The first winter storm moves in this evening, and numbers have been slightly downgraded since we posted yesterday. We’re now expecting closer to 8 inches at upper elevations tonight rather than the initial 14 inches that were predicted. This first band of snow is the weakest though, and the snowfall on Saturday and Sunday is still expected to be very significant. Saturday will be our biggest storm day, with a now predicted snow total of 26 inches during the day and 21 inches at night above 8,000 feet. Tonight’s storm is a bit warmer, so we could see rime ice impacts in the morning. The rest of the storm seems to be a nice, cold cycle. Keep up with the forecast on our Weather Blog.
The image above was taken by groomer and photographer Nick McMahon.
Road conditions are going to be dangerous during key travel times throughout the weekend and it is likely that Interstate 80 will close for extended periods of time throughout this storm. Snow showers could be scattered on Friday, with snow moving into the Sierra by 6pm. Saturday could be a difficult day for travel. Plan accordingly, stocking your car with water, food, and blankets, and use the road conditions resources listed below. On Sunday, we could see 12-18 inches of snow, which will certainly impact travel. It may be a *bit* clearer at night, but we’ll have to wait until closer to the date to really know for sure.
Road Conditions Resources
Visibility was low throughout last weekend’s storm. Expect the same this weekend. Photos taken by Blake Kessler.
Lift + Terrain Updates
We don’t have much that has changed from yesterday’s blog, but we want to repeat that this weekend will be impacted by weather. Friday should be fairly clear with some delays possible for avalanche control. For Saturday and Sunday, we expect lower mountain lifts only at both Palisades and Alpine. We do not expect to expand terrain further until next week.
- The Mothership, KT-22, will open tomorrow! There is a chance that it could be delayed, but we are going to do everything we can to open it at 9am.
- The upper mountain will likely be delayed tomorrow while we perform avalanche control.
- On Sunday, expect delays everywhere for Palisades. We cannot even open First Ventures if we cannot perform avalanche control in the Resort Chair/Red Dog areas. There is a chance that the resort could close fully on Sunday given Saturday’s snow totals, but that will be a day-of call.
- We were able to take a look at Granite Chief and determine that we still need more snow back here. This storm should certainly help! Headwall also needs a little bit more snow to be ready to go.
- Grooming has been working to move snow to Big Blue in order to prepare for opening next week.
- We predict we’ll be expanding terrain midweek next week with Headwall, Granite Chief, and Emigrant next on the agenda, pending conditions.
- Now that we’ve announced KT-22’s opening, we know you’re going to start asking about Silverado. It does not have enough snow yet. It has no estimated opening date.
- The Terrain Parks crew is track packing Belmont and building the grade and jump piles through the weekend. A full build will start on Tuesday.
One big note for Alpine: The Liberty Energy power line to the top of Summit is having issues, which is impacting the cell towers on Ward Peak. Some cell providers are not working at Alpine. You may have bad service on the mountain. Our lodge is equipped with Wi-Fi if you need to connect, but please do not rely on cell service to keep track of your friends and family throughout the weekend.
- Avalanche danger will be high starting Saturday morning. We have some new control routes due to the Base to Base Gondola, so this could possibly cause some delays or parking lot closures.
- We’re going to aim to have Scott open on Monday, though there will very likely be delays for avalanche control.
- Sherwood will be next on the agenda, ideally for Wednesday if the snowpack cooperates. It is bony at the bottom, but our groomers track packed around the bottom terminal to hopefully help us capture more snow.
- We are pulling features from Tiegel Terrain Park for this storm.
- The newly-renovated Chalet will open this weekend!
Base to Base Gondola and Red Dog Construction Updates
- The Base to Base Gondola is opening on December 17th! If you’re in The Village or at the Alpine Lodge, you may see it running. We are finishing up tests on the computer system, but otherwise this long-awaited connection is good to go.
- Red Dog is still under construction, with predicted opening in mid-to-late December. All of this snowfall is AMAZING, but it has impacted our building efforts. We are currently installing lines on Red Dog, which requires climbing every single lift tower and being above the Far East chairlift. This means we cannot open Far East until this work is done. The new snowmaking systems on Red Dog and Exhibition, however, are up and running and they are fantastic.
Mountaineer Starts This Weekend!
Mountaineer, the free app-based shuttle service, returns this weekend with some majorly exciting updates to the service schedule. It will now go between the two valleys, instead of servicing one or the other, and every single day it will run between the two mountains from 5pm to 10:30pm as well. You learn more about how it works and download the app here.
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