An Update on 2022-2023 Season from Tom Long



As you’ve seen the snowfall on the mountain, no doubt many of you are asking the question, “When will Pajarito open?”

The answer is just as soon as we can. Pajarito relies almost completely on natural snowfall. We need about 16-18” of snow to get many of our runs open.

What is the mountain doing to prepare for when the snow comes?

 Our staff is currently working with the minimal amount of snow that we have received. Our mountain operations team is working on trails that have some coverage with compactor bars behind the snowcats compacting the snow. 

Why doesn’t Pajarito have reliable snowmaking?

Pajarito’s snowmaking pond relies solely on spring run-off water to fill the pond. Last season’s run-off was very minimal, so collection of water was not very much. 

With good summer rains we were able to mitigate any evaporation and gain additional water in the pond. Our best estimate is 700,000 to 750,000 gallons of water is available for snowmaking. 

This amount of water is insufficient to make enough snow to cover an entire run but will work for critical areas like high traffic areas, loading and unloading of the Beginners Chairlift and loading area of the Aspen Chairlift. We’re testing our existing snow guns and anticipate making snow on these critical areas soon in anticipation of natural snow. 

 How can Pajarito get snowmaking?

The solution to reliable snowmaking is the construction of the pipeline. Mountain Capital Partners in conjunction with the Forest Service and Los Alamos County have the pipeline design completed. 

The NEPA process is complete and approved. Los Alamos County and the Forest Service are working on the Special Use Permit along with the construction plan. The pipeline will provide a reliable source of water not only for snowmaking but for fire fighting as well. All the components for the construction of the pipeline take time; the USFS, Los Alamos County, LANL and Pajarito Mountain are all working together for the funding of the Jemez Mountain Fire Protection pipeline.

We’re committed to providing you with updates on the mountain, and will be providing weekly updates on social media.

Think Snow! — Tom Long, General Manager, Pajarito Mountain