Winds for today were forecast to be in the 50 mph range. Surprisingly, even just 10-20mph can make a big difference, and we started to see gusts above 70 as we opened this morning. Perhaps this is the beginning of the weather system moving in early next week, but in any case, it threw a wrench in some of our operations plans for the day. We are still looking to expand terrain over the next few days if possible as we anticipate a busy weekend ahead.
There is a possibility that these winds could continue until a storm cycle moves in on Monday. The wind direction is also not forecast to change for the next three days. We are hopeful that we could get a surprise and not be dealing with wind issues, but please be prepared for weather impacts even as the skies clear. This is not the news we want to deliver, but in our continued efforts to be transparent, it is the truth about what to expect. If you’ve been reading these blogs over the past week, you’ve seen some of the images and read about the impacts of strong winds on our mountains, and we hope you have a greater understanding of why this becomes a safety issue.
Lift & Terrain Updates: Palisades
- Today we started off with the following lifts on the schedule: The Aerial Tram, Bailey’s Beach, Mountain Meadow, Belmont, Broken Arrow, Big Blue, Gold Coast, Shirley, Solitude, Wa She Shu, KT-22, Olympic Lady, Exhibition, Red Dog, Far East, Resort Chair, and First Venture. The Aerial Tram, Bailey’s Beach, Mountain Meadow and Solitude were placed on wind hold before opening. Gold Coast, Shirley, Big Blue, and Olympic Lady were also placed on wind holds. Wa She Shu went on wind hold at noon. The Funitel held out for Moutnain Run only until close to 3pm before the wind impacted it as well.
- We removed Siberia from the schedule today. Visibility again was not good last night. In a small pocket of clear weather this morning, our Mountain Manager Jimmy King was able to get close to the top in a grooming machine while attempting to put in a road, but there is a serious wall of snow up there. Unfortunately, visibility deteriorated again this afternoon. The Patrol Shack (see yesterday’s photos) also still needs to be dug out at the top of Siberia, but avalanche control/hill safety work is largely completed in that area already. Some photos are below.
- We were able to get most of Tower 4 of the Funitel plowed overnight, but this job is not completely finished. The Funitel was still at a low capacity today (though higher than yesterday) and we are hopeful that we can finish up this work tonight and be back at a normal capacity tomorrow.
- This afternoon around 12:30, Patrol was doing avalanche control work on Granite Chief. Lift Maintenance was also working up there. Patrol will be putting hill safety markings out this afternoon, then they are doing the rope boundary. It is possible that they will finish today. If not, they will finish up in the morning.
- Grooming was able to get a lot of work done at the bottom of Headwall, but that lift is still a ways out. Reverse Traverse will be the priority before the lift. Headwall is also very icy at the top, similar to Emigrant. When Patrol is ready to put in the boundary for Headwall, that is about half a day’s work. They also need to do avalanche control on the backside, as winds right now are leading to a slab being built up.
- Emigrant is still frozen solid (see photos further below). It will be a labor-intensive process to get this lift going: It has a broken switch on tower 10 and it has not moved this whole cycle. Breaking it loose will take time.
What To Expect For Tomorrow: Palisades
- Some lifts will likely be on wind hold, mainly on the upper mountain.
- We will aim to open: The Aerial Tram, Bailey’s Beach, Mountain Meadow, Broken Arrow, Big Blue, Gold Coast, Shirley, Solitude, Wa She Shu, KT-22, Olympic Lady, Exhibition, Red Dog, Far East, Resort Chair, and First Venture.
- Belmont will not be open tomorrow while our staff work on the terrain park.
- Granite Chief and Siberia are both possibilities to open tomorrow if all goes well with our remaining tasks, and if the winds are not an issue.
- Emigrant, Headwall, & Silverado will not open tomorrow.
Lift & Terrain Updates: Alpine
- Today we ran Summit, Roundhouse, Treeline Cirque, Scott, Subway, and the Big Carpet. Subway went on an electrical hold in the afternoon and was removed from the schedule for the remainder of the day. We were able to add Meadow to the lineup around 2pm while Subway was closed. Scott and Summit were both placed on wind holds around 2pm as well.
- Similar to the upper mountain at Palisades, icing continues to be a factor we must deal with before running upper mountain lifts at Alpine. See photos below.
- We are still aiming to add Sherwood on Saturday, if possible. Lakeview will be added after Sherwood when it is ready.
- We were able to dig the Chalet out (see Tuesday’s photo) and get that venue open again.
What To Expect For Tomorrow: Alpine
- Tomorrow we will be running Summit, Roundhouse, Treeline Cirque, Scott, and the Big Carpet. Subway may still be on an electrical hold, in which case we will run Meadow.
- Wind impacts are possible, especially for lifts like Scott, Summit, and Roundhouse.
- Parking lots at Alpine filled by 10:30 am today. This is rare on a weekday and it is an indicator of the large weekend ahead. Please plan accordingly using our New Year’s Eve Weekend Tips blog.
Photos of Patrol were taken by Grant Kaye at Alpine this morning.
New Year’s Eve at Palisades
Tomorrow night, we will be hosting a few events in The Village at Palisades Tahoe. Staying later is a great way to beat the afternoon traffic, and these family-friendly activities are sure to be a good time. Bundle up as it will be chilly. We hope to see you there!
- LED Torchlight Parade: Registration required. First group loads Exhibition at 5pm.
- Live Music featuring the Nomads: Live music will take place on the KT Deck from 5-7pm.
- Fireworks: Fireworks will start at 7pm. The KT Deck will be the best viewing spot.
If You Plan To Visit Us This Weekend…
You’ll want to check out our Weekend Tips blog. It is specific to what to expect over the next four days, and we hope you’ll take the time to read it and prepare.