Getting Ready for Winter

Sipapu plans to be the FIRST resort open in New Mexico (for the eighth consecutive year) - opening date is scheduled for November 20, 2010. Here's how we're getting ready for another fantastic winter season - check back often to learn more about our progress:

November 20, 2010
SIPAPU IS NOW OPEN! Check out the conditions - and all of the people having fun! - live on our mountain cam!

Thanks for following us on this blog... and here's to another record-breaking season!

November 19, 2010
The resort is absolutely humming with activity - it's all hands on deck as everyone prepares to open skiing and snowboarding in New Mexico starting tomorrow!!! We added more snow to our base area last night, and today we pulled the guns off the mountain... we'll be in the snow cat a lot today and tonight, getting everything ready for Opening Day.


November 18, 2010
We're two days away from Opening Day, and it is looking FANTASTIC around here. We just shut down our snow guns after *multiple* back-to-back 24 hour shifts... and we turned them off because we've got enough snow!!! We're going to re-position the guns around our base area and fire them up again this evening (watch our crew work live on our mountain cam). After that, we'll pull all of our guns off the mountain and focus on pushing snow around, getting the terrain perfect for Opening Day!

We've been getting tons of questions about what will be open... here's what it's looking like:

For Opening Day, we will likely have three *entire* runs open (all of Loose Caboose, all of Thumper, all of the Practice Slope). We'll also have portions of Upper Gamble and Sassafrass open, too. We've got enough terrain open that beginners will have the entire Practice Slope to themselves (everyone else will be rerouted around our beginner hill)...

We'll also have a "warm-up" terrain park open beginning Saturday - it will be located in Pedro's Park, which is at the top of Thumper. We'll have at least one box, rail and several organic features... it won't be a full-blown park, but it'll be a perfect way to get your jib on...

For the latest conditions, check out our Snow Report (we'll update it again tonight) - and don't forget: all lift tickets are $20 or less!!!

Also, if you are here Friday night, be sure to check out our "Sneak Peak," happening in the Riverside Cafe.

In the meantime, pull out your gear and get ready: SIPAPU OPENS ON SATURDAY!

November 16, 2010
Mother Nature gave us a bit of help yesterday afternoon with a bit of snow... we got about three inches at the base, and even more than that up top! Check out the picture of how things look this morning (as you can see, the snow guns are still going!!!)


November 15, 2010
Our snow guns have been going non-stop since last week... and they are still going today. We continue to tackle around-the-clock snow making, which means we're making lots and lots of snow. As a matter of fact, we're nearly complete with our top-to-bottom snow making, so we're now going to bump out to other runs so we can open even MORE terrain on opening day (we've now got our sights set on Thumper). Every hour, we see more and more ground covered in white. It's exciting!

Major work was done under Lift #2 and around the beginner slope. Check out all of the snow live on our mountain cam! We're also starting to look at the terrain park...

November 13, 2010
We made tons of snow last night - this morning, it looked like we had mountain-sized moguls throughout the mountain. To give you an idea of how big these piles of snow are, take a look at the below picture - this pile is about 18 feet tall (our 6-foot-tall GM is standing next to it):


To see more photos or to hear what our General Manager, John Paul Bradley, said this morning about the status of our mountain, check out this video! Our snow guns are still operating 24 hours a day - temperatures have been tremendous, and we expect to open top to bottom! WE OPEN ONE WEEK FROM TODAY!!!

November 12, 2010
We logged another 24 hours of snow making last night and today - and we plan to do back-to-back shifts all weekend, too. The weather has been cold - and even more arid than usual. The cold temperatures combined with the New Mexico dry air create a near-perfect environment for making snow. We're cranking out as much as we can... and we're making a lot. As a matter of fact, we're making more snow tonight than any other night this year. Not only that, but we're making more snow than we ever have before... which means we're cautiously optimistic that we'll open even more terrain than we did last year for opening weekend (and last year we broke resort records for the amount of terrain we had open for New Mexico's first ski weekend).

We'll get up early tomorrow (Saturday) morning to take a few pics and show you what the biggest snow making night of the year looks like. We'll keep you posted!

November 11, 2010
Snow making went all night long and well into the early hours this morning - as of today, we started making snow at the base (watch their progress on our mountain cam). A little while ago, we shut down most of our guns to move them to different parts of the mountain - the piles of snow were getting too big! We'll fire them up again later today. We'll position some of the guns on top of Loose Caboose and point them toward the top of Lift #1, and we'll move others to the top of Lift #1 point the snow downhill... we'll work this way until the piles start connecting. Our plan right now is to be open top to bottom - stay tuned to learn how many runs will be open starting November 20!

Later: November 10, 2010
It's now 9:30 p.m., and we're pushing the 24 hour mark for snow making today. It looks like we'll do another 24 hours again tomorrow, too. On the mountain, there are huge mounds of snow - this weekend, we'll start moving the snow around and spreading it across our mountain using snowcats. We hope to start making snow around the base area sometime this weekend, so keep an eye on our mountain cam and watch how our base area transforms!

Our GM, John Paul, took a very brief break to tell us how it's looking up on the mountain - check out his interview below. All photos and videos were taken today:

November 10, 2010

Snow making resumed last night - and it continues today! If we can keep the guns going until at least 3:00 this afternoon, we'll keep them going all night long. It was a cold night - it dipped down to a low of 12 degrees. We're really piling up the snow now - pics to be posted soon!

November 9, 2010
It's snowing at Sipapu! Here's a picture taken across the street from the resort - it was snapped at 9 a.m. this morning. As of 1 p.m., the snow had let up a bit, but it looks like more could come our way. The snow is pretty wet - which is unusual for this time of year, but ideal when you're getting ready to open a ski resort! Wet snow makes the ground colder, so the snow sticks around. For more pictures, visit our Facebook page - or check out the conditions live by looking at our mountain cam!


November 8, 2010

Tonight's temperatures are still looking a little warm for snow making - but starting tomorrow, we've got a solid 10 days of cold, cold weather. As a matter of fact, the forecast for the next week or so is pretty close to ideal for this time of year. That means we'll really start cranking out the snow beginning tomorrow! In the meantime, we're staying busy with lift maintenance, lodging renovations and more. Our ski instructors were on site last week, getting trained for the winter season, too. We just pulled the baskets on our world-class disc golf course... disc golf tournaments will continue at Two Gray Hares next week and again at Sipapu this winter!

Our mountain cam is now up and running! Click here to see us working on the mountain... LIVE!

November 5, 2010
The temperatures have been perfect for fall this week... but not so perfect for snow making. We did not make snow last night, and we're looking to resume it on Monday.

While our snow makers get a little more sleep, the rest of the staff is crazy-busy, getting the mountain and the base area ready for ski season. We're remodeling our suites (new pics to be posted soon!), and the new cabinets and appliances look fantastic! Be sure to check those out this winter. We also put the finishing touches yesterday on our new ski patrol station - we're now calling it our ski patrol palace. You'll see it on top of lift #1: it will hold our patrollers' supplies, and we think they'll enjoy a few sack lunches on that deck! Kudos to Gilbert and the rest of his crew for their work on this project. Here's a picture of it:


November 3, 2010

Snow making crews were back at it late Monday night and early Tuesday morning - it was a good night of snowmaking, and we were able to run all of our guns, top to bottom of the mountain.

Last night, the weather was a little too warm for making snow. Base area temperatures were pretty solid, but the temperatures were warmer on the mountain (this was due to what's called an inversion, where cold air settles and warm air rises). Looking at the forecast for the next few days, it looks like we will continue to see inversions... to make snow in these conditions, we will work on moving some of our guns lower down on the mountain starting tonight, so we will capture that cold air and continue making snow. We will also leave a few guns up top so that if it does get cold enough, we'll be ready.

Check out one of the photos we captured Monday night - we've featured this on our home page... Pretty awesome:


In other news, lift maintenance is going strong and we are preparing for our annual lift inspection on this Friday. Once this is completed, we will receive the green light to open our lifts to the public... all we'll need is enough snow! We're still planning for November 20 (two weeks from Saturday).

October 31, 2010
Warmer temperatures have sidelined our snow making crew since Friday... although those guys are grateful for the extra sleep, we're all anxious to resume our snow production. Nevertheless, our progress to date is excellent: we've got huge mounds of snow, protected by the shade of the trees. The warmer temperatures have formed a layer of ice around these snow mounds, which preserves the snow and keeps it cold.

The warmer temperatures gave our GM, John Paul, the opportunity to race down to Albuquerque and pick up the prestigious Ski New Mexico's Best of the Best Award. Click here to read the article about this award - and the other honors Sipapu took home! Yeah, Sipapu!

Snow making resumes tomorrow night! Happy Halloween!

October 29, 2010

We managed to scramble up the mountain yesterday to take a few pictures of our snowmaking progress... and it is looking brilliant. To see all of the photos, visit our Facebook page. Snow making continued again last night!


October 28, 2010

We started making snow much earlier last night - we started at 6 p.m., so it was a fantastic night for snow production. We originally weren't expecting to make snow this evening, but temperatures have been looking good.... we'll keep you posted!

October 27, 2010
Snow making continued last night and well into the wee hours of the morning. The temperatures were a little warmer than forecasted, and there was cloud cover, which meant it stayed warm. However, there was no wind - this is great for snow making purposes because the snow stays in the air longer. We made the most out of these conditions to crank out as much snow as possible. Hopefully we'll resume snow making again tonight - we expect another night of well-below freezing temperatures, so we'll be out there. Wish us luck!!!

October 26, 2010
Snow making began last night!!! At 10 p.m., we gave our mountain crew the go-ahead to start making snow - this marked the earliest start in Sipapu history. Crews took advantage of the cold weather (it reached a low of 16 degrees); they worked all night and much of the morning. We've got an awesome team of hard-working snow makers. As you can see by the pics, they were ready for the cold weather. Next time you see one of these guys, give them a high five. They deserve it. For more pics, check out our Facebook page.





October 25, 2010
This weekend, we completed the siding on the magic carpet - this lift is now completely framed in, and it looks AWESOME. Speaking of awesome, this weekend our amazing ski patrollers went to their refresher course. They're ready for winter - like us!

This weekend, we also pressurized and flushed the lines for our snow guns - the guns are in position and ready for action!

Speaking of, our snow making crew is on standby this evening, waiting for the word to start making snow. We'll let you know tomorrow if we were able to begin it!!!!!

October 23, 2010
Yesterday, we completed a critical part of our snow making process: we began collecting water for our snow guns. To do this, we essentially create a dam or pond on the Rio Pueblo, which flows right through the middle of our resort. It's a surprisingly quick process: we pile rocks on one end of the dam, and then we pull a heavy-duty plastic on the rock wall's edge and extend it into the water. We then put rocks and gravel on the plastic to push it to the bottom of the river. The plastic then acts as a seal of sorts, keeping the water in a pool, ready for us to pump it to our guns. Water continues to flow even when it's feeding our snow guns - right now, the water is spilling over our rock wall.

We watch the weather constantly - really, if we weren't in this industry, we could be meteorologists. Snow making will begin very, very soon - stay tuned!

Here's a quick clip on how we captured the water yesterday:


Also, the Magic Carpet now runs! Several of us got to ride it from bottom to top, and it works BEAUTIFULLY. It'll take less than 90 seconds to travel the 90 feet from the base to the top of our lessons area... this will be awesome for those learning to ski - and for those who would have to help those beginners up the hill. We're pretty excited about this new lift, and we can't wait for our guests to try it this winter.

October 18, 2010
The magic carpet is installed! We're still waiting to do the final load test, which we plan to knock out this week. This weekend, we tested our fleet of snow guns and moved nearly every gun on the mountain. Last year, we started making snow on October 26 - the earliest we've ever started cranking out snow. We continue to keep an eye on the 10-day weather forecast for optimum snowmaking conditions. As of now, we're looking at early next week, depending on how the weather cooperates.

Here is what the magic carpet looks like now! For more pictures of the new lift or our snow gun testing, check out our Facebook page.

October 15, 2010
The magic carpet installation is going great! We've put on the side rails and the belt - tomorrow we'll splice and tension the belt before installing the electrical cabinet. We'll get the new lift running on Monday, when we'll do a load test. To do this, we'll load trash cans filled with water on to the lift. While the lucky trash cans get the very first ride on our magic carpet, we'll start and stop the lift to make sure everything goes smoothly. This lift is capable of carrying 24,000 pounds of happy skiers and snowboarders, so we'll use approximately 24,000 pounds of water for our test! We expect the installation to be complete by next week.

Even more exciting news: we just got our new snow gun, and we'll be testing it - along with our entire fleet of snow guns - this weekend, and moving all of them on the mountain as we prepare for our snowmaking season. We're carefully monitoring the weather forcast, and we hope to start making snow as early as the end of next week!!!

October 14, 2010

The Magic Carpet arrived yesterday! This season, Sipapu will add a 90-foot magic carpet in our ski school area. The new lift, which will handle up to 1,000 guests per hour, glides along flush with the surface of the snow and offers beginner skiers and snowboarders an easier way to practice their skills before they ride a chairlift. Crews are now working hard to get Sipapu's 5th lift installed and ready to go by opening date (November 20th!)

Here's what the carpet looks like when it's being installed - for more pictures, check out our Facebook page:

magic carpet 006magic carpet 044