Another year is coming to a close and - as with every year - it's hard not to think about the things that happened over the last 12 months - and consider what we're going to do beginning January 1. Here are my own favorite highlights:
Sipapu Opens its First Quad
Without a doubt, this was the most exciting part of our ski area's year. This took months to complete, and we opened it on November 25 - the day before Thanksgiving. We've been thankful ever since. This lift was part of a massive $10 million multi-mountain capital campaign that brought new lifts, new trails and new snowmaking to virtually every resort in our Collective. Click here to read more about the lift.
First Open in New Mexico
Our November 14 open date marked the 13th time we were open before any other ski area in New Mexico, and we were able to open our main lift, Lift 1. This is always a celebratory event, and this year was no different.
The Snow. Over 100" on the Season!
This winter, we've already seen over 100" of snow, which is the most snow I've seen this early in the season. The coverage has been phenomenal!
A New Pump for Improved Snowmaking
This may not sound very exciting, but our new pump has made a tremendous impact at our resort. This addition has improved our snowmaking efficiency exponentially. What this means for you is that you enjoy better conditions faster.
Photo courtesy of the Taos News
Sipapu Hosts the New Mexico State Disc Golf Championships
We are incredibly proud of our world-class disc golf course, and we've enjoyed being the host of this state tournament for years.
Growing Our Terrain Parks
We've made a strategic decision to really grow our terrain parks, and in 2015, in addition to our two organic terrain parks (New Mexico's only organic parks!), Sipapu opened the biggest ever Don Diego terrain park. We love that park and are already making plans for this year's set-up. It's scheduled to open MLK weekend.
The snow castle.
This is one of those unique features about our resort that our guests love - and you can't find anywhere else in the state. Last year's castle took about 10 days to complete, start to finish, and we had it opened from President's Day weekend through the first week of March. We'll do the same thing again this year.
A New Season Pass. A New Collective.
This year was a unique one for our small resort. In addition to handling operations at Pajarito, our company acquired Purgatory Resort in Durango, Colo., and Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff, Ariz., making our group the largest ski area operator in the Southwest. We promptly added all four resorts on our new season pass, which we called the Power Pass.
When I look back on this year, I'm reminded - more than anything - of the people that call Sipapu home. Our guests, our staff, our friends, our families. You are the ones that make Sipapu so Family Friendly, Family Fun. Here's to a fantastic year - and an even better 2016!
We've just finished making snow on key spots that are serviced by Lift 3, and I'm proud to announce that starting tomorrow, December 23, we'll have all 6 lifts running, 41 of our 42 trails open and two additional terrain parks (we're opening our two organic terrain parks, New Mexico's *only* organic parks), bringing our terrain park count up to three. Our terrain park crew is literally building out our new park features just as quickly as we move our snowcats. By tomorrow morning, I'll have a better idea of how many features we'll open (as of now, we're looking at up to 6 features per organic park). Click here for our trail map to see how you can access these parks.
Nice shot of our ski patrol station at the top of Lift 1 and some grooming detail. Photo by Instagrammer @jonahmarkthompson
We're really excited to have the entire mountain open and available to all of our guests, especially in light of the snow that's coming our way. We've already picked up several inches over the last few days: here's what our weather station says is up next. Keep in mind that our weather station sometimes underestimates the amount of snow we actually receive (sometimes by a lot - we were planning for 14" in the last storm cycle that brought us two feet!!!) Click here to see the latest from our weather station.
No matter what, it will be a fun, snowy holiday week at Sipapu. We hope you can join us!
At 1:30 today, we opened Lift 4 and, judging by the number of smiles and "thank yous" I've seen from our guests and patrollers, the conditions are fantastic. I've been told the powder is knee deep, fluffy, light and dry - and it's now available for everyone.
Here is a trail map that shows what terrain is currently open. We're now up to 38 trails:
Check out all of the terrain we've just opened!
During this very snow week, we've been making snow on Lift 3's lift line, and we expect to open that before Christmas. It's looking great over there.
In case you missed it, we picked up 30 inches of the snow since last Saturday - some of the most snow in New Mexico! Come on up and enjoy it.
Snowy chair photo from earlier this week. Courtesy of Greg Payne
The last few days have been very snowy in New Mexico and especially at Sipapu! Since Saturday, we've picked up 28" of snow. Not bad, considering we were anticipating closer to 14". These back-to-back winter storms were impressive - the second one, especially (which brought us snow Monday and Tuesday of this week). That system was pushing south out of Chama, New Mexico, and when we see that happen, we are usually in the bull's eye of the storm. This time was no different.
Here's what our mountain looked like on Sunday morning. By then, we'd received over a foot of snow.
Our mountain crews have been working hard to manage the snowfall and drop the ropes on additional terrain. We've already opened Chopos, Thunder Bunny, Jimbo Gulley and Upper and Lower No Whiners.
Now that the storm has moved its way out of New Mexico, the snowmaking temperatures are fantastic. We're capitalizing on this and targeting a few key spots, including the Lift 3 lift line, Rufus, the second pitch of Gamble and the exits to Lifts 3 and 4. We've also closed Thumper to make more snow there, and I anticipate opening this run either tomorrow or Friday.
Many guests are asking us about when we'll open Lifts 3 and 4. We may have one or both of those lifts open as early as this weekend. Ski Patrol will be evaluating the terrain in these areas and we'll have them open as quickly as possible.
This is what the top of Lift 3 looked like earlier this week. The conditions out here are fantastic - we can't wait to open this terrain.
Either way, I anticipate having everything open by Christmas Eve. There's no better holiday gift around here! (Except perhaps a season pass - the sale ends this Friday!)
By the way, our weather station indicates we could be seeing more snow next week. One thing is for certain: it will be a very white Christmas at Sipapu.
Have you seen our new yurts? This one is located right next to the duplex. The bridge you see here is new, too. It takes you directly to our new quad!