If you visited the Alpine Lodge or The Village at Palisades Tahoe at all this summer, you saw how totally under construction this place is. In fact, this is the most construction we’ve ever had in the base areas at one time — even more than when we built The Village! From new chairlifts to upgraded snowmaking systems, we have a LOT to update you on to get you prepped for your Winter 2022-23 ski season.
Summer Projects & Enhancements
Since April, our base areas have been undergoing some significant enhancements. You may have followed along on our construction blog or checked out our construction timeline a few times throughout the summer, but here’s a quick list of ALL the projects our team has worked on over the summer:
The Base to Base Gondola
This Gondola will connect The Village at Palisades Tahoe with the Alpine Lodge base area via a 16-minute ride over the mountains, complete with lake views on the way. While a 3rd party contractor did the physical building of the brand-new Gondola, this was an all-hands-on-deck type project. Whether it was managing parking areas, moving shipping containers, creating signage, sharing updates, or photographing project milestones, there truly was not a single team member who wasn’t involved in this project in some way.
By The Numbers:
- Cabin Capacity: 8
- # of Cabins: 96
- Uphill Capacity: 1,400 people per hour
- Length of Ride: 16 minutes
- Entry Points: The Village at Palisades Tahoe or the Alpine Lodge base area
- Exit Points: The Village at Palisades Tahoe, KT-22 Mid-Station, or the Alpine Lodge base area
The Red Dog Chairlift Replacement:
Red Dog is being replaced with a high-speed, 6-seater chairlift. This means the chair will have double the number of seats it used to have! Plus, the old Red Dog lift took almost 13 minutes to get to the top terminal. Your ride time will now be cut by 60%, for just a 5-minute lift to the top. Altogether, Red Dog now has an increased uphill capacity of 50%. Another benefit? The Red Dog bottom terminal has been realigned and is now closer to the parking lots.
By The Numbers:
- Chair Size: 6 persons
- # of Chairs: 48
- Uphill Capacity: 2,400 people per hour
- Length of Ride: 5 minutes
- Proximity To Parking Lot: 250 Feet
The Gondola Plaza, Funitel Entrance, & Funitel Electrical Project
This summer, a complete redesign took place for the Funitel entrance, the gondola terminal in The Village at Palisades Tahoe, and the area in front of the Member’s Locker Room. We have created a new, accessible central plaza (which will be called the Gondola Plaza), pushing back the snow beach to start on the south side of the Funitel building. This plaza will create easier access from The Village to the lifts, and address stormwater and snowmelt management.
Additionally, the Funitel underwent a major electrical maintenance upgrade this summer. This $4 million upgrade was a complete overhaul of the power, electric, and control systems. This week, our Funitel team will be finalizing load testing, and then the Funitel will be good to go for the winter season. We don’t currently plan to operate the Funitel on Opening Day (more on that below) but snow can always change our plans.
Snowmaking Upgrades at Palisades
New snowmaking systems have been installed on both Julia’s Gold and lower Red Dog Face. These will be especially helpful for when we host World Cup in this area in February. These systems can stay in place all season, so we hypothetically could even run them in March or April if temps were low and we needed snow.
Snowmaking Upgrades at Alpine
We have completed the installation of new snowmaking systems on the Weasel trails at Alpine. Weasel is one of our best intermediate terrain zones at Alpine. Given the easy access from Treeline Cirque and the wide, gentle slope, it makes for a perfect learning area. Automated fan guns were installed to replace the existing snow guns used on this trail. Having state-of-the-art, remotely-controlled snowmaking systems servicing this terrain will create a superior snow surface at a lower elevation, and ensure we can provide reliable, intermediate terrain right out of the base area for all guests.
Have you started making snow?
Cold temperatures are looking promising! At Alpine, we plan to turn on snowmaking on October 29th. We’ll be starting on Treeline Cirque, then moving to Roundhouse, then to Summit and Scott. At Palisades, we plan to start making snow on October 27th or 28th. We will focus on the Resort Chair, Far East, Snoventures, and Exhibition areas to begin. For Red Dog, we will need to wait until construction finishes at both the top and bottom of Red Dog before we make snow in those areas. The top should clear first in a few weeks, and we will likely focus on Dog Leg and Center Line of Red Dog Face. This way, even if the Red Dog chairlift is not operating on Opening Day, guests can ski back to the base area from Resort Chair.
We often experience an “inversion” at the mountain (especially at Palisades), which means the temperatures on the upper mountain are warmer than the cold air that gets caught in the lower mountain area. This usually means that lower mountain is better for snowmaking but, depending on what the weather gives us, it is possible that we will have to pivot. If inversion conditions do not persist we may turn our attention to the Gold Coast area.
What Lifts + Trails will be ready for Opening Day?
As of right now, we plan to open lower mountain areas at both Palisades and Alpine.
At Palisades, we are planning for Resort Chair, Snoventures, and Exhibition. This means that Resort Chair will be operating as an island, as we are not planning to open Red Dog until early to mid-December. At Alpine, we are planning for Treeline Cirque and Roundhouse, with Weasel all the way down and Red Trail.
Of course, all of this is subject to weather & conditions. If we find ourselves in a place where the upper mountains have received significant snowfall, we will be prepared to switch our plans as needed. In addition, though the Gondola Plaza area is still under construction, we have a plan in place to allow access to the Funitel if we end up needing to open the upper mountain.
When will the Base to Base Gondola open?
We’ve been making great progress on the Base to Base Gondola and we are now in the final phase of testing the lift to make sure everything is running smoothly. The Base to Base Gondola will open for the season on December 17th. There will be a Grand Opening Celebration that includes live music, giveaways, free swag, and fun events throughout the whole weekend.
While the Gondola is close to being ready, it takes time to test the new equipment and do incident run-throughs. This is an entirely new lift to us that comes with a learning curve, so we appreciate your patience and understanding as we get dialed in.
The Base to Base Gondola will run from 9am to 4pm daily in the winter, weather permitting. The Gondola is NOT permitted to run in summer months, and will only operate between the months of November and May.
When will the new Red Dog chair open?
The new Red Dog chair is expected to open in early-to-mid December. We are targeting December 12th as an official opening date. As of publication (October 25th), we are still waiting on a few parts for the Red Dog lift to arrive. We expect these parts to be here by mid-November. Despite rumors you may have heard, we are confident that this lift will open and be operational this winter.
Here’s a quick overview of the timeline for the rest of the Red Dog build:
- This week, the top terminal is under construction, and the lift operator booth goes in as well.
- In 2-3 weeks, all of the lift towers and assemblies will be installed, so expect helicopters to be flying.
- By the end of the month, the haul rope will be installed and the cable splice will also take place.
- In early December, chairs will be put on and we will conduct testing for up to 2 weeks prior to opening.
Do you have any new Terrain Park plans or features?
Our parks crew built over 20 features this summer, including a custom-built 4-sided wall ride from our sponsor Athletic Brewing. This will be installed in one of the Palisades parks later this winter.
In general, we will plan to operate similarly to seasons past. We will focus on Belmont in the early season, and then as the season (and hopefully snowfall!) ramp up, we will get back into both Gold Coast at Palisades and Tiegel at Alpine.
Is there a long-range weather forecast for this winter?
We hope you like superstorms! While we can’t 100% predict the weather, it does appear that this winter’s pattern may be similar to last year. This means we may see 2-3 mega-storms and otherwise, we’ll be enjoying bluebird days and spring skiing conditions. The best way to stay on top of weather updates is to bookmark and regularly check our Weather Blog. This blog is updated near-daily by Tahoe area meteorologist Bryan Allegretto of OpenSnow.
How can I stay up-to-date with Mountain 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…
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback.