Master Development Plan

Planning For The Future

In 2012, we submitted a Master Development Plan (MDP) to the Forest Service outlining a long-term plan for improvements at Sipapu. Major components of this plan include expansion of the special use permit (SUP) boundary, terrain, and lift development in the expansion area, an additional guest service facility, and a number of improvements within the existing SUP boundary. The MDP was accepted by the Forest Service in the Spring of 2012.

Download Master Development Plan

Here’s what was accepted in the 2012 MDP:

  • Increasing the special use permit area by 924 acres
  • 52 new trails totaling an additional 199 skiable acres
  • 11 gladed runs
  • 3 new lifts
  • Snowmaking infrastructure
  • 1 On-Mountain Restaurant and Guest Services Facility
  • Additional Parking
  • Multi-Season and Summer Activities: Additional disc golf course, mountain biking, climbing wall, bungee trampoline, summer tubing operation, zip line tours, and special evening stargazing

Since Sipapu’s MDP was accepted, we have completed a number of projects within our SUP, including:

  • Installations of Jackalope Lift (formerly Pedro Park Lift)
  • Replacement of Lift #2
  • Trails construction and improvements on Howdy, Beep Beep, East Side, Aisle D, Upper Howdy, Upper Salt Lick, Upper Flower, and Lower Gambler
  • Expansion of snowmaking system on Howdy and upper Loose Caboose

After six years of analyzing and implementing the accepted plan, Sipapu has submitted an MDP amendment to the Carson National Forest Service for acceptance addressing a handful of minor but key changes. As outlined in our 2012 MDP, we would like to pursue expanding resort operations at Sipapu into the area adjacent to our existing SUP boundary. We have re-examined this area to guarantee Sipapu is maximizing the potential terrain. As a result, a slightly different lift and terrain network was designed compared to what was originally planned in our 2012 MDP.

Winter Upgrade Map

Summer Upgrade Map

Here are the proposed amendments:

  • Omitting one trail from the accepted 52 new trails based on the redesign of the new trail network thereby reducing the skiable acres to 196.
  • Adding one additional chairlift and two conveyor lifts (one new and one relocated) to create a lift-served beginner pod
  • The capacity of the resort would decrease. This can be attributed to the different models used to distribute skiers across the mountain.
  • The restaurant and guest service facility at the top of Chair A would increase in size. The vision for the top of Chair A was further developed to become the primary on-mountain winter guest service space and a summer season portal for guests to start their activities.
  • Additional summer activities were added to the plan due to the successful implementation of these activities on National Forest Service lands across the U.S. and market demand.
    • Three activities that were not previously mentioned in the 2012 MDP are the mountain coaster, challenge course, and additional hiking and snowshoe trails.

How will this benefit the Vadito and Peñasco communities?

Based on a preliminary analysis, with full implementation of the terrain and lift expansion, Sipapu expects an increase of over 80,000 visits per winter and an increase of 5,000 summer visits. This is estimated to generate approximately $31 million to the local economy. This calculation assumes direct and indirect economic spending of $350 per person per day, including $275 per person per day for lodging, food and beverage, retail, gas, transportation, other expenditures spent away from the ski resort. If anticipated annual winter daily skier visits an additional 80,000, and assuming $350 of spending, this accounts for $28 million. Summer activities at the resort are projected to generate an additional $1 million per year with an economic impact to the community of $3 million per summer.

With the implementation of the project, Sipapu anticipates hiring additional workers for administration and operations of the resort. Sipapu projects to hire 100 additional full-time season workers and 20 additional full-time year-round workers. This could generate over $2.25 million in new payroll dollars to the local economy. Based on past experience with resort operations, the full-time season workers projection could be closer to 200. Employees would be needed to operate the restaurant, staff lifts and activities, provide first aid, maintain resort operations and general administration. The economic impacts would be fully analyzed in a future NEPA process.

What is the timeline for this project?

Timeline Milestone
Winter 2018
Sipapu submits project proposal letter to Forest Service
Spring 2019
Forest Service acceptance / Forest Service specialist review and evaluation of proposed project / Proposed action development
Summer 2019
Publish Notice of Intent (NOI) / scoping period begins (30-day comment period)
Fall 2019
Interdisciplinary team review / Issues and alternatives identified / review public comments
Spring 2020
Publish Draft Environmental Impact Statement / Begin DEIS comment period (90-day comment period due to Forest Plan Amendment)
Summer 2020
Interdisciplinary team Review / Review public comments / Respond to comments
Fall 2020
Publish Final Environmental Impact Statement, response to comments document and Record of Decision
Winter 2020
Objection Period (60-day pre-decisional objection period)

How do I voice my opinion?
Join John Paul Bradley, Sipapu’s Mountain Manager, for the first of many open houses as he shares our vision for Sipapu’s future. All are invited to attend to provide feedback, ask questions and to discuss the plan.

Open house dates:
Saturday, November 24, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in the Day Room
Saturday, December 29, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.  in the Day Room
Saturday, January 5, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.  in the Day Room

If you’re unable to make it to an open house but still want to share your thoughts, you can get ahold of us in the following ways:

Call:  575-202-4089
Email: [email protected]
Snail Mail:

Attn: John Paul Bradley
Master Development Plan
H.C. 65 Rt. Box 29
Vadito, NM 87579

Download Master Development Plan