Three More Days To Opening Day!

What to Expect for Opening Day. We are scheduled to open Lone Spruce and Bruce’s Boulevard, accessed by the Aspen Lift, on Saturday. With the great conditions we’ve been having, West Beginner Trail and the Mighty Mite Lift may also be open. Lift ticket prices will be just $29 for everyone this weekend! The Rental Shop, Pajarito Mountain Cafè, Ski and Snowboard School will also be open on Saturday.

pajarito winter trail map 2016-17
Saturday’s planned runs and lifts are highlighted in yellow. The Aspen Lift, Lone Spruce Trail and West Beginner Trail are expected to be open. Conditions allowing, Mighty Mite Lift may also be open.

Snowmaking. Because of the advancements we have made in our snowmaking infrastructure, Snowmaking Manager Tommy said this is one of Pajarito’s best years of snowmaking! Tommy said that he chalks this up to the system’s automation, which we discussed in detail in our last blog post. Our plan for the rest of the week is to take advantage of the forecasted conditions by making snow non-stop until opening day!

pajarito lone spruce
The Beginner Area as pictured this morning, November 30.

Looking forward. With a good chunk of the mountain ready for opening day, our team is itching to go on an “exploratory trackpacking” mission to scope out areas that have enough snow for us to trackpack with the snowcat. Some spots have deeper bases than others, and we want to find those areas and open up as much skiable terrain as we can, as soon as possible! As time and conditions allow, Tommy said we may even be able to open up a few terrain park features for Saturday!

See you on the mountain!

5 Days To Opening Day!

Last night Pajarito received 2 more inches of fresh snow! It was our pleasure to have James Coleman, Pajarito’s Managing Partner, on the mountain last night helping us prepare the mountain for Saturday’s scheduled opening. Snowmaking conditions were ideal, with low temperatures and humidity helping our snowmaking team (and James!) make a great product on Bruce’s Boulevard and Lone Spruce and the connector between Lone Spruce and the Aspen Lift.

Me in the snowcat trackpacking our new snow!
Me in the snowcat trackpacking our new snow!

Besides making snow, James spent the lion’s share of the evening (and the wee hours of the morning) in the pump house ensuring all systems were working properly. For those of you who don’t already know, Pajarito has a state-of-the-art automated snowmaking system. The way this works is our snow guns automatically adjust the ratio of water to air in relation to atmospheric conditions like temperature, humidity, wind direction and speed. Our Snowmaking Manager, Tommy Long, was very excited to work on this with James last night. He said, “The key to success last night was James. He made all the snow!”

We’re working around the clock to prepare for Saturday!
We’re working around the clock to prepare for Saturday!

We have been making snow today with more than favorable conditions. Snow is in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow with 3 to 7 inches of snow by tomorrow afternoon, and freezing temperatures are expected to continue throughout the week. All hands are on deck prepping the mountain for opening day! Stay tuned for more updates as we get closer to Saturday.

Pajarito Now Opening December 3

Although we’ve had a successful snowmaking push and picked up 4” of snow last night, we have made the difficult decision to delay Pajarito’s opening, which was originally scheduled for this Friday, Nov. 25. Tommy Long, Snowmaking Manager, says “We’ve been working around the clock to get the best product open for our guests but Mother Nature has proven to be a tough adversary.” I am hopeful we will be able to open Saturday, Dec. 3.

“The little bit of extra time gives us the opportunity to put the best possible product out there on Opening Day,” Tommy adds. We’re concentrating our snowmaking efforts on Lone Spruce and plan to open the trail, and the Aspen and Beginner Lifts, from top to bottom on Dec. 3. Temperatures do look favorable for snowmaking tonight and we hope to run all 9 guns! Stay tuned to our snow report for more information.

Snowmaking started on November 18
Snowmaking started on November 18

This year we’ve run our snowmaking system more than ever before and for longer periods of time. We’re really excited to be using our snowmaking infrastructure to its fullest and how it was initially designed. In year’s past we weren’t able to run the system at its designed capacity but this year the system runs more efficiently with better results than ever before. It’s really exciting to see the full magnitude of what our snowmaking system (and crew!) can do. If you’re planning to come up to the mountain to hike or to enjoy the snow, be aware of equipment we have on the mountain. Please stay to the left side (nothing east of Bruce’s Boulevard) of the mountain for your safety and for the safety of our mountain crew.

Even though we’re having to push opening day a bit, we’re still forecasted to have an amazing ski season. We do not see a correlation between a warm October/early November and future snowfall or season-long snow conditions. We’ve experienced previous seasons that had plenty of early snow and other seasons when winter weather was slow to materialize but it ended up being a fantastic season. With the help of Mother Nature, coupled with our sophisticated snowmaking system, we will be able to provide a great ski season for our guests. Winter is on its way, and we’re confident it’s going to be a fantastic year!

Remember, everyone needs to take a new photo this year because of our new software. We’ll be open tomorrow for pass printing before our office closes Nov. 24-27 for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Passes will be issued daily Nov. 28th – Dec. 2 from 8am to 4pm. As our team prepares the mountain for opening day, we will be sure to keep you posted. Check our website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram regularly for the latest information on opening day. If you have additional questions, feel free to call (505) 662-5725.

See you on the mountain soon!

 

Snowmaking Begins at Pajarito!

I’m excited to confirm that yesterday, November 17, snowmaking began at Pajarito Mountain! We started making snow late afternoon and continued all the way through the night. In total we had seven guns fired up on the mountain: two of the portable guns on Bruce’s Boulevard and one on Lower Lone Spruce with the rest of the fixed guns (on Spruce), M-12’s, M-18 and A9 Lance.

The guns are still fired up as of 9:00 a.m. this morning
The guns are still fired up as of 9:00 a.m. this morning

Our low temperature hovered at 11 degrees last night with a wet bulb on top of the mountain. As of this morning, our latest wet bulb was 14 degrees on top of the mountain and 15 degrees at the base. Looking ahead at the forecast, temperatures are looking decent tonight, warmer on Sunday and Sunday but should cool off Monday night. Temperatures are a bit variable with the weather front (snow predicted!) heading our way Sunday night into Tuesday. Click here to follow our NOAA weather station.

Snowmaking views from last night
Snowmaking views from last night

Snowmaking Manager Tommy says “Last night was a great kickoff to our snowmaking season. We will continue to be diligent with temps and keep striving to make Pajarito a winter wonderland!” Pajarito is scheduled to open November 25 for the 2016-2017 ski season.  Buy your season passes by midnight tonight before the sale ends! A friendly reminder that every passholder will need to take a new season pass photo due to our new software. Stop by the business office to get your pass printed and get ready for Opening Day!

Last night’s snowmaking crew from left to right: me, Tommy and George
Last night’s snowmaking crew from left to right: me, Tommy and George

 

The Power Pass Family Adds Another Colorado Ski Area!

Earlier today, James Coleman, managing partner at Pajarito and our collective of ski areas, announced the addition of Hesperus Ski Area (located 11 miles west of Durango in Hesperus, CO) to the Power Pass family. This is fantastic news for not only our passholders but for everyone who enjoys skiing in the Southwest! Here are just a few reasons why:

Power Pass holders now enjoy unlimited access to night skiing. Located south of Purgatory and just minutes from downtown Durango, Hesperus is the only resort in our collection of ski areas to offer night skiing (evening operations extend until 9:00 p.m. Mondays – Saturdays). It’s no secret that our managing partner, James Coleman, is all about making skiing more accessible for everyone. This mountain allows anyone in the Four Corners area to ski all day at Purgatory and then well into the night at Hesperus.

Plus, in addition to its 26 trails, Hesperus is only the second mountain in our Power Pass family to offer tubing!

Hesperus Ski Area
Photo credit: Scott DW Smith

New Mexico Pass PLUS and New Mexico Pass holders now have unlimited access to Colorado skiing. Not only do these passes allow you to ski or ride everyday at Pajarito and Sipapu, but you can now have unlimited access to Hesperus, too!

The marketer in me can’t help but point out that our season passes are on sale through September 30. For the lowest available pricing, purchase your pass online here! Also, payment plans are still available now through November 15!

Hesperus will also join the Power Pack and Power Card – if you know you want to ski but aren’t ready to commit to a pass, be sure to check out these discount cards, available for purchase at our ski shows!

We’ve been busy getting ready for Opening Day. On the mountain, crews are finishing up routine maintenance and training in preparation for our November 25 opening. The lodge, deck and railings have received a fresh coat of Pajarito blue paint. We hope you’ll join us on the deck for Ullr Fest on October 1st to celebrate the coming of winter.

Deck at Pajarito
The lodge, deck and railings after a fresh coat of paint!


Ullrfest is October 1st!

Ullrfest Image
Pajarito’s most popular fall festival, Ullrfest, happens October 1st. This event features New Mexico Brewersfest with local craft beers, and live music by JJ and the Hooligans with special guest Bronach, there will also be a Bike and Hike, downhill mountain bike race, disc golf tournament, costume contest and more! Here’s the full event schedule:

Saturday, October 1
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.     Lift Served Hiking and Biking
10:00 a.m.                         Disc Golf Tournament at Camp May
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.   Cafe Open
12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.   New Mexico Brewersfest
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.      Live Music

Sunday, October 2
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.      Lift served hiking and biking
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.    Cafe open

We sat down with the event organizer, Thad Hahn, to get the inside scoop on the event.

Who is Ullr (pronounced “ULL-er”)?
Ullr is an excellent archer, hunter, skater and most importantly skier.

Why do we have a festival dedicated to him?
The ULLR Festival honors ULLR and is a community event in anticipation of bringing a good ski season to Pajarito.

Which breweries will be participating in the New Mexico Brewersfest portion of the event? Are any breweries planning to unveil special fall brews?
Bathtub Row
Blue Heron
Boxing Bear
Chili Line
Enchanted Circle
La Cumbre
Santa Fe
Second Street
Taos Mesa
Tractor
Unquarked Wine

Bathtub Row will be introducing beers produced by their new brewer Nic Boyden.  Santa Fe’s Chili Line Brewery will be back for their second festival, you might have tried out their smoked beers at Summerfest and we will welcome for the first time, Enchanted Circle out of Angel Fire. Watch the Los Alamos Ski Club Facebook page for additional information as we learn more about what the brewers might be bringing to ULLR Fest.

Can you reveal what the glasses will look like?  How do you get a glass?UllrFestSolo
We try to mix up the glasses from Festival to festival and this year’s glass will be a 16 ounce glass SOLO cup.  In order to participate in the Brewersfest you must pay an entry fee of $15, have a photo ID ready and you will receive a glass which includes one ticket.  Tastings are included in your fee, the ticket will supply you with one full pint glass and additional fills will cost $5.00 to the breweries directly (cash only).  The glass is yours to take home.

What are contestants judged on for the costume contest? Any memorable costumes from past events? Who are the judges?
The costume contest will have several categories:

  •       Adult Male and Female costumes – prizes are free entrance to the upcoming Warren Miller Film on November 17th at the Reel Deal Theater.
  •       Group (up to 5) – each contestant will receive a $10 Chamber Check good at any participating Chamber of Commerce Member business in Los Alamos.
  •       Boy and Girls kids costumes – prizes are a free gelato at Daniels Café and Mary’s Gelato.

Costumes are judged by their uniqueness and authenticity.  This year’s judges will be Kim Sherwood and Susan Brockway.

Costume contest
Will any other activities be going on at the mountain?
A disc golf tournament starting at 10:00 a.m. as well as a free bike race (lift ticket and waiver required to participate) conducted through the smartphone app bikeparkpro to record your fastest time during the day.  Awards announced at 4:00 p.m. on the deck.

General Manager, Tom Long, and an Ullrfest-goer from last year.
General Manager, Tom Long, and an Ullrfest-goer from last year.

Any advice for first time attendees?
Make sure to bring cash! ULLRfest is a cash only event and there are no ATMs at Pajarito Mountain. Also, Atomic City Transit will be providing a free shuttle from LAHS leaving every 30 minutes, from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Take advantage of this great public resource! It is fall and the leaves will begin to turn so take advantage of the lift service for hiking and biking and bring a jacket as it could get cold in the late afternoons.  The café has wonderful food and will be serving all afternoon.  No outside alcohol will be allowed during this festival and all dogs are required to be on leashes within the festival boundaries and are not allowed inside the lodge.

For more information on Ullrfest or Pajarito Mountain, please visit our website.

 

Preparing for Opening Day

Snowmaking Manager, Tommy Long, takes over the blog this week to give a mountain update.

Pajarito’s opening day is scheduled for November 25 this year which is only 88 days away! We have been preparing the mountain for winter operations and wanted to update you on a few key projects.

Snowmaking Improvements
We are committed to making improvements to our snowmaking system that will allow for more efficient snowmaking and better snow. Snowmaking improvements are so crucial to our operation because the more sophisticated the overall snowmaking system, the earlier we’re able to get the runs covered and start turning the lifts. In a nutshell this work helps us open earlier than past seasons with a better snow product.

Welding a portion of the snowmaking pipeline
Welding a portion of the snowmaking pipeline

New Water Collection Pump
One of the largest improvements to our snowmaking system is the replacement of  our water collection pump. The old pump needed significant repairs to function at an acceptable level so we opted to purchase a brand new pump from Europe. This pump’s impellers will be instrumental in withstanding sediment content in the water.  The pump impellers are the internal parts of the pump unit that push water through the pump.  These items are the spinning internal part of the pump much like the blades of a fan that push air. These improved features will ensure the longevity of the pump for years to come. The new pump will remain in the same location as the old pump at PS200.

Old water collection pump being removedRemoval of the old water collection pump

Annual Maintenance
Every year we have a detailed list of maintenance tasks to complete before snowmaking begins. A big part of this is lift maintenance. There are a series of mechanical and electrical tests we conduct to ensure the lift is working exactly the way it should. For example, we go through and grease and inspect all the sheave wheels and tower cross arms to make sure they are in good working order.  

Sheave wheels: A metal wheel, lined with a special type of rubber, which either supports or depresses the haul rope.
Tower cross arms:
The horizontal arm on top of a tower, to which the sheave wheels are attached.

Tommy Long on top of a lift Talk about an office with a view!

Beer and Band This Saturday!

We’re gearing up for a big weekend on the mountain! This Saturday and Sunday are lift served bike and hike days and Saturday we will co-host a Beer and Band with the Los Alamos Ski Club. Here’s a full schedule of this weekend’s events:

Saturday, August 20
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.   Lift served biking and hiking
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Cafe open
12:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Bathtub Row Brewing serving beer and wine on the deck
2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.   Trainwreck Blues Band

Sunday, August 21
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.    Lift served biking and hiking
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  Cafe open

To our summer event calendar, please click here.

Beer and Band
Our hometown brewery, Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op, will be on the deck Saturday pouring cold brews and the Trainwreck Blues Band will provide the tunes. Trainwreck Blues Band’s musical style is best described as a blend of blues, old country and classic rock. Click here to learn more about the Trainwreck Blues Band. Plan ahead!
Please remember to bring cash if you’d like to kick back with a cold beer. All beer sales are cash only and there is not an ATM on
 the mountain.  Little girl dancing with her mom                   Cutting a rug on the deck at a past Beer and Band event. Photo: Skip Wecksung.

Hike and Bike
Trails will be lift accessible to hikers and bikers on Saturday and Sunday. Day tickets for bikers cost $25. Day tickets for hikers cost $10. Lift tickets can be purchased at the Pajarito Business Office.

Neal Pederson gives a quick mountain biking update: “A lot of weed eating was done on the trails to prepare for last week’s Los Alamos Enduro Fest Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 2.58.32 PMand the trails are in great shape!  We should be done fixing the new feature on Mother’s Milk that was recently hit by a falling tree.  The mountain has seen a lot of monsoon season rain lately which always turns Pajarito bike trail conditions into Hero Dirt!”

Discover 1,200 vertical feet of downhill, cross country and freeride trails at Pajarito Mountain. The 30-trail system is built and maintained nearly entirely by local volunteers from nearby Los Alamos, NM, and features dirt and North Shore-style trails from beginner to expert. Pajarito Mountain Bike Park is a two-time Top Five winner of MTBparks Riders’ Choice Awards for the Southwest region.

Photo courtesy of Instagrammer @ribbonsofdirt.

 

New Features for this Weekend’s Bike and Hike!

Riders can expect two new mountain biking features at this Saturday and Sunday’s Bike and Hike events. I sat down with Neal Pederson after last Wednesday night’s raking and trail maintenance to see how the trails are looking for this weekend. Here’s what he said:

PM: What are the two new features and where can riders find them?

NP: Alex, Colin and other trail crew members built the rocket launchers (pictured below) at the top of Red Dog. (Click here to see a video of the trail crew partaking in some product testing.) Take Aspen Lift to the top, go west on Aspen for Trouble until you get to Mother’s Milk, take Mother’s Milk down until it crosses the lower Road 0, cross the road and take a left at the fork to get on Red Dog.

rocketlauncher
New “rocket launcher” features on Red Dog. Photos by Neal Pederson

IMG_4868

PM: What trails should bikers be sure to hit this weekend?

NP: “Mother’s Milk” and “Red Dog” are riding really nicely and are the trails we’ve done the most work on.

PM: Where else has your crew been working?

NP: Sidewinder, Chupacabra, and Natural Selection were recently weed eated and raked and are in excellent shape for the weekend! Sidewinder was barely recognizable on the last Bike and Hike weekend and is now riding better than JR.  The new Rocket Launcher’s on Red Dog are as fun as ever.

13323819_10153725043564227_4582742716914927830_o
Ramon Cervantes rocking the roller on Natural Selection. Photo by Jerry Hazard.

Bike and Hikes
Lift served access to biking and hiking is offered on select Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer. Lift turns from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Day tickets for bikers cost $25. Day tickets for hikers cost $10. Buy lift tickets at the Pajarito Business Office, open on Bike & Hike dates. Pajarito Mountain Cafe is always open for lunch from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Bike & Hike dates.

Pajarito boasts 1,200 vertical feet of downhill, cross country and freeride trails at Pajarito Mountain. Click here to view our mountain biking trail map.

A One-on-One with Grayson Capps

American songwriter and musician Grayson Capps will headline this Friday’s FREE concert at Pajarito, part of the local-favorite Gordons’ Summer Concert Series. We were able to connect with Grayson to discuss his music, his life, and what guests can expect at the 7 p.m. show on July 8. Here’s what he had to say:

gcappsPM: Your work is obviously inspired by your experiences with people and places in the  South. Have you spent any time in New Mexico or Los Alamos? Tell me about that.

GC: It’s been a long time since I’ve been to New Mexico. Maybe 25 years with my first band House Levellers.

PM: If my research is correct, you and your family are incredibly talented: several of your songs appeared on the soundtrack of the film A Love Song for Bobby Long (which starred Scarlett Johansson and John Travolta), and not only was the film titled after your song of the same name, the movie was adapted from a novel written by your dad. Did your dad encourage you to become a songwriter? Who are some of your music heroes?

GC: I was inspired early on by a local man in Brewton named Fred Stokes. He had a lovely low cigarette whisky soaked voice and played an old Martin guitar, mostly old old country songs.

PM: Along those same lines, I understand your wife, Trina Shoemaker, is a producer, engineer and mixer with three Grammy Awards under her belt for her work with Steven Curtis Chapman and Sheryl Crow. You two seem like a pretty powerhouse music couple. Do you work together often?

GC: Trina records and mixes all my music. She is a powerhouse genius of a woman, a complete inspiration to be around.

PM: You’re not only a powerhouse music couple, but you’re a rock ‘n’ roll dad. How is music a part of your family?

GC: Music is always going around the house. Either I’m practicing or Trina’s mixing. It’s what we do and my children are very much a part of it.  Being a dad has changed me for sure, but I know for the better. The way I was going at it before I don’t know if I’d have paced myself enough to be functional now.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 9.17.13 AM

PM: After Katrina, you left New Orleans to live in Nashville, and within the last few years, you’ve returned to Alabama. How is it to be back home? Is it hard to leave and come to a place like the New Mexico desert? 🙂

GC: Home is great. I love the coast of Alabama, but traveling is in my blood. Having a solid home helps me enjoy coming to a place like Los Alamos.  I am really looking forward to spending some time in New Mexico.

PM: I saw where you provided vocals, guitar and harmonica on Paradise Right Here, which has been described as “an all star collective” featuring you, Will Kimbrough, Anthony Crawford, Corky Hughes and Savana Lee.  This album was just released this year. Are you working on anything else?

GC: Yes and I wrote several songs on that record that I will be performing on this tour. I am currently working on a new solo record.

PM: You’re a part of the Gordon Summer Concerts, which is a very popular concert series here in Los Alamos, and you’ll get the center stage at our ski resort. Our community loves these events, where they can bring their families, spread a blanket on the lawn and listen to some good music. What can those who attend your concert on July 8 expect?

GC: Well, I tell stories through my songs, so I hope to take folks through a sonic and visual journey through the Deep South while my guitarist Corky Hughes will help the journeys transcend to the ether.  We are super excited to be invited to Los Alamos and hope to have a mutual magical time with everyone there.

Grayson-eblastIf You Go
The music begins at 7 p.m.
Be sure to bring a lawn chair, a blanket and your dancing shoes!
The Cafe will be open during the concert!

About Grayson Capps
Born of the Southern literary tradition, Grayson Capps possesses a profound poetic wisdom and marries it to steamy front-porch blues and open road Americana. Capps’ husky, whiskey-soaked vocals bring to life the down, but never out, characters who reside in his songs. Greasy slide riffs and finger picked steel guitar create the foundation for stomp-on-the-floorboard grooves, sanctified funk, earth grown soul and gospel refrains. For more information, visit www.graysoncapps.com.