As we look ahead to this coming winter, our Operations teams are gearing up to start the season again. We’re checking in with each team about what they worked on this summer, and what is new for this coming season. This week, we’re featuring our Grooming departments at both Palisades and Alpine.
We have 5 new snowcats for our mainline Grooming departments for the 2023-24 winter season. This will bring our fleet of PistenBully snowcats across both mountains to a total of 53, giving us the largest fleet in North America. So, what kinds of snowcats did we order?
Three 600 Winches
- 1 will go to Alpine; 1 will go to Palisades; 1 is yet to be determined
- 1 of the snowcats has a park-style push frame. Park push frames can reach further away and allow for more articulation in every direction. This machine will be used in areas with quick changes of slopes.
- 2 of the winches are equipped with LiDAR, which can measure snow depth up to 165 feet in front of the snowcat.
One Park Pro 400 Winch
- The Park Pro will be going to the Palisades side.
- The Park Pro is still a winch cat, but it is smaller and more lightweight than a 600 winch.
- The Park Pro has both the longer park push frame and a longer tiller that can lift up higher.
- The Park Pro also has built-in software that is unique to specific terrain shapes and a distance calculator.
- Our groomers plan to use this on tight, narrow travel roads that gain access to winch runs and chairlifts, such as the Saddle Road.
One 600 Snowcat
- The “free” cat, which does not have a winch cable, will be going to Alpine.
- Winch cables and booms weigh a lot, adding up to 6,000 pounds to a machine. There are times when you don’t want extra weight if you aren’t hooking up. Plus, with nothing impeding the view out the back, there is much more visibility.
- Another benefit of a “free” cat is the clearance. Without a winch attachment, cats can more easily fit under chairlifts.
- Cats like this are used when you aren’t working in super steep areas and are performing regular grooming maintenance.
RE-SCANNING THE MOUNTAIN
If you’re not familiar with SNOWsat, the grooming technology that our PistenBully snowcats come equipped with, you should check out our deep dive on SNOWsat technology at Palisades Tahoe. SNOWsat is a revolutionary technology that uses satellite data and GPS radar to accurately measure snow depth. In the summer months, we have mapped our mountains so that in the wintertime, the SNOWsat technology compares that summer map to the existing snowfall on the mountain.
The last time we had the mountain fully scanned was almost a decade ago, and we have made some big infrastructure improvements since then. Areas that will be re-scanned by drone this fall include:
- The full path of the new Red Dog lift, including both the top and bottom terminals.
- The full path of the Base to Base Gondola, including The Village at Palisades Tahoe base area, the KT-22 mid-station, the White Wolf mid-station, and the Alpine base area.
- The full path of Treeline Cirque, including the top, mid-station, and bottom terminals.
- The area surrounding the Alpine Lodge deck.
NEW WINCH PICKS
On the Palisades side, we are adding several new winch picks, mainly in areas that surround race venues, like Mainline and Racers. Winch picks are towers that winch snowcats can attach their steel cable to. These picks must be strong enough to hold a 30,000-pound machine pulling up to 5 metric tons of force. They can be strategically placed around the mountain and used to maintain specific runs or high-traffic areas.
THE STIFEL PALISADE TAHOE CUP RETURNS
We could not pull off an event like the Stifel Palisades Tahoe Cup, a stop on the Audi Ski FIS World Cup Tour, without the support of PistenBully. Headquartered close by in Reno, Nevada, their facility, services, and parts stock make them an incredibly reliable and important partner. When we are making plans for large events, they are by our side, assisting with SNOWsat projects, lending us snowcats, and helping us be more efficient. These are all things they’ll be doing again this season to make sure we pull off this international race without a hitch. We’ll also be bringing in a small group of contracted snowcat operators with racecourse experience to help in the weeks leading up to the Stifel Palisades Tahoe Cup.
COME SEE A SNOWCAT AT BIG TRUCK DAY!
On October 21st, Truckee Donner Parks & Rec will be hosting the annual Big Truck Day. While this event is geared toward kids, it’s also a great way for adults to see one of our cutting-edge machines. One of our brand new 600 winches will be on display at Big Truck Day. Plus, our Director of Snow Surfaces, Brendan Gibbons, and the Regional Manager of PistenBully, Andy Lindsey, will be there to answer your questions. Both Brendan and Andy spent many years as groomers at Alpine and Palisades, so they have amazing knowledge about what it’s like to work on the slopes at Palisades Tahoe.
- Date: Saturday, October 21st
- Time: 11am-2pm
- Location: Town Corp Yard 10969 Stevens Lane (located next to the Humane Society)
- Rain or shine!
We hope to see you there, and we can’t wait to ski or snowboard with you this winter!
Have more questions about Grooming, or what’s new this winter? Shoot us an email at email@example.com.
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Photos taken by Bandit and Nick McMahon, Palisades Grooming.