Colder Temperatures, Pushing Snow and Welcoming the UNM Ski Team

Practice Slope. Photo Cred: Brian Martinez

I just got done pushing snow down at the base area and thought I’d give you all an update on today’s snow conditions. Last night, temperatures were originally forecasted to be marginal at best—but when I checked the thermometer around 4:00 this morning, the air temperature had dropped to 27.7 degrees and the wet bulb was reading at 24 degrees! The freezing temperatures mixed with low humidity made for unexpected snowmaking conditions, so I ended up blowing snow from just before 5am up until 9am. I’m really pleased the forecast was incorrect and we were able to have a bonus night of snowmaking!

Here’s how the base area looked after I finished pushing snow piles out this morning.
Photo Cred: Brian Martinez

Although we’ve been making a ton of snow and pushing out piles with the snowcat, we’re currently concentrating our efforts on patching up a thin spot on the middle of Thumper, right along Lift 5. Last night I had three guns focused on beefing up the snow in that spot, and tonight my plan is to focus five guns on that spot. With temperatures forecasted to drop substantially tonight and tomorrow, the mountain operations team is optimistic we’ll be able to supplement the snow in some of the thinner areas.

We are also excited to welcome the University of New Mexico’s Ski Team to Sipapu this Sunday and Monday. The college’s top skiers will be here, setting up gates to begin this season’s race training. We are very proud to have both the Santa Fe and the University of New Mexico ski teams training at Sipapu this year!

As always, stay up-to-date with our resort conditions and updates by watching our live mountain cam and checking our website daily. Follow Sipapu on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and of course, make sure to follow our snowmaking progress via this blog!

Happy trails!

Working by the Light of the Supermoon

As you all know, last night’s supermoon was the closest the moon has appeared to Earth since 1948, and our snowmaking team got a front row view! The moon’s reflection off the snow made the phenomenon even more spectacular. By the light of the moon, we fired up all of the snow guns last night, beginning at 9:30pm and working through the wee hours of the morning. The team finished making snow around 8am, focusing their efforts on Thumper.

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Last night’s supermoon, as seen from Taos. Photo Cred: Geraint Smith.

Our mountain ops team is still going full-force as opening day (Saturday!) approaches. After a very successful night, we plan to fire up the guns by midnight tonight and blow snow until late-morning. Then we will begin pushing and spreading all of those huge snow piles, adding to our growing base layer. With the forecasted cold front rolling in on Thursday and Friday, we will take full advantage of those freezing temperatures, to make a final snowmaking push for Saturday.   

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Snowmaking views

This morning I spoke with Brian Martinez, Sipapu’s Retail Manager, about the progress on the Day Room renovation and the new addition to the Lodge’s west side. Following the resort’s 2014 fire, we have been undergoing an extensive renovation on the entire Day Room. We are putting the finishing touches on the project now, with two major inspections (fire alarms and electrical) scheduled for next week. Brian said after we pass those inspections, the Day Room can get its official Certificate of Occupancy and will once again be open for guests. Don’t worry—we will continue to keep you posted on our progress as we finish up—we can’t wait to warm up next to the big fireplace again, either!

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Putting the finishing touches on the Day Room renovation. Photo Cred: Albert Graves.

Brian also informed me that the new addition we are building on the lodge’s west side will add 2,200 square feet of retail space, including new restrooms, a new ticket/rental office, and part of the new rental shop (the other part is in the Day Room). We began pouring concrete this morning and plan to begin framing the building early next week. On Saturday (and until the new addition is finished) we will sell tickets out of the ski school building. Food will continue to be served upstairs in the lodge, and Happy Hour will run as usual from 4pm-6pm in the upstairs bar.

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Pouring concrete for the new addition this morning. Photo Cred: Albert Graves.

Can’t wait to see everyone on Saturday!

Snowmaking Continues as Temperatures Expected to Drop

Sipapu is still on schedule to open this Saturday, making us not only the first resort to open in the state, but one of the first in the Southwest! We have continued to ramp up our snowmaking efforts, creating a solid base for our newest (and first-ever!) quad lift (Lift 5) and its route to Thumper. We are also increasing our snowmaking on the practice slope. This Saturday we will have both Lift 5 and the practice slope open. Ski school will also be open. There is limited terrain and instructors will be in high demand, so be sure to arrive early!

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Top of Lift 5 (Jackalope) on Sunday. Photo Cred: Albert Graves.

Overall, we now have five very successful nights of snowmaking under our belts. We have commissioned enough snowmaking machinery to blow larger snowpiles than last season, and we are now pushing these piles out earlier than ever before. Our upgraded infrastructure has made it possible for us to blow the equivalent of five days worth of snow in just four days! We have been running three snow guns on the higher areas of the mountain and will add more as needed. Last week we commissioned an additional snow gun on the middle of Thumper. We are keeping a close eye on thinner snow areas and will allocate snowmaking infrastructure as needed. You can stay up-to-date on the progress of both the practice slope and the base area via our live mountain cam.

This week’s forecast means more good news for snowmaking: temperatures are expected to drop below freezing Thursday night, with lows in the upper 20s. Throughout the weekend, lows are projected to hit all the way down in the teens. We intend to take full advantage of the winter weather by blowing snow for 24 straight hours beginning Thursday morning, and hopefully continuing into Friday. I am predicting that we will have up to a foot and a half of snow by Saturday.

I know everyone wants to ski this weekend as badly as I do, and in order to make this happen, Sipapu will still have a few snow guns in place on the beginner and intermediate runs on Saturday. We ask that guests ski at a safe distance from the snowmaking machinery as we take full advantage of snowmaking with the colder temperatures.

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Please excuse our mess! Construction is still underway in our Base Area. Photo Cred: Albert Graves.

Our 2016-2017 season pass deals are still available until Nov. 18, so make sure to get yours today! Payment plans are available. Passes can be purchased on our website and will be issued daily Nov. 18th from 9am to 3pm. From Nov. 19th on we will issue passes from 8am to 4pm daily.

As always, check our snow report, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram regularly for the latest information on opening day and current conditions. If you have additional questions, please feel free to call 800-587-2240.

See you on the slopes!

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!