Fortune Friday

Posted on December 29, 2023

Happy Holidays and Happy Fortune Friday to all!  

Right off the bat, I’d like to acknowledge the challenge we have had with the weather so far this season. With warmer-than-average temperatures and very little snowfall, we’ve been working hard to make snow when possible, and we’re getting as much terrain open as safely and quickly as we can. Our snowmaking team is truly amazing, and many long-time and experienced snowmakers have mentioned to me that they don’t remember a December with such variable up and down temperatures. This is frustrating for everyone when trying so hard to get our most popular trails and base areas open. Thankfully, we did see a quick storm that got us enough snow (and temps to make it) to be able to open Sky Express and make the important connection from California to Nevada via Skyline Trail. We then added Big Dipper and Orion trails, along with some additional ungroomed terrain in Nevada.

Our snowmaking priorities and progression remain unchanged. We are focused on Stagecoach as our top priority. In fact, we started snowmaking on Olympic Downhill and the top of North Bowl, but hit a spell of warmer weather that has unfortunately slowed those efforts. To get Stagecoach open, we need several consecutive days of cold conditions to allow snowmaking in this area. Our snow guns are in place and will be activated the moment we’re able to, which looks promising starting this weekend. Following Stagecoach, we will focus on opening skiing to the Cal Base Area via Round-A-Bout and World Cup. These areas operate on different pump houses, and we can make snow simultaneously while working on Stagecoach. Once those are knocked out, we’ll focus on speeding up access from Nevada to California via Upper California Trail. When Stagecoach gets open, we’ll shift our focus over to Boulder, North Bowl, and Olympic. In California, we’ll be working hard on Groove, Canyonland, and Ellie’s once Round-A-Bout and World Cup are skiable. When we have the proper temps, we can and will be making snow in both Nevada and California simultaneously.  

All of this is to say – we've got a plan, and the team will be on it the second temps drop. I want to again recognize our incredible snowmaking team with decades of collective experience – the team is fully staffed and fired up (literally, once they switch on the snow guns!), and we can’t wait to get more terrain open for you. Our Patrol Team has also been gradually opening off-piste areas as the snow compacts and is safe to ski and ride on. While it takes a lot of work to set up markers, padding, and boundary lines, it has helped a ton – we now have 582 acres of terrain open.   

One of the things that comes with living in this region is the variability of weather. While it is a slower start, it certainly doesn’t mean the rest of the season will look like this. We are committed to continuing to make snow at every opportunity and will keep you posted as to what the natural snowfall that we do get ultimately allows us to open. We appreciate your patience and support of our teams through it all, and we’re grateful for all of you who choose to visit us.  

I can’t thank the entire Heavenly team enough for their dedication and hard work. The team here is truly exceptional – their passion, dedication, commitment, and focus is unmatched, and I’m grateful to work alongside them. I also want to thank all of you again – your support and constructive feedback has been immensely helpful.  

I hope you have a wonderful New Year and get to spend memorable time with your loved ones. Last season, the New Year brought one of the biggest atmospheric rivers of the season, dropping four FEET of snow on New Year’s Eve. We lost power on the Nevada side for days, and many of us in South Lake Tahoe were stuck in our homes – talk about a swing from where we are now! I bring this up as a reminder that challenges come in all forms, and we’ll get through it. But honestly, four feet of snow sounds pretty darn good right now!  

See you on the slopes,