Fortune Friday

Posted on March 17, 2023

Happy Fortune Friday!

I sincerely hope you all made it through the intense weather we went through over the past couple weeks.  Finally, the sun and warm spring weather have decided to make an appearance and we couldn’t be happier! The past two weeks have been unlike anything I can remember over the past 44 years – multiple atmospheric rivers brought heavy snow at higher elevations, and rain at the lower elevations and lake level. This led to a ton of ice (including over a foot of rime ice on upper mountain lifts), 101’’ of additional snow, crazy winds (recorded 114mph at the top of Tamarack), and plenty of other challenges that come with re-opening a resort after yet another big storm period. If you’ve seen pictures on our social channels, you know what I’m talking about! Last Friday and Saturday, we made the call to proactively close the resort, and it proved to be the right decision as the City of South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County, and the State of California went under a State of Emergency. While we hate being closed, we also have a responsibility to give our staff time to deal with their personal needs in a situation like this.  

Unfortunately, the storm also resulted in additional power issues on the Nevada side of our mountain. The high voltage power that services Dipper Express and Dipper Patrol was down for several days, but thankfully, with the help of the Heavenly team our local utility companies were able to make the repair late last night. We have some additional work to do today but we do expect to open both Dipper Express and Tamarack Express by tomorrow. We are actively working Liberty Energy on the Dipper power issue to come up with solutions to make it more reliable in the future.  

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, it has felt like Groundhog’s Day every week this winter... and here we are again as we look ahead to the upcoming weather forecast. Another possible atmospheric river is now anticipated early next week... the 12th AR of the year! We’ll get hit with another round of extremely high winds, ice, and heavy snow, so I ask for your continued patience as we work to safely address forthcoming impacts.  

While these storms have been frustrating and stressful, I do want to say there are always silver linings. Sprinkled between recent storms have been some really incredible powder days that our guests were able to experience, thanks to the incredible around-the-clock work from the Heavenly team. With the snow we have experienced, our team has had to dig out lifts all season long – often times, it is the same lifts that are impacted. Most recently, there have been a handful of lifts like Canyon, Sky, Comet, and Olympic that our team was able to get open thanks to relentless digging. Plus, they’re making a ton of progress on Tamarack and Mott. I really can’t say enough about my gratitude and admiration for this team. Their outstanding commitment, and never-ending passion and positivity is why Heavenly is so special. I am so proud to call them my colleagues. They are the ones that make it possible for our guests to have so much fun on our mountain, even amidst a season with incredibly challenging weather conditions. I hope you will share your gratitude with our team, they really have been working so hard. 

Speaking of fun, how about that Samuel Adams Air and Après event on March 3? Good thing we rescheduled it, because conditions that evening were near perfect – only to be followed by another storm the next day! It was so cool to see that jump on World Cup take shape over the span of about a week, and then see our mountain become a canvas for incredible athleticism (and some pretty cool images + video, too). To see the athletes who participated doing what they do best was really a sight to see. This was a new event for us and we are so happy with how it turned out, and we hope you were able to check it out.  And up next - The Gunbarrel 25 on March 25!  It should be a great event with all the snow we have on the ground. 

I also want to quickly address the traffic and congestion situation on Ski Run Blvd., specifically on Saturday, March 4. On the way out of the resort, several accidents occurred due to difficult road conditions, making Ski Run Blvd and surrounding roads impassable. The City of South Lake Tahoe Police and Public Works Departments immediately got to work addressing and clearing these accidents, eventually clearing the road as well – we owe them a huge thank you. The weather that caused these accidents ultimately worsened, prompting us to close the following day. In total this season we’ve closed 4 days due to extreme weather. These decisions are always in the interest of the safety of our team members, guests, and community. Everyone has been incredibly understanding, and our team here is extremely grateful.  

Enjoy this weekend and as always, it’ll be a nice break in the weather. Please be safe as this next storm cycle approaches us and keep an eye out for more updates and announcements coming soon! 

See you on the slopes,