This morning before 6 o’clock, we made the decision to close lift operations and base lodges for the day. This decision was made due to extremely high avalanche danger at both mountains and the flooding that was taking place on Olympic Valley Rd and Alpine Meadows Rd. Snow levels were higher than we were hoping for: rain fell up to 8,500 feet (above the Gold Coast area) throughout the night. Where we did get snow, it was about 7 inches, before the rain began.
Photo above: Craig Patterson
As we discussed in yesterday’s Operations Blog, when rain or heavy/wet snow falls on the light-density, powdery snow we’ve been receiving over the past few weeks, it creates dangerous avalanche conditions. We had restrictions on employee movements in the Alpine base area this morning, Palisades Ski Patrol did not go up the hill, and we pulled our grooming team off the mountain early. Winds were also a factor in our decision to close, peaking at 177mph around 5am.
Video: Pat Fraser at Alpine this morning. The snow is extremely saturated and heavy.
Weather Outlook: Day 2 of Atmospheric River
Our snowfall total predictions have dropped a bit since yesterday. Throughout the day today and overnight tonight we are expecting:
- 4-8 inches at the base.
- 8-15 inches at mid-mountain elevations.
- 14-19 inches on the upper mountain above 8,000 feet.
By tomorrow (Saturday), the snow showers will be a bit steadier, but winds should drop off a bit to 50-60mph. We expect snow levels to fluctuate throughout both Saturday and Sunday. By Sunday night, we could see additional snow totals of:
- 13-19 inches at the base.
- 18-24 inches at mid-mountain elevations.
- 20-28 inches on the upper mountain above 8,000 feet.
Please visit our Weather Blog, powered by OpenSnow, for more.
Saturday: What To Expect
Tomorrow, we are going to attempt to open several lifts at both mountains. You should expect that ALL lifts will be delayed, maybe even significantly delayed, depending on how much snow we get overnight. Several inches of water fell today. This means many of our chairlifts may be iced over and we will have to break the ice off by hand before opening in the morning.
- At Alpine, we are hoping for Roundhouse, Treeline Cirque, Sherwood, Subway, and Meadow.
- At Palisades, we are hoping for Resort Chair, Far East, First Ventures, Red Dog, and KT-22. KT-22 is likely to be more delayed than other chairlifts as we have not done control work or put the Saddle road in yet.
- Upper mountain or ridgeline chairlifts may be closed for several days. Almost no one has been up top during this storm cycle and we will have a significant amount of digging out to do. Once we see what these chairlifts look like, we will keep you updated on our progress.
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