Operations Blog - 3.13.16

Category: General

Operations Blog - 3.13.16

This post will be revised throughout the weekend. Last update: 8:00 AM Sunday

We're moving into another stretch of active weather in the Tahoe Basin. Since Thursday morning, we've experienced high winds that have closed most upper elevation lifts. We're now heading into the bulk of the storm with up to 40" projected between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning. With the heaviest precipitation comes even stronger winds, and operations will absolutely be impacted on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

We anticipate that Sunday (and possibly Monday) will be limited to KT-22 and terrain east of there (Red Dog, Squaw Creek, SnoVentures, Exhibition, Far East, etc.) due to projected winds.

At Alpine Meadows, the anticipation is that either Roundhouse or Hot Wheels will be the top of the mountain on Sunday (and possibly Monday) with higher elevation lifts on wind hold.

We will still try to open at 8:30 AM Sunday if at all possible, proceed with aggressive snow safety everywhere possible, and keep lifts on wind hold with the full intention to operate if conditions allow. For this reason, lifts will remain as scheduled as we will have staff on hand, but there is a high likelihood many chairlifts will not open.

Read below to find out more. 

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Sunday - 3.13.16

Snow safety will be necessary after the 18" we received in the last 24 hours. As the third and strongest wave of the storm cycle moves in, winds will be intense, absolutely impacting lift operations; these are the heaviest winds of the cycle and weaker winds have shuttered many of our upper mountain lifts. Fortunately, temperatures have come in very cold with this wave so everything that falls should be snow.

As you can see below, winds have been howling - and they've been doing so for the last 4 days!

Keep in mind that many of our chairlifts have been unable to operate due to the high winds on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Even if winds were to die down enough to spin the chairs, Lift Maintenance will have to deice these chairlifts - resulting in delays. Coupled with snow safety that will also delay openings - if wind would even allow - Sunday is going to present operational challenges. Please be prepared, be patient, and understand we will do absolutely everything in our power to safely open as much terrain as possible. With the forecasted high winds, snow falling overnight and all day in addition to iced up chairlifts, there's not a ton of optimism that we'll be able to have much open, at least anything upper elevation.

Use caution driving in or out of the region - ice and snow covered roads are likely. NOAA's forecast calls for 18-24" from Sunday until Monday, about half of that falling overnight. 

Monday - 3.14.16 

Snow showers will taper off by late afternoon but winds will linger through the day.

After rapid accumulation overnight, snow safety will be imperative and avalanche control will take time given the projected quantity of snow - this will almost certainly result in delays. Chairlifts that have not spun in a few days will absolutely be delayed for deicing as well. If we hit the high end of the forecast, avalanche danger may be substantial enough that terrain is held for a day or two until the risk subsides. 

Long story short; Monday will require some patience but the snow will be worth the wait!

Tuesday - 3.15.16

Skies look to clear and the sun comes out. Looks like a bluebird powder day!

Have a question? Send a tweet to @SquawAlpineOps or respond in the Discuss comments section below and we'll get back to you.