Operations Update: February 10

Category: Operations Blog

Today's Overview: February 9, 2016

Both mountains experienced high winds and extreme weather today. At Squaw Valley's ridge, wind gusts clocked in as high as 139mph today. Jeff Goldstone, Alpine Meadows Director of Operations, shared these videos of what the mountain looked like this morning:

 Top of Roundhouse Chair at 6:15am with 45mph winds 

Top of Alpine Meadows with 85mph winds this morning at 8:30am 

At Alpine Meadows all aerial lifts started on wind hold. Our crews opened the carpets at 9am, but had to close all lifts and carpets due to high winds by 12:50pm. 

At Squaw Valley Red Dog, Far East, Squaw Creek, First Venture and the carpets opened in the morning. By 1:45pm, all lifts were closed due to lighting.

Snow on the Way

According to the NOAA forecast, rain will transition to snow and we could see over a foot of new snow overnight! By Saturday, the skies will clear up and we'll see the sun again. Here is the NOAA breakdown over the next few days:

  • This Afternoon: Rain and snow. Steady temperature around 34. Very windy, with a south wind around 45 mph, with gusts as high as 65 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.
  • Tonight: Rain, possibly mixed with snow. Low around 29. Very windy, with a south wind 40 to 45 mph decreasing to 30 to 35 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 65 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 10 to 16 inches possible.
  • Friday: Snow. High near 36. Breezy, with a southwest wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.
  • Friday Night: Snow, mainly before 10pm. Low around 22. Breezy, with a west wind 20 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
  • Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 29. Breezy, with an east wind 10 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.


With up to 16 inches of new snowfall possible throughout the night, our ski patrol is gearing up to conduct snow safety at both mountains first thing in the morning. In addition to this control work, our on-hill crews will have to work to reset hill safety boundaries and markings including signs, bamboo and ropes. Temperatures are forecasted to drop overnight, which will likely cause ice build up on chairlifts. Our crews will be out there as conditions allow manually removing ice from the lifts. Due to these factors, we anticipate some delays tomorrow morning. Please check our lift & trail status page and app for real-time updates. 

At Squaw Valley, our crews plan to open Red Dog, Far East and Squaw Creek first, followed by Exhibition, KT-22 and Olympic Lady. The Funitel should be next, followed by Gold Coast, Bailey's Beach, Big Blue, Mountain Meadow, Shirley Lake and Solitude. Some of the upper mountain chairlifts have not been accessed in days, so our crews will assess their status and dispatch will update project lift opening times in the morning.

Alpine Meadows has all lifts on the schedule, but mountain operations crews anticipate delayed openings on Summit, Sherwood, Alpine Bowl Chair, Scott, Kangaroo, and Lakeview. High winds are forecasted, so wind holds may be possible as well. 

Projected Scheduled Lifts

Every evening at 4pm, our Dispatch Teams publish their "schedule" for the following days operations on our website and app. This is our operations team's best guess of what we will be able to operate based on weather forecasts, avalanche forecasts, terrain accessibility and so much more. We encourage you to review this projection and keep in mind on dynamic storm days, these projections from the night before, could change in the morning and throughout the day based on terrain and lift assessments from patrollers, groomers and lift mechanics out on the field. It is always best to check the app or website for real-time information as this is updated by our Dispatch Teams who are in direct communication with the operation folks on the mountain.