Monthly Archives: June 2015

More Water Collection Progress

Since our water update on June 15 (see: The Rain Keeps Coming!), we continue to see fantastic progress in our water collection efforts. To date, we’ve pumped more than 1.6 million gallons to our holding pond, and we’re measuring well above the 2 million gallon mark.

Measuring our holding pond's water depth. It's looking very good up there!
Measuring our holding pond’s water depth. It’s looking very good up there!

Last Monday, we drew another 10 feet (or 60,000 gallons) of water from the County’s 250,000-gallon holding tank. We’re required to maintain at least 32 out of that tank’s 42 feet of water for possible fire mitigation, and each time the tank measures at or near capacity, we move 60,000 gallons to the pond (we never want the tank to overfill, so we monitor it carefully). By Tuesday afternoon, it was already back up to 35 feet again, and as of Friday, it was at 42 feet – and we drew another 60,000 gallons.

We’ve also recently installed a 1.5 horsepower pump that improves the weir’s ability to collect water by 30 gallons per minute. This is just one example of the many ways we’re working hard to capture virtually every drop of water available to us. As always, we are encouraged by this progress but are vigilant in our determination to do everything we can now to ensure the best ski and snowboard season – both in 2015-2016 and beyond.

Free Firewood for Ski Club Members

Tree Clearing Update

I wanted to say a special thank you to the volunteer chainsaw crew. Once the lifts closed, these guys were ready to get to work, and they’ve already made a difference in this early season. Know that we are strategic in how we clear trees:

  • We’re extremely selective when it comes to taking down hazardous trees in new growth areas and Aspen stands.
  • We are targeting trees that are dead or potentially hazardous
  • We are leaving the wind breaks and fencing
June 16 hail at Pajarito
June 16 hail at Pajarito

I’m also pleased to report that we will have access to a new track steer and mower, which will allow us to mow even bigger swaths of our trails in less time!

We’ve received questions about the clear cutting we’re doing on the West Side and, in particular, how it’s effecting erosion. In the past, most of the lumber companies we contacted would not take their equipment on our hill, which is how we started skidding the trees with our dozer – and we’re still doing this today. The site we are clearing has no detectable erosion issues, and we are skirting new growth areas. Know that I will take any necessary steps to curb any erosion issues, should they arise. To date, we have seen minimal erosion.

If you’ve been on the mountain lately, you may have noticed some water bars that have been built, thanks to the significant rain we’ve seen over the last several weeks. (Water bars are used on trails to direct water away from roads and toward vegetation.) Water bars are a normal part of ski trail construction until grass takes root and becomes established; they also aid when it comes to preventing erosion. We will seed the areas when we are done with the dozer work as needed.

Our volunteers are tasked with helping us mitigate the 300 acres that were burned. This is a massive undertaking, and we are incredibly grateful for their support.

Free Firewood for Los Alamos Ski Club Members

With all of the scheduled tree clearing that’s going on, we have a significant amount of downed trees that are perfect for firewood. Los Alamos Ski Club members are invited to come and collect this firewood at no charge. To collect the free firewood, please do the following:

* Please call us in advance to make arrangements at 505-662-5725.

* To access the firewood, bring a 4X4 vehicle.

* Please start at the gate near the shop area. From there, you’ll traverse up the mountain on Zero Road West until you come to the area with the downed timber. The available firewood is located between ski trail I Don’t Care on Zero Road West as it loops from I Don’t Care around by Ma Bell and Gene’s Choice.

* There, you will see piles skidded and the firewood is very accessible from the Zero Road West area. Feel free to take as much firewood as you need!

How You Can Help

We continue to be actively involved with the Ski Club on numerous efforts, including the Adopt-A-Slope program. This initiative allows individuals, families, groups or companies to adopt one of our slopes to lop small trees and hearty weeds to keep our trails in the best shape possible for the ski season. Many of you have already adopted slopes but some are still available. Please contact Susan Brockway at susanbrockway@gmail.com if you are interested in adopting a slope this year.

Let me take this opportunity to remind you that your contribution and support mean a great deal to all of us: our community’s involvement is just one of the many aspects that make Pajarito a special place. As always, thank you for being a vital part of our mountain.

Summer is Going On Now at Pajarito!

Don’t miss this Friday’s Gordons’ Concert, featuring Dan Bern! The concert begins at 7 p.m. on our patio, and the weather is looking fantastic for this mountain event.

The Café is now open for lunch (11am – 2pm) every Wednesday through Friday and on select Saturdays and Sundays, too, for special events, including this weekend’s archery shoot, and our next Bike and Hike, happening Friday, July 3, Saturday, July 4, and Sunday, July 5. For our cafe hours, a list of all of our Bike and Hikes and a current schedule of events, please click here.

Mountain Bike

The rain keeps coming!

The rain keeps coming!

I’m pleased to report that Pajarito has benefited from this extra moisture. Our water collection system has been working on overdrive since we closed in March. We have harvested much more water than we did last year: as of today, we’re storing around 2 million gallons in our holding pond (last fall, at the beginning of snowmaking season, we had around 500,000 gallons). Having four times the amount of water is certainly cause for celebration, although we’re still working hard to capture even more: as a matter of fact, we recently purchased a new pump that will allow us to transport this water much more efficiently.

This photograph was snapped on May 21 after five consecutive weeks of snow. Photo courtesy of Jason Halladay.
This photograph was snapped on May 21 after five consecutive weeks of snow. Photo courtesy of Jason Halladay.

To put the 2,000,000 gallons of water into perspective, we estimate we could cover all of Beginners West and the Mitey Mite area (about 7 acres) OR Lone Spruce (about 11 acres) OR all of Lumber Yard (about 11 acres).  In short 2,000,000 gallons is a really good start to our snowmaking water – and virtually the most this pond has seen since we installed it.

Pajarito's holding pond as of May 21, 2015.
Pajarito’s holding pond as of May 21, 2015.
Progress: here is what the holding pond looked like as of June 11, 2015.
Progress: here is what the holding pond looked like as of June 11, 2015.

And while we are extremely encouraged by this, we continue to look at a permanent water solution – both for fire mitigation and for our snowmaking efforts. Know that we are very actively working on water solutions. As we have maintained all along, securing the future of skiing and snowboarding at Pajarito is our top priority – which makes securing a water source our first priority.