This past week, snow started falling on Tuesday morning in the North Lake Tahoe region. Snowfall remained pretty steady over the next 48 hours, especially on our upper mountains. Truckee and lakeside towns, meanwhile, saw pockets of blue sky between periods of active snowfall. In total, we saw about 13 inches of snow on our upper mountains, and 8 inches in the base areas. The mountains look beautiful coated in white, making us all even more excited about our fast-approaching Opening Day.
Major Storm Alert for the Lake Tahoe Region
This week’s snowfall was just a sneak peek of what is to come. OpenSnow has forecasted up to 55 inches of snow for Sunday, November 6th through Wednesday, November 9th. That’s 2-4 feet across the mountains! The best way to stay updated on this storm and what to expect is to check our near-daily Weather Blog. This blog is written by OpenSnow meteorologist Bryan Allegretto, and the information is hyper-specific to our resort. Here’s the expected forecast so far:
- SATURDAY: Partly sunny to start with rain showers turning to snow in the evening.
- SUNDAY: Wintery mix of rain and snow throughout the day, ending with heavy snowfall.
- MONDAY: Snow, very heavy at times.
- TUESDAY: Snow, very heavy at times.
- WEDNESDAY: Snow is possible, but the storm should be winding down and the sun should reappear.
YOUR QUESTIONS, ANSWERED.
Did this storm inhibit your construction efforts?
Even if it is not ideal from a construction standpoint, winter weather is always anticipated around this time of year. Regardless of the weather, we are still doing preparation work around the mountain. Our teams are taking down fencing, moving barricades, and working on clearing out our parking lots. In addition, we demoed the old shack at the bottom of Palisades Kids this week.
If you’ve visited either mountain over the past few months, you likely saw the large amount of construction equipment and project pieces we have spread out across the main lots. There is a big clean-up and equipment removal effort here that will be ongoing over the next few weeks. Essentially, we are tying up loose ends and getting ready for the next series of storms.
How did this storm affect Red Dog? Are you going to be able to open it?
We knew this storm was coming and we planned ahead to deal with snow. After the storm subsides next week and visibility returns, we’ll be flying in the Red Dog lift towers as planned. Our crews worked on assembling the top terminal of Red Dog this week. If you saw Resort Chair spinning, our teams were using that chair to access the top of Red Dog!
Next week, the Base Terminal will arrive and be assembled. At this time, we are not focused on snowmaking in the Red Dog area as we may need to move equipment up and down the hill. More updates on snowmaking are below.
How did this storm affect the Base to Base Gondola? Is it going to open?
This storm had no major impacts on the Base to Base Gondola. Construction work has continued as planned. We are pushing ahead with a number of projects on the Base to Base over the coming week: installing more cabins on the Alpine side, pouring concrete, completing electrical work, adding insulation to the terminals, and more. All of this work is currently on schedule. We continue to feel confident that our opening day for the Base to Base Gondola will be December 17th, 2022. There will be an all-weekend Grand Opening Celebration complete with live music and activities.
What’s going on with the Funitel? Will you be able to open it soon?
As of today, the Funitel is about a week out from being “ready to go.” This week, we had crews from Austria out here giving intensive ten-hour daily training on the Funitel’s new electrical system. There is a learning curve with the new electrical system, and we need to give our teams time to get up to speed. Now, our Funitel crew will be completing a lengthy series of testing.
Are there any changes for Opening Day? Will you open early?
We are not announcing any official changes to Opening Day at this time. We are still targeting November 22nd as our Opening Day, with the same lower-mountain terrain, Resort Chair and Snoventures, as discussed in last week’s operations blog. That being said, we are aware that there is a large storm on the horizon, which can always lead to a pivot. We will release another blog mid-next week with a post-storm update on what to expect. We are still in a period of preparation and we have a fair amount of work to get done. We have a new chairlift, a new Gondola, and essentially a new Funitel going in, so we need to be able to give our teams the proper time to get acquainted with this machinery. We really appreciate your patience during this time.
Are you still making snow right now?
Give our snowmaking teams a serious shoutout. They’ve been hard at work in super-cold temperatures this week after spending so much of the summer building new snowmaking systems:
We started making snow on Weasel two nights ago using the new fan gun system. The system is operating quite well, which is exciting. In the past 48 hours, we’ve made about 25% of the snow required to open Weasel. We are also making snow in the Tiegel area, but this area does not have the new fan guns installed, instead running on an air/water system, so the output is not as efficient. In the coming week, we have to move some equipment up to The Chalet, but by the 10th or 11th, we should be able to ramp up production in this area. Any lift/trail openings at Alpine are highly dependent on what next week’s storm brings.
The past few nights of production have been good on the Palisades side. Our snowmaking team worked from the top of Resort Chair area down to the bottom of the lift, in the Snoventures area, and in the Gold Coast area. Last night had especially good production, which was supported by cold temperatures. We considered making snow on Mountain Run, but found a small leak in the system, so we opted to complete repairs before turning on those machines. Overall, we have about 10% of the coverage we’d need to open any of the above-mentioned runs on the Palisades side. We do not anticipate making snow tonight as we are entering a period of warmer temps for the next few days.
How can I stay up-to-date with Operations this season?
We’ll arm you with all the information you need to plan the perfect ski day any day this winter. Bookmark these pages:
Not wanting to check the website constantly? Try these other methods:
- Follow our Mountain Operations Twitter account
- Sign up for the Palisades Tahoe Ski & Ride Report
- Download the Palisades Tahoe App
ONE LAST THING…
We are undergoing major upgrades at the resort, including building the Base to Base Gondola, replacing the Red Dog chairlift, installing new snowmaking systems, and more. While all of these changes are super exciting, everything new at this mountain is custom-built, and this is the highest number of projects we’ve ever tackled in a single year. Managing the infrastructure properly will take patience and work. We will keep these blogs going to keep you updated as often as we can, and we welcome your curiosity and questions.
Do you have any requests for this season’s Operations Blogs? Topics you’d like to see covered or information you think is missing? Send us an email at email@example.com with your feedback.