Ski With a Forest Ranger Every Friday!

This season, experience Sipapu like never before! If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to manage recreation and wilderness areas, come ski with a Carson National Forest Ranger every Friday through March 10! This informative event is FREE when you purchase a lift ticket! We had the pleasure of asking Paul Schilke, a Recreation and Lands Staff Officer who will be leading the trips, a few questions about the event. This is part one of our interview:

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Our latest storm brought us 14 inches of fresh powder!

Q: What are some of your duties at Sipapu as a Carson National Forest Ranger?

A: I’m the Recreation and Lands Staff Officer, which means that I and the rest of the Recreation Team are responsible for managing recreation, campgrounds, motorized and non-motorized trails, wilderness areas, special use permits and ski areas. We are also in charge of cleaning and maintaining recreation sites, interacting with the public to educate them on campfire safety and etiquette, managing timber and the provision of fuel wood and forest products to the public. Although I’m in the office a lot, I also spend time in the field interacting with the public and encouraging people to visit and use their National Forests responsibly.

Q: How many years have you been a Ranger? How long have you worked for the Forest Service?

A: I’ve worked for the Forest Service since 2005 in the field of Recreation Management.  Before I began my current position at Carson National Forest, I supported the Williams Valley Snow Play and Cross Country Ski Area with the rest of the Recreation team in the Alpine Ranger District of the Apache National Forest. I can only use one arm, so I’m not able to shoulder the difficult task of running the trail grooming equipment. When the primary wilderness and snow ranger was on leave, I encouraged co-workers and volunteers to help groom the ski trails. It’s nice working with the crew at Sipapu. They already have the grooming and snow management well planned. They also have an excellent ski patrol team that provides deep knowledge of downhill skiing and first aid services beyond my own.  Sipapu receives high grades for being family and safety oriented.

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Me and the rest of the Forest Service team doing some Fall maintenance! I’m on the far left.

Q: What runs will you take participants down? 

A: My partner and I are open to trail requests! During the regular season we usually ski or ride down Sassafras to Howdy to either Bambi or the newest trail, Badger. If folks are up for a second run we take Sassafras to Oops to Salt Lick. If I have an advanced group of snowboarders, sometimes we’ll head down Rufous.


I like to start out on Sassafras and progress from there.


Q: What is your favorite trail at Sipapu?

A: I like Gamble Glades, Brandy, Paul’s Folly and Pinball. Gamble Glades is one of my favorite trails to take participants down for the Ski With a Ranger event. I also enjoy Pinball because it reminds me of cross country skiing, which I love, although the turns can be pretty tricky.

Thanks for reading and see you on Friday for Ski With a Ranger! Check back later for the second part of my interview with Officer Paul!

24" and Counting!

We woke up this morning to 10" of beautiful powder! Our four day storm total is 24" and the forecast is calling for an additional 3-9" over the next 24 hours. Stay tuned to our snow report and webcam for the most current conditions and mountain updates. Here's how the mountain looked when I arrived this morning:

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The mountain and base area look like they're in a snow globe! 

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Looking for ways to enjoy the powder without breaking the bank? Our Free Lodging program is our most popular offer: stay slopeside for FREE when you purchase one adult full-day, full-price lift ticket for $45. Check out our mid-week specials like 2 for 1 Tuesdays, Car Load Wednesdays and Local Appreciation Thursdays. These were designed to help you save cash and spend more days on the slopes.

I hope to see you on the mountain soon! The powder is calling...

A Guide to Doing Kids Ski Free Week the Right Way!

Kids Ski FREE Week is just around the corner (Jan. 16-20), and as a mom of two daughters, I’ve learned a lot over the last several winters. Skiing and riding together as a family is one of the greatest and most rewarding experiences a powder-loving parent can have, especially if you plan ahead. Here are some important lessons I’ve learned along the way:

Bring snacks. If your kiddo is anything like mine, they need regular calorie intakes - especially when they are active. Whether they’re shivering, sweating, cruising through the bump runs (my 7-year-old’s personal favorite) or waiting for their mom to catch up (!), they’re burning calories - and quickly. I load their jackets (and my own) with snacks packed with protein, like nuts and granola bars. The Brave Ski Mom blog has some more great snack ideas. Sipapu’s Riverside Cafe offers a great menu selection including my girls’ preferred drink of choice: hot chocolate, extra whipped cream.

Dress in layers. I always check Sipapu’s weather station before heading out, and I typically toss in an extra layer in the trunk because temperatures and conditions can - and often do - vary. Here’s a a great layering tutorial, and keep in mind that your kiddos really don’t need the most expensive gear out there. Base layers are the most important - you can find them at Target or Walmart, just avoid 100% cotton! We’ve found many of our other layers at thrift stores or others have given them to us as hand-me-downs. Dressing correctly is important, but it really doesn’t have to be expensive.

Also, quick tip: if you’re less than an hour from the ski area, I suggest putting your kids’ ski boots on BEFORE you get to the resort, if they’ll tolerate it. It’s a universal truth that kids’ ski boots that take 2 minutes to get on at your hotel or home will take 20 frustrating minutes when you’re in the ski area parking lot. Be sure to have some really comfortable shoes in the car to wear after the ski day is over, too.

You Never Stop Learning. Both of my daughters were skiing by the time they hit kindergarten, and we still have them take lessons. I want my girls to be lifelong skiers (or snowboarders!), and I trust our professional ski school instructors to teach them foundational skills that will improve their abilities and create good habits that they can use and enjoy the rest of their lives. Besides, as any loving, devoted parent can tell you, your kids often learn best when they’re receiving direction from someone other than you. :)  Check out Sipapu’s Ski School here and don’t forget: if you or anyone else in your family has never tried skiing, Sipapu offers FREE lessons for first timers (ages 7 and older). For more information on this special, click here.


Above all else, have fun. Some of my very best childhood memories are of me skiing, laughing, and having fun with my brother and dad. I love that I get to create those same memories with my daughters, and that one day, they might do the same with their kids, too. If you have a question, feel free to comment below or call one of our staff at 800-587-2240.

P.s. If you’re trying to decide when to bring your family to Sipapu, I highly suggest coming up when our snow castle is open! Sipapu always builds it for February Fun Fest
and we’ll keep it up until early March. It’s always a kid favorite - and perfect photo op (don’t forget to tag us!).

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Sipapu is a great place for family photos!

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Cruisin’ the bunny slope!

See you on the mountain for Kids Ski FREE Week!

34 Trails Open and Counting!

Terrain update: Sipapu now has 34 trails open! Today our mountain crew finished up work on Gamble Glades. We’re track packing the mountain in preparation for the 13 inches of snow Sipapu is forecasted to receive by Friday, that way we can open new terrain when the conditions are right!

As a reminder, the lift operating schedule is as follows for the remainder of the season (minus holidays):

- Thursday
Lift 4 is open from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Lift 3 is open from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

- Friday through Sunday Lift 4 will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Lift 3 will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and all other lifts will run from 9 a.m. to 4 pm.

We have a ton of upcoming events that we’re excited to share with you, including:

- World Snowboard Day (January 8)

- Never Summer Demo (January 8-9)

- Telemark Festival & Skin Up, Ski Down Race (January 14)

- Santa Fe Brewing Happy Hops Hunt (January 14)

- Moonlight Hike and Campfire (January 14)

As a snowmaker I get to see some pretty awesome views of the mountain that other people aren’t able to.
Here are a few photos I snapped that really capture its beauty:

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I get to see a lot of sunsets at my job, but this one’s really something.

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Fresh groomer tracks are the best way to start a day!

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Mother Nature brought us some fresh snow for the New Year!

To check current mountain conditions and terrain openings, visit our Snow Report. Share your favorite mountain moments with us on ourFacebook, Instagram and Twitter—we love hearing from you and seeing all your photos!

See you on the  mountain!