The Storm: Day 3
At times over the past few days, this storm cycle has seemed “over-forecasted.” We did receive 11 inches of snow on our upper mountains and 7 inches of snow on our lower mountains in the past 24 hours, but today the snow has really shown up. Our Mountain Managers estimated around 1pm today that snow was falling at the rate of 2-4 inches per hour. Wind remains a concern and avalanche control continues to be a priority as NOAA is calling for an additional 28 inches of snow today and tonight.
Daily Update: Alpine
Alpine experienced a brief power outage late this morning. We were able to run on auxiliary power to get all of our guests off the lift, but the cause of the outage remains unclear. We did not want guests to be stuck on lifts in the event of a recurrence and settled on keeping Treeline Cirque and Meadow as our two lifts to remain open for the rest of the day. Winds have also been topping 130 miles per hour on the ridge and visibility was described by one groomer as “hideous.”
Daily Update: Palisades
Patrol worked as quickly as possible while performing snow safety on the lower mountain this morning. KT-22 did have some chairs touching the snow, and we appreciate the kindness and cooperation of everyone who waited in line this morning while we fixed that issue. We have very few crews on the upper mountain currently, as winds have barely gone below 100mph since 4am. At this time, we are maintaining just one route up to the upper mountain due to low visibility. When conditions allow, patrol will be out marking roads and performing snow safety in full force.
Lift & Terrain Updates: Alpine
- Summit: We essentially have a groomer working 24/7 to maintain the access road to Summit. We plan to reopen this lift immediately as soon as we are able.
- Sherwood: While the roads and ramps were built, we will have to do a significant amount of digging out following this next round of snow.
- Lakeview: While the roads and ramps were built, we will have to do a significant amount of digging out following this next round of snow.
- Roundhouse: We lost Roundhouse today due to the excessive winds.
- Outer Limits: Teams attempted to access this area, but abandoned this mission due to extreme whiteout conditions.
Lift & Terrain Updates: Palisades
- KT-22: KT-22 shut down just after 1pm today due to extremely heavy snow. As we discussed in our blog yesterday and on the 23rd, conditions have finally caused us to lose the crucial access road to the top. Patrol performed a sweep and will be removing chairs, as we have been doing each night. Tomorrow, patrol will access the top of KT to perform snow safety via the chairlift rather than via grooming machine.
- Granite Chief: The roads are in. The boundary still needs to be marked, in addition to having patrol perform snow safety after this next round of weather.
- Headwall: Serious wind drifts and whiteout conditions reported.
- Emigrant: Serious wind drifts and whiteout conditions reported.
- Olympic Lady: A very large tree went down below Oly Lady today. Thankfully one of our groomers, Craig Patterson, was able to clear it. See below for a photo.
- In general we do not have a lot of high Beginner/Intermediate terrain open at the moment. Please keep this in mind when visiting.
What To Expect Moving Forward
We are waiting for a slowdown in this storm, not necessarily a full stop. A break in the wind is the main ingredient that we need in order to capitalize on the new snow and expand terrain. When we get this break, we need to perform full snow safety, dig out all of our lifts, re-build roads, re-build ramps, and mark all boundaries. Here is a peek at what we are likely planning for when this break comes:
- Lower mountain lifts are running well and we will continue to focus on maintaining this terrain.
- Winds are expected to maintain the same high rate of speed tomorrow. There is a possibility for winds to be even higher. This pattern could possibly continue through Tuesday.
- When we are able to safely clear the upper mountain at Palisades for skiing and riding, we are likely to open the Funi, the Tram, Gold Coast, Shirley, Big Blue, Mountain Meadow, and Bailey’s Beach. Lifts such as Solitude, Granite Chief, Emigrant, and Silverado still need boundary markings before they can open. We will be prioritizing that first list of lifts before moving onto others. Essentially, everything from Wa She Shu up will need to be redone due to the high volume of snow.
- Lakeview and Sherwood will be the priority lifts to open next at Alpine once they are dug out.
Stay in Know on Lift & Trail Status
AS MENTIONED ABOVE, THE STORM CYCLE WILL LIKELY IMPACT LIFT OPERATIONS. THIS IS WHERE YOU’LL FIND THE BEST INFORMATION ON MOUNTAIN CONDITIONS.
- Download the Palisades Tahoe App for real-time info on weather, lift status and parking.
- Follow the Mountain Ops Twitter for up-to-the-minute updates.
- Check the Palisades Tahoe Snow & Weather report
- Check the Lift & Grooming Status
- Check the Palisades Tahoe Weather Blog (updated daily)
- Road conditions will be variable. We have a list of all the tools you’ll need to make educated travel decisions.
Other Resort Impacts
- Sunset Happy Hour is canceled for tomorrow night, 12/26. It is likely to be canceled for 12/27 as well.
- Alpine Meadows Road may close intermittently for avalanche control. While we aim to reopen it within 30 minutes, closure lengths are totally dependent on conditions. Please plan accordingly.
- Some food & beverage oulets will have altered hours, such as early closures so that employees can get home safely.
- Regional TART bus service is suspended through this evening.
This snow is the best Christmas wish come true! Thank you to those of you who asked Santa Claus for a holiday blizzard. Unforgettable powder days are just around the corner. We ask for your patience in the meantime as we put the mountain back together.
Our teams are going on several days of endless shoveling, snow removal, lift maintenance, and avalanche control in these extreme conditions. Please be kind to them and understand that they are very dedicated to working as fast as they can in a safe manner. On days like this, we owe it all to the operations personnel who arrive at the resort at the crack of dawn and do it again the next day. We can’t wait to be out there skiing and riding with you on the upper mountains again soon.