This is definitely a storm to remember. We’ve now received 7.5 feet of snow since December 1st. Plus, in just 24 hours from Saturday morning to Sunday morning, we received more than 35 inches of snow — the 6th largest snowfall total in 24 hours that we have on record.
When we put out our snow report at 6am today, we reported 36″ of new snow at Alpine base’s and 35″ near Belmont at Palisades. It’s a little strange to get more snow at the base than the upper mountain, but that can best be explained by yesterday’s winds gusting up to 165 mph! Winds were calmer today, averaging around 55 mph at both mountains, but the snow continued into the afternoon.
PHOTO + VIDEO GALLERY:
This type of snow event warrants a look through some of the photos that our staff photographer, Blake Kessler, grabbed this morning. We are absolutely buried. Read the captions of these photos — You might not even realize that it’s a place you recognize!
We also can’t give enough credit to our crews who worked overnight last night. Here are a few videos from the Palisades grooming team, showing what those intense winds and heavy snowfall looked like from inside a snowcat.
Recap: December 11th at Alpine
At 4:50 this morning, Patrol had already sent in snowfall estimates. Snow removal crews in the base area were working to clear parking lots and maintain road access. A few hours later, just before 8am, the decision was made to pull Summit from the schedule. We kept everyone up to date on our Mountain Operations Twitter that we expected to get some lifts open, but that we would experience significant delays. Everything started the day at a Patrol hold around 9am, and we set a goal of opening around 10am. At 9:45am, we pulled Yellow chairlift from the schedule for the day. Just before 10:30am, we were able to open Roundhouse, quickly followed by Meadow and Subway. An hour later, Treeline Cirque opened to mid-station. This was a HUGE effort for all the teams at Alpine to deliver skiable terrain after such a big snowfall. Looking around at the Tahoe basin, several other resorts experienced full closures, so we are SO grateful to the crews who opened the mountain safely. It was DEEP out there!
Recap: December 11th at Palisades
We expected there to be heavy snowfall and some slide activity at Palisades, even on the lower mountain, but around 7am, we still had Resort Chair, First Ventures, and Exhibition on the schedule. Now, these cannot open until we’ve cleared the “Snow King” area (Resort Chair/Far East/Red Dog) and the KT-22 area, but our expectation was that would finish up control work and get them open. At 9:15am, all lifts were placed on a patrol hold at Palisades due to extremely low visibility and high avalanche danger. We did not have an estimated opening time, but we were still planning to operate. Shortly afterward, we made the call to leave Palisades lifts closed for the day due to that high avalanche danger, and we regrouped and focused our efforts on prepping the mountain for tomorrow.
What To Expect Tomorrow
Before we talk about lift and terrain updates, we want to show you some photos from today. All of the photos in the gallery below were taken by Steve Grotta, Lower Lift Maintenance, today near KT-22. Looking through, you’ll see a tremendous amount of effort going into snow removal, and you’ll also see how much work still has to be done. We got so much snow that we need to dig out chairs at the top of KT, and today we even had to dig out one of our grooming machines by hand. We ask for your understanding that this is a dynamic snow situation and we are assessing as we go. Things could change and delays could occur over the next few days, and it is not for lack of effort.
All photos taken by Steve Grotta, Lower Lift Maintenance.
Lift + Terrain Updates: Alpine
- We will have Summit back on the schedule for tomorrow.
- We are aiming for Tuesday for Scott.
- Wednesday continues to be the target for Sherwood.
Lift + Terrain Updates: Palisades
- We will start the day with lower mountain lifts: Resort Chair, First Ventures, Exhibition, and KT-22.
- With the lower mountain open, we will then aim to get a few things on the upper mountain. Basically, we expect the upper mountain to be delayed, but it is our goal to add the Funitel, Wa She Shu, Gold Coast, Shirley, the Aerial Tram, Bailey’s Beach, and Mountain Meadow.
- We will provide updates on other lift opening estimates in tomorrow’s blog. Today we’re focused on digging out and getting back to where we were before this storm.
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