Operations Update: March 4-5

Category: Operations Blog

Today's Operations: March 4

Today was a windy day at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and our operations were affected by this. The good news that these winds and clouds means snow is moving into the area. We could see 12-20 inches on the mountain tomorrow morning! While it was windy, there was still plenty of fun turns to be had!

Top 5 Factor Checklist to Open or Close Chairlifts

As told by Chris Woo, Director of Lift Maintenance at Squaw Valley
  1. Anemometer Readings & Physical Testing: "First, we look at anemometers. If it is reporting 120mph we're not even going to try and move lifts, for obvious reasons. If it's saying 20-50mph we're going to to go up to the chairlift, run it and see what it looks like." 
  2. Wind speed & Direction: "We use wind direction and intensity to determine whether a lift can operate or not." Check out our lift & wind "vulnerability" chart on the full wind blog
  3. Chair Swing: "Majority of the decisions to operate is based on the chair swing. It's actually the basis of our decision to run a chair. There is an approved "chair swing" by the manufacturer, meaning how much the chair can swing front to back and side to side to safely operate. We look at how the chair reacts in the wind."
  4. Wind Frequency: "Gusty winds are bad because it pushes and creates more turbulence while increasing chair swing. Consistent or steady winds in moderation are typically more predictable and may be sometimes better conditions to operate. Although, even steady consistent high winds will often prevent a safe operating condition."
  5. Forecast: "We always look at the forecast provided by the National Weather Service. If we're at pretty high winds already in the morning and the forecast is calling for winds to increase throughout the day, we might consider closing that lift. However, if we're at marginal winds and the forecast is showing winds to decrease, we will wait and watch to see if we can open that lift and put it on 'wind hold'." ​

Want a deeper dive into how winds impact our operations? 

Read Full Wind & Lift Blog 

Tomorrow's Operations Outlook: March 5

"WINDS: Sierra ridges are gusting to 90 mph with many valley locations seeing gusts 40 to 55 mph, in line with the forecast. There are a few higher gusts to 70 mph in wind prone areas and this will continue through the evening. All wind statements will continue through expiration." - NOAA weather discussion

Squaw Valley

"If we can do Funitel, Gold Coast and KT we're doing great" - Jimmy King, Mountain Manager at Squaw Valley

We've got all lifts on the schedule (with the exception of The Pulley which is still buried), but we could see winds impact that plan. We have full crews coming in, but won't know until our lift mechanics and patrol teams get out on the field tomorrow morning.  

Alpine Meadows

"Typically we try to open at 8:30am on weekends, but we are shooting for a 9am opening due to expected avalanche control work in the morning" - Alpine Dispatch

All lifts are on the schedule, but we could see winds impact the operation of lifts at Alpine. Stay tuned to the app and website for real-time updates. 

View Scheduled Lifts