You’ve probably heard us refer to Sipapu’s new trail as the Howdy Extension. We’re excited to announce we’ve named the bottom of the new trail (formerly Lower Bambi) Badger’s Trail. We’re also moving one of our terrain parks, Pedro’s Park, onto this new trail and will be named Badger’s Burrow! The mountain operations team has always called this undeveloped area of the mountain Badger’s Trail because that was the name of the trail that Bruce Bolander took back to his house down the road from Sipapu.
Here’s how the new trail looks on this year’s trail map.
Owner James Coleman looking up Badger’s Trail on October 24
Badger was one of Bruce and Winonah Bolander’s (Bruce’s dad, Lloyd Bolander founded Sipapu!) dogs. Several trails at Sipapu have been named after Bolander dogs (Sassafras,Razzmatazz, Howdy, Candy and Brandy) so Badger's Trail was a natural choice! Badger was quite the personality at the resort. All of the guests loved him and he loved all of the treats they would give him! He was also well trained and knew when there were skiers across the bridge he could not play over there but when they were not skiers he would run over and join Bruce in making snow.
Badger as a pup (left) and watching over the Base Area (right).
As we put the finishing touches on the new trail, we’ll be sure to keep you posted on when you can expect to try out Badger’s Trail and Badger’s Burrow! Opening Day is now 17 days away!
Around this same time every year, my diet shifts to candy corn, Fritos, chia seeds and Red Bull. This is a sure sign that Opening Day is quickly approaching and it's time to finish prepping the mountain for New Mexico’s Opening Day - happening right here on November 12th! My mountain operations crew is doing just that: buttoning up outstanding projects so we can focus solely on snowmaking when the temperatures cooperate. We typically start making snow 20 days after Arapahoe Basin starts blowing their own snow. This year, A-Basin made snow on October 6th so that would put us at next Wednesday to start making snow. I’ll keep my eye on the forecast and see if an earlier opportunity presents itself, in fact, temperatures do look promising Tuesday!
Here’s a quick update on the outstanding projects we’re working hard to finish up:
On Tuesday all of our lifts underwent a routine inspection. This is done by a third party inspector who inspects over 200 lifts across the country every fall. I use this as an opportunity to see how well our annual lift maintenance was conducted and to make sure our work is up to the industry standard. It’s no surprise all of our lifts passed their inspections with flying colors!
Lift inspections on October 18!
This week we’ve been pressure testing all 3,100 ft of the main snowmaking pipeline. Today we’re testing the last 6 laterals (the 2” pipe that extends from the main line to the snowmaking hydrants). When that is complete, we will run the electrical cable to each hydrant and bury all remaining pipeline and wires. I expect to finish all snowmaking preparations over the next few days.
Working on the snowmaking pipeline
Our new trail, the Howdy Extension, is nearing completion. We’ve already graded 3 of the 5 acres and once that gets done, we’ll work on revegetation. A lot of people ask what revegetation is and why it's so important. Revegetation is the process of replanting and rebuilding soil. Here at Sipapu, we put down grass seed and cover it with hay. This essentially does three things: stabilizes the soil, mitigates erosion and helps achieve root control. I prefer to do revegetation before winter so the grass seed will benefit from good moisture and germination in April and May. Spring showers provide slower runoff and helps settle the soil in comparison to the heavy rains of monsoon season.
Regrading the Howdy Extension
We’ll continue to work hard ahead of Sipapu’s Opening Day in 23 days!
If you haven’t been to Sipapu during the fall before, now is the time to do it! Take a hike or play a round of disc golf on the mountain in search of autumn hues. You won’t have to look too hard to discover aspen groves boasting their golden leaves. No matter what you choose I guarantee you’ll have a colorful view! If you ask me, the best place to see the fall colors is the top of Don Diego or anywhere along Lift 3. Click here to see an album of our favorite fall photos.
Golden aspens can be spotted all over the mountain!
Our most involved mountain project this year has been the Howdy Extension. This trail is an extension of Howdy and Lower Bambi and will add 5 acres of skiable terrain to Sipapu’s mountain stats. To give you a better idea of its expansive size Chris Bell, Snowmaking Manager, says “you could fit the length of 10 football fields” on Howdy’s Extension! Upon completion, this trail will be one of the longest and certainly the widest trail at Sipapu.
Sipapu’s newest trail, the Howdy Extension, as seen from across the highway on October 10.
I’m just as anxious as you are to see how Howdy skis covered in snow but there are a few more projects to complete before it will be ready for its inaugural run. We’re burying new snowmaking pipeline (see me in action in the photo below) to service the new terrain. This week we pressure tested the new pipeline and I’m happy to report everything is working very well. The next step is to install and bury the pipeline in preparation for snowmaking!
Chris and I laying the snowmaking pipeline into place on Howdy’s Extension.
Our annual lift maintenance is nearly complete and we expect to move snow guns into place next week in preparation for snowmaking. New Mexico will open for skiing and snowboarding on November 12 - right here at Sipapu - in only 31 days! Follow our countdown to Opening Day here.
Earlier today, James Coleman, managing partner at Sipapu and our collective of ski areas, announced the addition of Hesperus Ski Area (located 11 miles west of Durango in Hesperus, CO) to the Power Pass family. This is fantastic news for not only our passholders but for everyone who enjoys skiing in the Southwest! Here are just a few reasons why:
Power Pass holders now enjoy unlimited access to night skiing. Located south of Purgatory and just minutes from downtown Durango, Hesperus is the only resort in our collection of ski areas to offer night skiing (evening operations extend until 9:00 p.m. Mondays - Saturdays). It’s no secret that our managing partner, James Coleman, is all about making skiing more accessible for everyone. This mountain allows anyone in the Four Corners area to ski all day at Purgatory and then well into the night at Hesperus.
Plus, in addition to its 26 trails, Hesperus is the second mountain in our Power Pass family to offer tubing!
Photo credit: Scott DW Smith
New Mexico Pass PLUS and New Mexico Pass holders now have unlimited access to Colorado skiing. Not only do these passes allow you to ski or ride everyday at Sipapu and Pajarito, but you can now have unlimited access to Hesperus, too!
The marketer in me can’t help but point out that our season passes are on sale through September 30. For the lowest available pricing, purchase your pass online here! Also, payment plans are still available now through November 15!
Hesperus will also join the Power Pack and Power Card - if you know you want to ski but aren’t ready to commit to a pass, be sure to check out these discount cards, available for purchase at our ski shows!
Parents Love to Bring Their Kids to Hesperus. I love Hesperus because - in many ways - it reminds me of Sipapu: it’s small, it’s affordable and it’s perfect for young families who are learning to ski. There’s rarely a lift line. After one or two laps, the liftie will know you by sight - maybe even by name. Kids won’t get lost. Parents can (and often do!) hang out in the lodge and can watch their kids go from the chairlift to the run to the base area - and all over again. As a mom of two young rippers, I’m excited to bring my kids to Hesperus. I guarantee we’ll delay more than one bedtime so that we can all ski under the lights as a family.
Hesperus is the only resort in our collection of ski areas to offer night skiing. Photo credit: Scott DW Smith.
When James Coleman took over operations at Sipapu in 2000, Sipapu had just 3 lifts and 20 trails. Today, our ski area boasts 6 lifts (including our first-ever quad, which we opened last year - the third lift in just 3 years!), 43 trails and Sipapu is considered the fastest growing resort in New Mexico. With that kind of track record, I can’t help but think that Hesperus is destined for even greater things, too.
Welcome to the family, Hesperus!