Ops Update: December 18, 2015

Category: Operations Blog

We've got another storm on our hands and NOAA is calling for 3-7 inches tonight and and 3-5 inches tomorrow. Check out the outlook here. When we get snow, this usually brings about wind events and snow safety. Snow safety may be a new term for some of you, so we want to break it down. Snow safety is when our Patrollers go out on the mountain and throw explosives to knock down and test snow stability and identify weak layers in our snowpack. We do this for the safety of our guests and employees and is an essential piece of opening our mountains. 

Tomorrow Morning's Anticipated Operations

A good tool the night prior is checking out what we have scheduled to open the following day on the lift & grooming status page or the Squaw Alpine App. You'll see we have anticipated a few late openings due to new snow and wind. 

Tomorrow will require snow safety. Our patrollers drive to the mountains in the dark, get their gear ready and prepare to head out on the mountain to do their snow safety routes. One thing to note here is that our teams can't actually throw explosives until there is light and visibility. This is California state law and is quite common throughout the Unites States. The snow and wind could be a factor in how quickly we are able to prepare the mountain. As we've mentioned before, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature and we always play be her rules.

A Few Things to Note on Squaw Valley Delays and Operations
  1. We normally don't open KT without Saddle road. We're being aggressive by getting KT open with minimal coverage without the Saddle Road. 
  2. The Saddle Road is important because the troop carrier takes 10 patrollers to Headwall which is a critical route for snow safety.
  3. We anticiapte not being able to have Headwall operate for Patrol in the morning due to clearing the lift of ice buildup.
  4. Becuase Headwall chair can't run for Patrol early morning, the Headwall teams have to hike up and over Palisades to access routes (1 hour to hike if there is good visibility and no wind drifting)
  5. KT teams will be good to go up once lift maintenance clears the line

We won't know too much until we get in here in the morning - and hopefully it's to a good amount of snow! The good news is that we're getting more snow and once lifts are safely opened, it's going to awesome out there. Stay tuned to the app for the most up to date lift/trail information when you're out on the mountain.