Who needs Miracle March with an April like this? A few weeks ago, we were getting ready to wrap up winter operations. I even put a sentence in a draft of one of these blogs calling it the “last operations blog of the season.” A few people recommended I remove that sentence, just in case the weather changed… Well, now we have more snow than sunny days ahead in the forecast. It’s a good thing we got our Spring Skiing in during January, February, and March. If the snowfall keeps up like this, we think we’ll be able to extend our closing date past May 1st!
Storm Recap: Thursday-Saturday
- As of Saturday morning around 4am, we’d received 31 inches of snowfall in the past 7 days. This is our biggest storm total since December!
- Thursday night gave us 10 inches in the base areas and 15 inches on our upper mountains.
- Snow continued on and off on Friday morning, then the sun emerged from behind the peaks. The snow was a bit heavy, and some of the wet base area snow didn’t stick around for long. It was fun out there, though. Everyone is excited about this late-season surprise.
- Snow returned this morning and has been falling steadily throughout the day. It has also been super windy. At Palisades, we were able to keep Red Dog and Resort Chair spinning, but the rest of our scheduled lifts went on wind hold. As one operations team member put it this morning, “If the Funitel is on hold, you know the wind is serious.” At Alpine, we were able to keep Roundhouse, Treeline Cirque, and Meadow open, but these were marked with “windy conditions” on our lift & trail status report.
Weather This Week
- Expect a break in the snow tonight.
- The sun will return tomorrow with temperatures of 45 degrees. We’ve stacked a bunch of our signature spring events onto this one clear day in the forecast (more on that below.)
- Monday will be sunny, too, but wind conditions could impact some lifts on the ridgelines.
- The Monday/Tuesday storm is calling for up to 7 inches of snow right now, and then we have nothing but snow in the forecast through next weekend.
Check our near-daily weather blog, written by Bryan Allegretto of Open Snow, to keep up with the latest on what’s expected for these incoming storms.
Lift, Terrain & Conditions Updates
- Sunday is the LAST DAY of operations for Alpine. We will be spinning Summit, Roundhouse, Treeline Cirque, Meadow, Alpine Bowl Chair, Yellow, and the Big Carpet.
- Sunday is also the last day for Resort Chair and Red Dog. Red Dog made it much longer than we expected, but don’t forget — It is getting replaced with a new high-speed sixpack for next season. Tomorrow is your last chance to ride the current chair!
- We’ve called this as Granite Chief‘s last weekend. There’s a possibility it could run for a few more days this week, but if you don’t want to miss it, grab some turns on Sunday, April 17th.
- On the Palisades side, we will continue to run the Funitel, Siberia, Gold Coast, Big Blue, Shirley, Solitude, Bailey’s Beach, and Mountain Meadow. Please note that tomorrow (Sunday, April 17th) it could still be windy and we could see some weather impacts.
- Wa She Shu will not run on Sunday, April 17th due to Cushing Crossing. We will reevaluate this lift on Monday and run it if we can.
Your Questions Answered
Why aren’t lifts reopening? KT should be open!
Remember those super warm temperatures a few weeks ago? It is easy to forget how dire the snowmelt was before these April snowstorms. Just two weeks ago, on April 1st, we told you about our North-facing mid-mountain snow study plot: It had 90 inches of snow left, which sounds like a lot, but in the 60+ degree weather, it was losing up to 12 inches per day. Compare that loss with the storm total, and we’ve offset just over 2 days of snowmelt with this storm. This is simply not enough snow following record dry spells in January, February, and March. We need several feet of snow to build and maintain access roads. Plus, warm temps are expected to return by the end of the month.
Why is Alpine closing? It seems too early.
We almost always close Alpine before Palisades, and this year is no exception. It’s true that we lost a lot of snow to the warm temperatures, as explained above. But there are other factors at play here, too. Just a few weeks ago, when the winter looked like it was completely over, we started scheduling out work on our summer projects at Alpine. We have a new snowmaking system going in at Weasel and timber clearing that we need to do for the U.S. Forest Service. Although we now have more snow, those plans are locked in and we need to start work on them to complete them prior to next season. We will be dedicating any remaining resources to keeping more lifts spinning on the Palisades side. For those of you who are wondering about the base-to-base gondola, we will be providing an update on that project next month.
Why is Cushing Crossing on Sunday?
Today’s weather has been a little gnarly with extremely high winds, lift closures and low visibility. We are stoked on snow, but we want Cushing Crossing to feel like a springtime event. The pond skim is best held in sunny weather so that attendance is comfortable and fun, so we made the difficult decision to push the event to Sunday, April 17th. Stick around after Cushing Crossing for the free Spring Tracks concert featuring G Love & DJ Logic.