Monthly Archives: July 2015

5 Million Gallons of Water Collected

 We Could Fill the Pond by the End of Summer!

Last week was an impressive water collection period for us. We pumped 62 hours straight (from Tuesday at 6:30 a.m. through Thursday at 8:30 p.m.), and our staff made a direct pond depth measurement on Friday. We took this measurement to George Lawrence, former Los Alamos Ski Club president and a local expert when it comes to water at Pajarito Mountain (he was also instrumental in the design of Pajarito’s original pond.) George has created a model of the pond as it is actually built, and he utilizes a volume-versus-depth table (for the as-built pond geometry) to help us measure the amount of water in our pond.

According to George and Pajarito General Manager Tom Long, we now have 5 million gallons stored, and we could be close to 6 million gallons by the end of this week! Furthermore, if the monsoons continue, we could fill all 10 million gallons by the end of the summer!

Taken Friday, July 24, this photo shows the Pajarito staff doing a direct pond depth measurement. Photo courtesy of George Lawrence.
Taken Friday, July 24, this photo shows the Pajarito staff doing a direct pond depth measurement. Photo courtesy of George Lawrence.
In addition to this exciting news, we also announced earlier this morning that Pajarito is part of a $10 million multi-resort capital campaign. Three of the four ski areas in our southwest collective (Sipapu, Purgatory and Snowbowl) are building new lifts, and every ski area is adding new trails and improved snowmaking infrastructure.

What this means for Pajarito:

More Water for Future Snowmaking. With last spring’s run-off and this year’s unseasonably rainy summer, we have been laser-focused to capture every drop we can. We’re now on pace to collect more water than we’ve ever gathered before, which means our team will be able to make snow as our snowmaking system was designed to do.

A New “True Beginner” Trail. We’re building a new trail on the west side of the mountain, between Rim Run and Zero Road West, to provide a gentle slope that’s ideal for “true beginners.”

This is an incredible time at Pajarito and all of our resorts, and we look forward to sharing these improvements with you this winter!

Surface Water is Running Again

Last week, we had a big rain that opened up some nearby springs that we have not seen in years. During that time, our weir – which typically pumps around 15 gallons per minute – was pumping 95 gallons per minute. As of last week, our pump logs tell us that we’ve transported over 2,125,000 gallons into our holding pond!

Measuring the pond depth. Photo taken July 10, 2015.
Measuring the pond depth. Photo taken July 10, 2015.

Our general manager, Tom Long, also reported yesterday morning that we have now pumped the County tank for seven days in a row. The tank is filling everyday and we are pumping it down every morning. This means that in the last seven days, we’ve pumped at least 500,000 gallons of water into the pond.

We’re already fielding questions on where and how we’ll use this water. It’s premature for us to make any decisions around this, but we’re beginning to talk about how this water can have the biggest and best impact on our winter operations for the 2015-2016 ski and snowboard season. For years, many of you have waited to see our snowmaking system work to its promised capacity. We’re eager to fulfill that!

View from the canoe. The pond was 2 feet deeper than the last time we measured!
View from the canoe. The pond was 2 feet deeper than the last time we measured!