of the mountain, and will add new gladed tree skiing terrain. The triple chairlift, Needles Lift 6 will offer a new mid-way loading zone that provides an easier way to access terrain for ski teams, terrain park users, and skiers/riders who want to make laps on the front upper half of the mountain. Improvements will be made to the snowmaking infrastructure, including additional pumping capacity, pipe, electric and additional energy efficient snow guns. The new snowmaking equipment improves the resort’s ability to make snow and open the resort more efficiently.

 

Purgatory Snowcat Adventures

Colorado’s largest snowcat skiing operation with access to 35,000 acres based at Purgatory Resort will be improving its snowcat cabins. Durango’s cat skiing operation will also provide a new portable shelter to be utilized during breaks and at lunchtime.

 

Arizona Snowbowl

Arizona Snowbowl plans to continue making additional major improvements to its skiing experience for next winter, including projects previously approved in the Master Development Plan. New dining options, improvements to the overall shuttle program, and a new rental ski and snowboard fleet are also in the works.

 

Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort

Sipapu’s renovations that included a new 2,141 square foot addition to the historic Lodge will debut during the 2017/2018 winter season, housing a new rental shop with upgraded ski and snowboard rental equipment, a new Ticket Office, retail space, and improved traffic flow with more gathering space, new bathrooms, and a ski locker room. Enhancements to Sipapu’s snowmaking system will help Sipapu continue to be the first ski area to open in New Mexico, a title the resort has held for the past 14 seasons.

 

Pajarito Mountain Ski Area

This summer, Pajarito Mountain and Purgatory Resort are offering a new mountain bike pass, available for $149, which is valid at both Pajarito and Purgatory Resort for unlimited uplifts with access to a variety of trails. For winter, Pajarito will continue to improve its snowmaking infrastructure with enhancements to the holding pond, and the snowmelt collection system. A brand new pump has been fitted into the pond filling system. Pajarito continues to manage the ski area’s hazard trees that were damaged by the Las Conchas fires, while improving future fire mitigation and forest re-vegetation.  

 

Hesperus Ski Area

Next winter, Hesperus will install additional lights, increasing the amount of terrain for night skiing. The mountain will re-open the rope tow and install a new yurt, which provides additional indoor space for guests. The rental shop will be expanded and reconfigured for a more customer-friendly experience, and the ski and snowboard rental equipment will be upgraded.

 

The Most Benefits at the Lowest Price!

The 2017/2018 Power Pass, which is currently available at the guaranteed lowest price of the year, with no price increase over the past two years, an extended no-interest payment plan, and unlimited access to five ski resorts in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. The Power Pass provides unlimited skiing at Purgatory Resort, Arizona Snowbowl, Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort, Pajarito Mountain, and Hesperus Ski Area. Plus free days at partner resorts in the U.S. and internationally, such as Copper Mountain, Crested Butte, Loveland Ski Area, and more. Enjoy free summer benefits with the Power Pass at Purgatory, Arizona Snowbowl and Pajarito. The Power Pass is on sale at the guaranteed lowest price through Apr. 28. For details, visit ThePowerPass.com.  

 

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About all five southwest resorts Part of a collection of ski resorts owned together in the Southwest, Purgatory Resort (CO), Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort (NM), Pajarito Ski Area (NM), Arizona Snowbowl (AZ), and Hesperus Ski Area (CO) total more than 3,300 acres of terrain, 32 lifts, more than 245 trails and 15 terrain parks, plus Colorado’s largest snowcat operation, Purgatory Snowcat Adventures. For the past three years, more than $35 million have been invested in projects, providing significant mountain improvements, including new lifts, more trails, and additional snowmaking infrastructure across the five resorts from 2015-2018.

About Purgatory Resort Purgatory is recognized as a top family-friendly, year-round resort in the Southwest. Purgatory features 94 trails, six terrain parks, 11 lifts, 1,525 skiable acres and multiple restaurants, and shops. Purgatory is home to Colorado’s largest snowcat skiing and snowboarding operation with access to 35,000 acres of powder. Located in the rugged and majestic San Juan Mountains, the resort is 25 miles north of the town of Durango. Other winter activities include tubing, dog sledding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice climbing, snowbiking, backcountry skiing, snowmobiling and more. During the summer and fall, Purgatory features mountain biking and hiking trails, alpine slide, zipline and other family activities. The resort offers a variety of lodging from luxurious condos, vacation homes, and convenient slope-side units, to value-priced lodge rooms. www.PurgatoryResort.com

Purgatory Snowcat Adventures With access to over 35,000 acres of terrain in the San Juan backcountry, Purgatory Snowcat Adventures (formerly San Juan Untracked) is Colorado’s largest snowcat skiing & snowboarding operation. Experienced guides help identify perfect lines and navigate the expansive terrain, including wide open bowls, steep trees, rolling cruiser glades, undulating gullies, cliffs and chutes. Cat trips include avalanche gear, lunch and drinks, and highly trained guides.  For more information, check out Purgatory Snowcat Adventures

About Arizona Snowbowl Founded in 1938, Arizona Snowbowl is one of the oldest continually operating ski areas in the country. Located seven miles north of Flagstaff, Arizona, on the San Francisco Peaks and on the highest mountain in Arizona, Snowbowl offers 40+ trails on 777 acres with eight lifts, three terrain parks and two mountain lodges. Snowbowl is the closest resort to the rapidly growing Phoenix/Scottsdale metro area. For more information, visit www.ArizonaSnowbowl.com.

About Pajarito Mountain Located in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and 30 minutes northwest of Santa Fe, Pajarito Mountain offers 41 trails, 6 lifts and two terrain parks, all located on 751 acres on the eastern edge of the Jemez Mountains. Known for its spectacular views of the Rio Grande Valley and the Valles Caldera National Preserve, the ski area was founded and developed in the late 1950s by the Los Alamos Ski Club. The fall line and bump runs are heralded as some of the best in the state. The mountain offers a ski school, restaurant, and ski rental facility. During the summer, Pajarito Mountain is home to an extensive mountain bike trail system with lift served access, and hosts several New Mexico brewers’ festivals throughout the summer. Pajarito is the closest resort to the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, visit www.SkiPajarito.com.

About Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort is New Mexico’s fastest growing ski resort. Located just 20 miles southeast of Taos and two hours north of Albuquerque, Sipapu offers family-friendly fun to all levels of skiers and snowboarders. Family-owned and operated since 1952, Sipapu is home to New Mexico’s longest ski season and the best deals in the Rockies. The resort is surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Carson National Forest, and features more than 43 trails, six lifts and two terrain parks. On-site amenities include slopeside lodging, a full-service ski shop, ski school and a riverside dining experience at the Riverside Cafe. Sipapu is the closest resort with lodging to the rapidly growing West Texas market. For more information, visit www.SipapuNM.com.

About Hesperus Ski Area The Hesperus Ski Area is located 11 miles west of Durango on Highway 160. Hesperus features 160 leased-acres with 26 trails, one chairlift, a lodge, rental shop, ski & ride school, and tubing hill. Opened in 1962, the summit is 8,888 ft., with a base of 8,180 ft. and a 700 foot vertical. Average snowfall is 150 inches annually. Operations are scheduled December through March. www.Ski-Hesperus.com