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!
New towers are up - getting ready for Opening Day, November 14, 2015
The landscaped has really changed around here.
The new towers are in place at Sipapu!
The helicopter returned to Sipapu this week to install our new lift towers and crossarms. In case you were wondering, it takes approximately 37 minutes for a helicopter to install these five towers and crossarms. 37 minutes. It was an impressive half hour. The helicopter arrived a little before 7 a.m., we started working just before 7:30, and we were done by 8:04.
It was fast, fast work.
To see a video of what it looked like, click here.
All towers are now installed
The helicopter started at Tower 5, at the top of the lift line, and we worked our way down. The helicopter would grab a tower at the base area and fly it to our position on the mountain. There were four of us waiting by the concrete tower foundation, and when the helicopter flew the tower, we would grab it and thread the nuts to the foundation bolts as fast as we could. As soon as we were done, we would step away, and two guys would climb the newly-installed tower, unhook the cable from the helicopter, and give the thumbs up to the helicopter pilot. It was kind of like being a part of a NASCAR pit crew - we were working and moving as fast as we could.
We're now preparing for a crane to set the bottom terminal, and we're also starting to build the operators' stations.
Be sure to check out the new towers and our new trail this weekend at Music on the Rocks! This is a FREE music festival, and it's one we all enjoy around here. Click here for details.
For those of you who missed it, we had a helicopter at Sipapu two weeks ago. Our lift manufacturer brought the chopper in to transport concrete from our base area to each tower foundation. As we expected, the work went quickly: the helicopter delivered a total of 60 yards of concrete, which meant 60 trips back and forth between the base area and the mountain. It took right at 2.5 hours to complete.
Next week, the helicopter returns: this time, to set all of our lift towers.
As we prepare for the helicopter's visit, part of our team is working to assemble the towers, and we have several people working to install new snowmaking line. This week, we've buried over 600 feet on Loose Caboose, and it was definitely a challenge. We moved boulders that were equivalent to medium-sized cars! Next, we're doing quite a bit of earth work and grading on our new trail under the lift line. We're starting at the top stations and working our way down, re-shaping the mountain to make this new trail fantastic for everyone. If you are at Sipapu and watching the construction, please be aware during our grading: rocks are moving (we've created big slash piles in strategic places on the mountain to act as a big catcher's mitt for anything tumbling down). As always, please make sure one of our crew members see you when you come and when you leave.
We'll let you know once a date has been confirmed for the next helicopter visit at Sipapu - it will happen next week! In the meantime, check out these photos from our last helicopter visit:
This Friday, August 28, we will have a helicopter on the property to transport concrete for our lift towers' foundations. Watching helicopters come and go from the mountain is one of my personal favorite parts of the lift construction process. We do not anticipate using helicopters for the tower installation, so this will be your best (and possibly only) chance to see a helicopter aiding in our construction. Here are a few things you need to know if you are on site:
For your safety, Sipapu's mountain and parking area will be closed on Friday, August 28, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. This includes everything from the hotel to the base area, and all parts of our mountain (including our disc golf course and the Rio Pueblo within this area).
All base area facilities, including our lodge, restaurant and store will be OPEN and maintain their regular hours during this time. To access these facilities, please drive to the front (north side) of the lodge.
The lift tower foundations as they were being built. The helicopter will fly in concrete for these foundations.
The two parking areas that are north of the lodge (the one directly in front of the lodge and the second that's across Highway 518) as well as the parking areas near the Apartments will remain open during this time.
If you would like to watch the action, the best way to do it is from the parking lot that's north of the lodge and across Highway 518. From there, you can hike to a higher viewpoint and see the entire lift line as well as the helicopter taking off and landing. If I were you, I'd start watching well before noon. The earlier, the better.
Depending on how high you hike, you can see views like this from across Highway 550. Perfect helpicopter viewing spot!
For your safety, please do not not attempt to access any restricted areas from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (including the mountain and our base area).
All lodging guests will be able to access their rooms during this time. For more information, please call 800-587-2240.