What a turbulent but exciting month March has been so far! The snow depth on our upper mountain is upward of 18 feet, and we are at 166% of total average snowfall. We started the first day of March off with 3 feet of snow in 24 hours. Then, after a small break in the weather, we received snow (and at some elevations rain) every day between March 5th and March 15th! Our season-to-date snowfall total is now sitting at 662 inches, or just over 55 FEET of snow. 14 of those feet have fallen in March alone!
Needless to say, the effort to keep the mountain dug out and operational has been tremendous. With very few clear or calm days to take a break or get ahead, our teams have been working in extreme conditions. Let’s take a look at just how buried this mountain has been:
Photo above: Kate Abraham
This is a side-by-side comparison of the counterweight for the Broken Arrow chairlift, shown in the summertime and on March 15th, 2023. Photos: Marcus Morgan, Upper Lift Maintenance Manager.
It took 5 snowcats, including one winch cat (which is attached by a cable to a tower at the top of the run), to get this chairlift fully dug out after the most recent snowfall. Photos: Marcus Morgan, Upper Lift Maintenance Manager & Asa Moore, Palisades Grooming Assistant Manager.
This is Palisades Ski Patroller Carolyn Dunbar at the top of the Emigrant chairlift. The photo was snapped by Steve Hurt, the Assistant Director of Ski Patrol here at Palisades. In the several decades he has been working here, he has never seen the wind sock on top of the lift frozen solid like it is in this photo! This goes to show how unprecedented this storm series has been.
We have so much snow that we are having to dig out the KT-22 lift line (and the Patrol Shack!) after each significant snowfall. Our Lift Operators and Ski Patrollers have been the main teams keeping this area clear, but people from departments all across the mountain have been lending a hand to help shovel. Photos: Blake Kessler.
To put the next few photos into perspective, you first need to see what the High Camp deck looks like in the summertime:
With that image in mind… Take a look at what the deck looks like right now. The building here is around 12 feet high. There truly was a TON of snow up here, not just outside the building, but even inside! The dig-out for this area was significant to get this building operational again. Photos: Blake Kessler.
Putting in the access road for Silverado this week was sticky and slow going, due to the heavy amount of rainfall we received over the past week. Want to learn more about building the Silverado access road? Check out our bonus Operations Blog on that topic. Photos: Jimmy King, Palisades Mountain Manager.
Photo: Bandit, Palisades Grooming Supervisor
Photos from Alex Shaffrick, Terrain Park Groomer
Snowmakers are still removing snowmaking guns that are out on the hill, buried under many feet of snow. The crew can usually remove upwards of 10 in a night, but with current weather and conditions, the pace has been more like 1-2 per night. It isn’t for lack of effort. These things are deep under! Photos: Justin Hayworth, Snowmaking Assistant Manager.