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It’s going to be a summer to remember: We will be skiing and snowboarding at Alpine on the 4th of July. Yes, you read that correctly. We’re keeping Alpine open through the 4th of July this year!
This is different than the recent years when we’ve been open on the 4th. Typically, we run the Funitel at Palisades up to the upper mountain throughout the warmer months, but this year, we have a large project to complete on the Funitel that will prevent us from operating it past May 29th.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 15th, we plan to reopen both Alpine and Palisades. We appreciate your patience with us being closed today: Our teams NEEDED this day to try to get ahead a bit, and snow conditions are not conducive to a good day of skiing — It rained as far up as 9,000 feet at times. We spent the day continuing to dig out, performing snow safety, addressing flood zones, and preparing for the few days ahead that have a break in the weather. Tomorrow, we still expect that some of our lifts will be delayed. We will start with a lower mountain offering and expand throughout the day as we can.
Tonight, another wet storm moves into the Tahoe area. Winds are projected to be over 100 miles per hour on our ridgelines. Normally, this would …
Following a very wet 36 hours, we achieved the opening goals we set yesterday and got every lift that we expected today, thanks to the hard work of our ops teams. Seriously, it is hard work out there: So many people are out there digging chairlifts out by hand after spending the early morning hours digging their vehicles and homes out first. Our snowpack is very saturated with water and heavy, which can also make things difficult for our grooming machines. We truly have no clear days in the forecast to recover from this wet weather event, so we appreciate your patience.
This morning before 6 o’clock, we made the decision to close lift operations and base lodges for the day. This decision was made due to extremely high avalanche danger at both mountains and the flooding that was taking place on Olympic Valley Rd and Alpine Meadows Rd. Snow levels were higher than we were hoping for: rain fell up to 8,500 feet (above the Gold Coast area) throughout the night. Where we did get snow, it was about 7 inches, before the rain began. Tomorrow, we are going to attempt to open several lifts at both mountains. You should expect that ALL lifts will be delayed, maybe even significantly delayed, depending on how much snow we get overnight.
Tahoe is buried, and there are no signs of the snow slowing down. Today, (Thursday, March 9th) the first band of a two-part atmospheric river weather event moves into the Sierra region. This first Thursday-through-Saturday storm will bring more snow, but it also is expected to deliver rainfall that could lead to flooding. The powdery snow that fell recently (more than 100 inches in the first 9 days of March) is very light in density, which means it can be more difficult for our Ski Patrol teams to trigger planned avalanches, as they do across both mountains each time we have significant snowfall. With rain or heavy and wet snow falling on top of this lightweight snowpack, we expect that avalanche danger will increase significantly.
Silverado may be the most coveted terrain at Palisades Tahoe. Spanning a square mile and lined with iconic shoots and steeps that only the most advanced skiers and snowboarders can hit, it’s no secret that prepping this area for opening is a huge task. After a big snowfall, you might assume that Ski Patrol is the first to head back into this area, but in fact, it is a snowcat that plows through first — literally.
It feels surreal to even write this out: We have received more than 140 inches of snow on our upper mountains in the past 8 days. We are BURIED in every sense of the word. A lot of our seasoned team members have been saying that this is one of the most intense storm cycles in recent memory — and more snow is on the way. As you can imagine, there are significant challenges that come with digging out from a storm like this, not just on our mountains but also on our roadways and in our local towns. We are so appreciative of everyone’s patience, and we thank you for understanding that safety always has to come first.
Today (Tuesday, February 28th), both Palisades and Alpine were closed. Over the past 24 hours, we have received up to 3.5 feet of snow on our mountains. The snow continues to fall today, with several more feet of snow expected by Wednesday morning. Out on the hill, we have had very limited access due to low visibility and avalanche conditions. For these reasons, we chose to prioritize the safety of our employees and our guests today. Throughout the day, teams continued to work on snow safety and maintaining access to key areas, and that work will continue tonight.
With more than 20 inches of snow falling in the past 24 hours, we are in the full swing of a storm cycle that will continue through Saturday morning. The Stifel Palisades Tahoe cup and surrounding events are still happening! There will be a few schedule changes, and some chairlifts and terrain will be affected by both the event and the weather.