It has been a busy December with more than 9 feet of snow in the first two weeks and 21 chairlift openings in 21 days. This total includes the first opening of the Base to Base Gondola, which took place on Saturday, December 17th at both mountains, complete with a ribbon cutting, free mountain tours, and a free concert from Dillon Francis. Then, on Sunday, December 18th, we closed the Gondola down once again. This is not how we wanted our Gondola opening weekend to go, but these are complicated major construction projects and sometimes things do not go according to plan. Here are some updates on both the Base to Base Gondola project and the Red Dog chairlift construction:
The Base to Base Gondola
The Base to Base Gondola is a unique chairlift that can operate as two separate lifts or as one continuous lift. On Saturday, December 17th, we ran it as two separate lifts. This means that guests had to get off at the top of KT-22 and re-load into another cabin at that mid-station. We did not anticipate having to operate the Gondola this way, but we also were not in a position to cancel our Grand Opening Celebration that had been in the works for so long. We had music booked months in advance.
Throughout this week, crews have been working around the clock to finalize the interconnect software, allowing the Gondola to run as one continuous lift. If everything goes according to plan, then the Gondola will re-open and will be able to operate as one complete loop by early next week.
When the Gondola re-opens, it will operate from 9am-4pm daily. If you need to get back to the other mountain or a different parking lot after 4pm, you can use the free Mountaineer shuttle service, which runs between our two mountains from 5pm-10:30pm daily.
Red Dog Chairlift
It probably comes as no surprise that the significant snowfall we received in the first part of this month impacted our construction schedule. While this has resulted in delays, we have continued our work whenever possible. This past Tuesday, we completed the haul rope splice and we now are turning our attention to tower alignment, followed by the comm line installation. As of yesterday, one comm line was installed. Chairs and grips are being assembled, and their installation on the haul rope will follow.
Tentatively, we are planning for this lift to open in early January. As always, operations are subject to change due to weather or other circumstances so please stay tuned for updates. We post weekly updates to our construction blog, and we will share updates in this operations blog series as well.
Currently, a large portion of the Red Dog terrain is open, but anything directly under the chair line is closed. This includes Poulsen’s Gully, the Red Dog Glades, and the Paris Glades. The comm line installation is the main barrier to opening these areas or opening the Far East chairlift. Far East cannot open until we get the comm line installed and are further along in finalizing the Red Dog chair.
Accessing Resort Chair
Given that Red Dog is not going to open before the new year, there is no ability to get to the top of Resort Chair from The Village at Palisades Tahoe right now. You can ski back to The Village at Palisades Tahoe, but to get to the bottom terminal of Resort Chair, we have free shuttles running throughout the day. Free shuttles leave from both The Village at Palisades Tahoe and the Alpine Lodge stopping at the Resort at Squaw Creek. At Palisades, the pick-up/drop-off is located on the east side of The Village, directly across from Coffeebar. At Alpine, the shuttle pickup is directly in front of the Lodge’s breezeway. We are running shuttles as often as we can throughout the day between 8:30am and 5pm. The free Mountaineer Shuttle Service is also available between the hours of 7am-10:30pm.
The Resort at Squaw Creek will also be providing an alternate transportation option for its hotel guests starting next week: From 3-5pm, hotel guests can take a complimentary sleigh ride between the First Ventures area back to the Resort at Squaw Creek.
Other Lift + Terrain Updates
- We do not have enough snow to open Silverado. We do not even have enough snow to get a grooming machine all the way down there.
- Alpine Bowl Chair is on indefinite mechanical hold. We are waiting for a very specific part to arrive — It is not a part that can be made in-house and it has been a process to track it down. While this lift won’t be added to the schedule quite yet, we do have 100% of the terrain open at Alpine.
- Belmont Terrain Park and Tiegel Terrain Park are both open!
We know that some of these updates are not what you may have expected or wanted for the holiday season. Please know that we are eager to get both Red Dog and the Base to Base Gondola open as soon as possible, and the delays we are experiencing are not by choice. We want to have as many lifts running as possible.
This weekend is going to be sunny and beautiful, and the skiing and snowboarding will be fun as ever. Soak it up! We expect wintery weather to return next week, and we’ll post Operations Blogs throughout that storm cycle. P.S. — If you’re visiting us over the next few days, you may want to check out the new Alpine Kitchen at The Chalet and the new food truck/snow beach by the Alpine deck!
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