First Day of Snowmaking and Opening Day Update

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We fired up the snow guns for the first time this season!

Although we had a successful first morning of snowmaking today, we have made the difficult decision to delay Sipapu’s opening, which was originally scheduled for Nov. 12. I am hopeful we will be able to open Saturday, Nov. 19. I’m as eager to hit the slopes as you are! Sipapu is still on target to be the first resort to open in New Mexico, and with a season that extends into the second week of April, it has the longest season in the state.

Even though we’re having to push opening day a bit, we’re still forecasted to have an amazing ski season. We do not see a correlation between a warm October/early November and future snowfall or season-long snow conditions. We’ve experienced previous seasons that had plenty of early snow and other seasons when winter weather was slow to materialize but it ended up being a fantastic season. With the help of Mother Nature, coupled with our sophisticated snowmaking system, we will be able to provide a great ski season for our guests. Winter is on its way, and we’re confident it’s going to be a fantastic year!

This summer, Sipapu added new snowmaking infrastructure to maintain our motto, "first to open, last to close." These improvements will allow Sipapu's mountain team to cover the slopes with more snow in less time. We are eager to continue putting our advanced snowmaking system to work! Stay tuned to our snow report for more information. Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing tonight, and we are ready to run most or all guns in our fleet. Thanks to our new system, we’ll be able to push out 1,000 gallons of water per minute- this is over three times our previous pumping capacity! We’ll also be able to make up ground by commissioning our pump tonight, thus tripling snow output.

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All guns are in place on the mountain!

With the delay in snowmaking, we’ve been able to put the finishing touches on the Howdy Extension revegetation. Revegetation is the process of replanting and rebuilding soil. This essentially does three things: stabilizes the soil, mitigates erosion and helps achieve root control. The extra time has allowed the crew to perfect the trail. I can’t wait to experience Howdy covered in fresh powder!

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Snowmaking began this morning, November 9.

As our team prepares the mountain for opening day, we will be sure to keep you posted. Check our website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram regularly for the latest information on opening day. If you have additional questions, feel free to call 800-587-2240. Passes will be issued daily Nov. 18th from 9am to 3pm.  From Nov. 19th on we will issue passes from 8am to 4pm daily.

See you on the mountain!

What's in a Name?

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.

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Here’s how the new trail looks on this year’s trail map.

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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.

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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!


Candy Corn and Opening Day Preparations

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!

1008-MMS-1476714621704-attachment1-20161014 112822 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.

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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.

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We’ll continue to work hard ahead of Sipapu’s Opening Day in 23 days!

Fall Colors and a Mountain Update

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.