Snowmaking Begins at Sipapu

At 1 a.m. this morning, our snowmakers fired up the guns and we had most of our fleet going this morning. Today was a great first day, and we expect to make more snow this week as we prepare for Sipapu's opening day (scheduled for next Saturday, November 14!) On average, we start making snow anytime between October 27 through November 10, so we're hitting that window squarely in the middle. It was a snowy day on the mountain in general - we picked up a couple of inches from the system that made its way through New Mexico and Colorado yesterday and today.

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Snowmaking begins: November 5, 2015

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Snowmaking begins: November 5, 2015

If you can believe it, even though our mountain is now white with snow, we have been and will continue to work on our mountain projects, especially the new lift. The motor room should be delivered soon and, once that is installed, we'll be ready to hang chairs and finish the installation. After the final load test, we'll begin loading happy, smiling guests (and maybe an employee or two who has helped build it!) - and we continue to expect this to happen well before the end of the year. Here are a few photos from earlier this week (and before the snow).

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Waiting for the motor room and chairs - it's looking great!

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Re-vegetation on the new trail, which we're calling Faline.

 

The First Snow of the Season

It snowed at Sipapu this week!

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There's nothing more spectacular than seeing the yellow trees pop against a white snowfall. We saw over an inch of precipitation this week - some of it snow, a lot of it rain. We're excited about both. Here's why: rain during this time of year is fantastic because it cools things off and - in particular - brings the ground temperature down. This is a very good thing when you are preparing to make snow: a colder ground means the snow sticks better, which also means that we're putting down a better snow base. While it snowed this week, we were monitoring temperatures closely (all of our snowmaking guns are positioned on the mountain, and snowmakers are on standby as we prepare to start the snowmaking season), although it never dipped below 30 degrees and the humidity was very high (we need a wet bulb of 28 degrees to make snow).

Still, the snow was a reminder that snowmaking season is here.

And ski season is right around the corner (Sipapu is scheduled to be the first ski area to open in the state on November 14).

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We continue to push forward with the new lift quad. We're assembling the 45 chairs and are also getting our operator stations both at the top and the bottom of the lift (photographed below) wired. We have an inspection coming up next week, and we're still set to have this lift open before the end of 2015. It's looking great!

For those disc golfers out there, we've pulled baskets 8, 7 and 5 for snowmaking and new lift construction. The remainder of the course should be open through next week at least.

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New Bullwheel + Wider Trails

Progress continues on Sipapu's first quad!

The top bullwheel arrived and has been installed on our new lift (for more information about Sipapu's new quad, see We're Getting a New Lift!), and our operator stations are now in place both at the top and the bottom of the lift line. The new chairs arrived this week, and our crew is assembling them in the base area as quickly as they can. In the meantime, we continue to work hard on this new lift - and the fall colors make the work pretty enjoyable (to see more fall and construction pictures, click here).

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The bullwheel is in place at the top of the lift

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Progress on the new lift line. The colors are impressive!

We have additional teams of people doing a lot of earthwork: we're doing our final grading on our new lift line, and we're also widening one of our popular beginner trails, Bambi. This project has been on our wish list for a while now, and I'm really happy to tackle it this fall. We're expanding the trail width from 13 feet (in some places) to more than 30 feet. We think our beginner skiers and snowboarders - and all other guests using this trail - will appreciate the extra elbow room.

We will move our guns to the mountain this weekend! As part of our annual tradition, our crew will get a flu shot at the local health fair before positioning guns on our slopes. It's nearly snowmaking season, everyone!!!

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New chairs for our new chairlift!

Opening Day is November 14!

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Today we announced that our opening day has been scheduled for Saturday, November 14. This marks the earliest opening in our resort's history and will be the 13th consecutive time we've opened our slopes before any other mountain in New Mexico! We're excited!

You'll soon start seeing us post updates about getting ready for snowmaking season. As usual, we'll move our snowguns to the mountain in mid-October (just a couple of weeks from now). In the meantime, we're putting nearly every resource into building our quad.

We've received several questions about the new lift - namely, when we expect it to be open. When we made the decision to purchase this lift, we said it would be open in 2015, and we are doing everything we can to ensure that happens. I'm proud to report that our mountain team has worked hard to meet every project deadline, and we're now working with our lift manufacturer, Leitner-Poma, as well as the Forest Service to schedule a load test. This is a key part of a new lift's life: once the lift is built, we load materials (such as sandbags) to emulate what it would be like for people to sit in those chairs. We then run the lift to make sure everything works exactly as it should.

While we determine the date for this milestone, we're staying busy: the top bullwheel is scheduled to arrive this week, and we'll have the lift chairs in hand on October 15.

And, before you know it, we'll have Sipapu's first quad!

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New towers are up - getting ready for Opening Day, November 14, 2015