Opening Day 2015

This Saturday will be the 13th consecutive time Sipapu has opened before any other resort in New Mexico. It will also mark one of our earliest openings ever.

Snowmaking began at Sipapu last week

We are always working around the clock leading to opening day, and this year is no different. However, yesterday we experienced a unique challenge that will affect our November 14 opening. At about 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning, a tree blew over and took out our transformer, which knocked out our phones and electricity.

This also meant our snowmaking systems was offline and we could not make snow.

Our power and phone lines were restored at about 5 p.m. last night. Within minutes of power being restored, we were making snow once again.

Losing more than 14 hours of snowmaking was tough, but we are committed to maintaining our opening day this Saturday, November 14.

However, we know we will have a delayed opening. At this point, I don't know if that means we'll start turning the lifts at 9:30 a.m. or later: it all depends on how much snow we are able to make today, tonight and tomorrow, and how quickly we can push it out. We will monitor this closely over the next 48 hours and keep you posted here.

What I can absolutely say with confidence is that we will have a route from the top of Lift 1 to the bottom that will be open. Our crews have worked tirelessly to make this happen, and we are excited to have this terrain available for New Mexico's opening day. From the top of Lift #1, here are the trails we will have open (see below trail map for our highlighted route):

Top pitch of Gamble to Sassafrass
Loose Caboose to Thumper
Thumper will cross over to Don Diego around Tower 2

Trails that will be open for Sipapu's Opening Day, November 14, 2015

Please note: we will not have any beginner terrain open, nor will we have either of our magic carpets open by this weekend. We will let you know here once we've opened those beginner friendly trails and lifts.

Several guests have asked about our terrain parks - we typically have a few jibs available on our opening day. At this point, I am not sure what we will have available by Saturday. Anything we have will most likely be at the top of Lift 1.

Here's a photo we snapped of the mountain on Tuesday, shortly after we received several inches of snow. It looks fantastic, doesn't it? This is a tribute to the founding family and the philosophy they established (and we continue to this day): Lloyd Bolander was known for saying he wanted to be able to ski his mountain on a heavy frost, and he did everything he could to ensure that would happen by mowing his slopes, clearing rocks and creating an amazingly clean mountain. This photo is a tribute to the work he did, but do not be fooled: these snowy trails are not yet ready to ski. We haven't even track packed these trails because there isn't enough snow. Nevertheless, this is definitely a sign of good things to come.

Photo taken on November 10, 2015

Top of Sipapu - photo taken November 10, 2015

Our lift manufacturer continues to work on the new lift nearly constantly (often with headlamps on after dark). Thanks to their diligent work, we may have this new lift open for Thanksgiving week! Stay tuned for a confirmed opening date.

The top of Sipapu's first quad.

We will update this blog, our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) as well as our snow report with information about our confirmed opening day start time.

As a reminder: Sipapu will be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and everyday for Thanksgiving week, from Friday, November 20, through Sunday, November 29.

See you Saturday!

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.

Snowmaking begins: November 5, 2015

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).

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

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


The First Snow of the Season

It snowed at Sipapu this week!


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).


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.


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).

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!!!

New chairs for our new chairlift!