The storm continues! Overnight, we received a foot of snow and it has kept snowing on and off throughout the day. As we described in yesterday’s operations blog, our teams are out in full force to keep lifts running, perform avalanche safety, and maintain access roads for groomers, patrollers, and lift maintenance. If you did not read that blog, it is worth checking out for some information on how large storm cycles can cause a “hard reset” at the resort.
Meanwhile, the winter storm warning is set to last through Monday, with Christmas Day possibly bringing an additional 2.5 feet to the area. The wind does not show signs of slowing down at this time, but our base area lifts have been running, and it is FUN out there! There have been free refills on and off throughout the day, and at times the sky has gone blue between snowfall.
The Storm: Day 2
Just in time for the holidays, we received an additional 12 inches of snow on the upper mountains overnight. Winds are gusting at close to 120 miles per hour on ridgelines, but our teams are still out there.
To stay up-to-date on the storm
- Check our weather blog daily. We’ll also be posting operations blogs like this as often as we can.
- Follow @palisadesops on Twitter for live updates on lift status, parking, and more.
- Use the Palisades Tahoe app for real-time information. You can check lift, trail, and grooming status, as well as see the status of our shuttle and parking lots.
Wind + The Right Amount of Snow = Avalanche Conditions
Extreme wind conditions, like what we are currently experiencing, can cause wind loading and wind slabs, both of which require our patrol teams to perform avalanche safety. Right now, visibility is also very, very low. Still, we fired the Gazex and the Howitzer this morning, and did all of our patrol routes that allow for the use of hand charges. In these whiteout conditions, it can sometimes be hard to see the results of our work. When the weather breaks, some areas will have to be re-checked by patrol.
After just 6″ of snow, avalanche conditions can be present. Both mountains had overnight avalanche restrictions, which limited what we could groom/maintain. That said, we still had a productive night. Our teams focused on the lower mountain areas, which is Roundhouse-down at Alpine and KT-22 over to Resort Chair at Palisades. In an effort to capture as much snow as possible, we are also running grooming machines without the tiller down. This is known as “track packing.”
Our Team’s Efforts
This weekend, our patrollers and lift maintenance teams will be starting their days at 4:30am. Shortly afterwards, lift operators and other operations personnel will join them on the mountain. These teams are working daily in extreme wind and whiteout conditions. We owe so much to their hard work and dedication.
In general, we will be bumping chairs overnight where possible and maintaining avalanche control routes. Avalanche safety will be performed daily when our teams are able to safely do so.
Here is a look at what our overnight efforts were, including some key lift updates.
Overnight at Alpine
- All main arteries and access roads were maintained.
- Grooming ran 15 machines over the course of 2 shifts
- Alpine has a higher base area, so it did not see as much wet snow/rain.
- Winds were gusting into the 90 mile per hour range and higher.
Overnight at Palisades
- Base area lift access was the key focus, especially the road for KT-22.
- Grooming ran 20 machines over the course of 2 shifts
- Winds were gusting into the 110 mile per hour range and higher.
Lift & Trail Updates at Alpine
- Sherwood: Our teams got the ramps, the road, and Ray’s Rut in. There is some patrol setup work that still needs to happen before we can open.
- Wolverine Saddle is stripped due to wind. We will be plowing all that back in.
- Summit: We are continuously digging out Summit during the storm. When the wind subsides, Summit will be ready to go at the first opportunity.
- Lakeview: Our groomers are working on Lakeview and we have started building mazes. We are hoping to start bumping chairs for both Lakeview and Sherwood soon.
Lift & Trail Updates at Palisades
- KT-22: We were able to maintain the access road last night. On stormy nights, we often remove all except 4 chairs to prevent icing, which is what we did last night. Starting at 6am today, we had 4 lift maintenance personnel working to clean all the wet snow off of grips and off of chairs. There were also 10 lift ops and patrollers re-loading chairs onto the line. The slight delay this morning was due to patrol finishing some routine control work.
- Emigrant: The top of Emigrant is wind loaded. There is a 12-foot wind drift that has to get plowed out.
- Far East: Far East had a mechanical issue this morning. It was not weather-related.
- Granite Chief: Our teams were able to get the road in to the top. Additionally, the bottom and top ramps are in. When the weather clears, we will need some time for patrol to do control work and set up the boundary. Please remember that Granite has a huge boundary that takes a long time to mark.
- Headwall: The ramp is is completed. We are waiting for a break in the weather to get the lift running.
- Siberia: Siberia’s top terminal has not been accessed yet. It is likely frozen solid. We cannot get to the top of Siberia until Mainline Pocket patrol work is completed and a grooming machine has put the road in. Earlier today, we tried to get patrol up there, but we pulled the plug because of wind/visibility.
- Other Upper Mountain Lifts: Things are not currently groomed on the upper mountain, and most lifts have some avalanche hazards. Gold Coast, Shirley, and all of the beginner lifts were not operational today due to wind. Tomorrow, it will likely be the same story, unless the wind dies down enough for us to run the Funitel and open Mountain Run.
Stay in Know on Lift & Trail Status
AS MENTIONED ABOVE, THE STORM CYCLE WILL LIKELY IMPACT LIFT OPERATIONS. THIS IS WHERE YOU’LL FIND THE BEST INFORMATION ON MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS.
- Download the Palisades Tahoe App for real-time info on weather, lift status and parking.
- Follow the Mountain Ops Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates.
- Check the Palisades Tahoe Snow & Weather report
- Check the Lift & Grooming Status
- Check the Palisades Tahoe Weather Blog (updated daily)
- Road conditions will be variable. We have a list of all the tools you’ll need to make educated travel decisions.
Other Resort Impacts
- Alpine Meadows Road may close intermittently for avalanche control. It closed at 3:30pm today. While we aim to reopen it within 30 minutes, closure lengths are totally dependent on conditions. Plan accordingly.
- Snowtubing and Disco Tubing are both still running! We have been keeping the lanes clear.
- Some food & beverage oulets will have altered hours, such as early closures. This is due to both the storm and the holiday tonight/tomorrow.
- Regional TART buses may be delayed or cancelled.
Should I still go skiing/snowboarding?
Just because we don’t have the upper mountains opened doesn’t mean the skiing/riding isn’t fun or challenging! It has been a sleeper pow day out there today, and we expect the same throughout the weekend. You will definitely want to get out there and make some turns. Remember to bring a buddy and do so safely, and respect all closed areas on the mountain.