Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Master Development Plan - Accepted

The White River National Forest has accepted Arapahoe Basin's 2012 Master Development Plan (MDP).  The plan, in its entirety, can be viewed on our website at the link below.  The new plan consolidates information from previous plans and introduces new proposed projects including a zipline tour, a surface lift to access Montezuma Bowl, increased snowmaking reservoir storage, and lift served skiing in The Beavers. 

Please remember that acceptance of the MDP does NOT approve any of these projects.  Quoting myself, "Acceptance simply means we have a pretty good plan that appears consistent with the appropriate rules, regulations, laws, and policies."  In the coming months we will initiate the environmental analysis and approval process.  That process includes completion of an Environmental Impact Statement.  A-Basin stakeholders will have the opportunity to review the proposal and be a part of the public process.

I encourage you to read the entire document.  It is long and loaded with information.  Just reading bits and pieces will not give you the full picture.  Like always, I want to hear from those people affected by the plan.  Please share your thoughts and ideas  I want to hear all your comments, the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

http://www.arapahoebasin.com/ABasin/mountain/master-development/default.aspx

35 comments:

Ron said...

Hey Al,

In my opinion I think the Beavers has got to happen first to act as a draw to yalls area and then make the smaller moves,Not a particularly big fan of the Zuma surface lift but guys like me can still hike it, Overall great plan and I'm very excited about the Abasin future!

~Ron

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!!! Any idea on timelines for the projects? Will they come after the environmental impact study?

Really what I am asking is do you have a timeline on the timelines.

Thanks again and congratulations!!!

Anonymous said...

I think that you guys should keep the Norway lift. It serves as a good back up for Lenawee when it is really crowded

Anonymous said...

What is the Beavers?

Chris W. said...

Any thoughts about parking? With a significant (and awesome) terrain expansion, I'm sure you'll be drawing bigger crowds (I guess that's pretty much the point). It seems to me the existing lots often fill up as it is and there's not much room to expand. Is a multi-level parking structure in the cards? (probably not) What are the other options? I guess busing in from some location down the road.

Chris W. said...

Note to self: read the linked document before commenting on it. I see a great deal of analysis has been done on the parking question on page 73. I still think the parking garage would be cool though.

Anonymous said...

I love A-Basin, it's my favourite smaller resort!

Improvements are looking good - I didn't see anything that would turn A-Basin into a monster like Breck or Vail thankfully!

The tree skiing available at the Basin would be much improved with the addition of the Beaver lift - hopefully with good snow conditions it might stay open longer than Montezuma bowl? Only having one or two runs open last year because of the bad snow made the experience a little boring after a whole day of the same run over again...

Anonymous said...

Al,

Please please please dont put something like a zipline at the basin. We, the purist skiiers and boarders, love the basin for its no BS. Don't change that, just improve it by fast tracking projects like the beavers.

Ron

valeda scribner said...

I'm sure you've put a lot of thought into this, but i agree with other readers that the short hike currently required to get onto Zuma bowl is what keeps the crowds down, makes me love the basin and is perhaps the soul reason i bought a pass. Add a lift and i believe that area will lose its charm and you'll probably lose me as a passholder :/

Matt said...

Congrats, A-basin!

Initially I was opposed to the Zuma surface lift because I was envisioning it taking people up the short hike to the Zuma Cornice. Really it is just getting people up the slight grade to Montezuma Bowl, right? No problem with that.

Love the idea of the Beavers Lift. Looks like some nice steep terrain. Coming from a guy that likes glades maybe more than any other type of terrain, I think it would dramatically improve A-basin's advanced/expert offerings with regard to variety. This is the most exciting part of the document to me. Would want to hear from environmentalists that the Canada Lynx wouldn't be kicked out with nowhere to go though. Beautiful cats.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_lynx

Like the potential increase in snowmaking capabilities. Makes sense to me.

Would like to see Norway Lift remain, personally.

Zip Line Tour looks cool.

Overall, it looks good to me and I was impressed with the document. I don't think anyone wants to see A-basin turn into Disney. Keep it the soulful local/expert's hill of the area that it already is. I think the MDP seeks to do that.

Andy said...

Thanks for sharing this document, and asking for opinions. The transparency of yourself and the ski area are quite impressive, and appreciate everyone. Just another reason why A-Basin does it right. Anyways a few thoughts on the proposed changes:

1) Beavers expansion – This overall is a good idea and will complement Zuma well. The more northerly aspects will help, it low snow years or when Zuma gets sun-baked on the south facing aspects. Of course, part of me has mixed feelings about opening up that area, but it already gets so much backcountry usage (and people going in there that I’ve seen without proper gear or knowledge) that it makes sense to open up and control this popular back/side country area.

2) Zuma surface lift – I initially thought this was going to go up the ridge to Zuma Cornice, which I think is a terrible idea, but then realized it is just on the flats on the access catwalk to Zuma. I am indifferent, since I certainly do not need it, but I guess there are some that woud like the option. I guess it may help get a few others over there, but I hope anyone attempting to venture into Zuma at least has the ability to hike/skate/walk/pole across the catwalk.

2) Norway lift removal – I don’t like this idea, as I’m concerned this will put too much pressure on Lenawee (as the traverse leading to the lift from BML) during peak times. I understand that many of the older Yan lifts in the area are getting harder to find parts and support, but hopefully this lift (and the other Yan’s Pali & Molly Hogan) can be kept running as long as possible. I would not count on the Beavers eliminating a bottleneck mid-mountain during peak times. Lenawee is obviously the way to get to Zuma and lap the eastern side of the front mountain. Norway is great for the western side of the mountain.

3) Zip lines – I am not a fan of this idea either, as it adds more unnatural features and visual clutter to the mountain area. This will add more overhead lines, and people zooming overhead on beginner and intermediate terrain and a potential distraction instead of paying attention to people on the trails. The zip lines don’t seem to fit with the vibe of A-Basin; leave that stuff for the other Summit County resorts or Disneyland.

Skiingbronconut420 said...

Keep Norway, great secondary like previous comment stated. Turn the blue on zuma into a black ( moguls) put a a rope tow instead of a carpet. Put BIGass signs Stating zuma is EX double black and have some real gnarly deadly rocks! ( keeps the non hard cores out, and we get a tow to the top. Win win ) screw the zip line, ( previous comment) you are a SKI area!!! They can zip line somewhere else!!!! Heck ya on the beavers, and would gathier(oops) be any safer or less " must know someone in the know" to go down??

Craig said...

Al,
So I read the entire 83 page proposal (yeah I am a nerd) but it all seems like a well thought out plan and will not take away from "The Legend". Good to see in chart 4.1 that indeed the typical A-Basin skier is high on the bell curve. We always knew it but good to see it scientifically proven. :)

The one thing that I didn't get (because it is out of scope of the document) is the process that you still need to go through to begin the implementation.

When will you know the timelines?
How do you prioritize the specific projects?

Thanks,
Craig

Anonymous said...

Or if Norway removed addl capacity/speed for LenaweeAfter

Matt said...

Please consider keeping Norway

My preference is to ski that side of the mountain

I dislike all the flats needed to cross to Lenawee.

I think Lenawee will be over taxed as it is used to access Zuma, and the Beavers as well as the whole upper mountain.

Please Please consider keeping or upgrading it.

Please

Andy said...

Thanks for sharing this document, and asking for opinions. The transparency of yourself and the ski area are quite impressive, and appreciate everyone. Just another reason why A-Basin does it right. Anyways a few thoughts on the proposed changes:

1) Beavers expansion – This overall is a good idea and will complement Zuma well. The more northerly aspects will help, it low snow, when the wind is howling up Zuma, or when Zuma gets sun-baked on the south facing aspects. Of course, part of me has mixed feelings about opening up that area, but it already gets so much backcountry usage (and people going in there that I’ve seen without proper gear or knowledge) that it makes sense to open up and control this popular back/side country area.

2) Zuma surface lift – I initially thought this was going to go up the ridge to Zuma Cornice, which I think is a terrible idea, but then realized it is just on the flats on the access catwalk to Zuma. I am indifferent, since I certainly do not need it, but I guess there are some that would like the option. I guess it may help get a few others over there, but I hope anyone attempting to venture into Zuma at least has the ability to hike/skate/walk/pole across the catwalk.

2) Norway lift removal – I don’t like this idea, as I’m concerned this will put too much pressure on Lenawee (and the traverse leading to the lift from BML) during peak times. I understand that many of the older Yan lifts in the area are getting harder to find parts and support, but hopefully this lift (and the other Yan’s Pali & Molly Hogan) can be kept running as long as possible. I would not count on the Beavers eliminating a bottleneck mid-mountain during peak times. Lenawee is obviously the way to get to Zuma and lap the eastern side of the front mountain. Norway is great for the western side of the mountain. Would a lone fixed-grip triple really provide sufficient capacity on the upper mountain?

3) Zip lines – I am not a fan of this idea either, as it adds more unnatural features and visual clutter to the mountain area. This will add more overhead lines, and people zooming overhead on beginner and intermediate terrain and a potential distraction instead of paying attention to people on the trails. The zip lines don’t seem to fit with the vibe of A-Basin; leave that stuff for the other Summit County resorts or Disneyland.

Chris W. said...

There is no way that the Zuma surface lift will lead to significant over crowding on the back side. All it does is remove an inconvenient schlep for blue-run people to access the blue runs under the Zuma lift. I think maybe some people think it goes up that little hump you have to climb to get to the cornice.
I guess I am an impure skier because I for one am really looking forward to trying the zip line.
I have to admit that I will miss the Norway lift a little because on crowded days at least I know I can jump on it right away and avoid the lines. But I guess that fact alone tells you it is not worth the expense of keeping it running.

John said...

Dear Al,

I have seen many great improvements over the past few years at A-Basin. Having had one heart attack, a triple by-pass, and a few stints the last two years, I for one would appreciate the help getting to Zuma. And unlike the 80% that really enjoy working their butts off coming down the hill, I enjoy the scenery. The wind blowing over the peaks is always a "National Geographic" moment. Adding a zip-line may add to summer income ( Are you thinking global warming?), but a winter distraction. Too bad you cannot eliminate the jets flying over. Looking forward to seeing you the week of Nov. 10th.

John - Minnesota

Matt said...

I would like to amend my original position on the Zip Line Tour. I said it looked cool. Should have left that part alone, since I know nothing about zip lines. Never been on one.

I was under the impression that the lines are not permanent and would not be up during ski season months. I also figured there wouldn't be too much in the way of permanent structures for the whole deal.

If it is going to be a montrosity that significantly takes away from the natural setting and scenery, please put me down for "no thanks".

Andy said...

Some additional thoughts about the removal of Norway, that concern me on "busier days/weekends"
1. BML will continue to be the main break, lunch, and meeting spot on-mountain. This means that everyone headed to both the Beavers and Zuma will likely use Lenawee. It appears they also could access the Beavers via Pali, but that will not access the upper part of the new terrain as would Norway

2. Removing Norway will continue to funnel more traffic on lower Dercum Gulch and Wranger over to Lenawee. This area is is SLOW zone that as it is, even when Norway is open has people going too fast to carry the flats over to Lenawee, mixed in with slower traffic.

Anonymous said...

Don't really understand the fuss about removing Norway, it's hardly open anyways. Just an added expense. I would rather see resources used on a new lift and new terrain as highlighted in the plan.

BrownJuan said...

Thanks for: your communications; your taking of comments; your transparency.

My opinions:
(1) Beavers area would be a great addition. Perhaps some additional tree thinning/removal below the Pali chair entry point leading down to the Beavers chair, rather than a single skinny trail alone. Overall, Beavers is the primary and most important addition, and should receive the bulk of effort and money.

(2) Zuma Surface lift will serve its function without being overly intrusive. It's a "Magic Carpet" buried in the snow at ground level, right? Assuming the uphill cat trail would be wide enough to have both uphill skiers and the magic carpet, side-by-side?

(3) Remove Norway lift? Not so sure of this one. Assume this is motivated by money reasons trumping guest service. Can Lenawee become a quad chair to compensate?

(4) Zip line. NO! NO! NO! Has nothing to do with snow; nothing to do with skiing/boarding; nothing to do with winter. Motivated by money. No! No! No!

Al, in my view, you and your team have been good stewards of A-Basin, both physically and spiritually.
Change is hard, change is inevitable. BML & BME are both good upgrades. New and different? Yes. Take away from A-Basin spirit? No. Zuma expansion was a great addition, universally loved. Beavers would be just like that as well. Stick to winter, snow, terrain, and skiing and boarding. NO ZIP LINES!
One last question: What the HELL is burgoo anyway?

Alan Henceroth - COO and Vice President said...

Burgoo is chef talk for stew.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me Al, that in the Beavers you will name runs Ward, June, Wally and Theodore.

Bumpy said...

It's great to see so much input.
To me, A-basin is and always will be a ski area, not a ski resort. Zip lines are fun and exciting, just like a-basin. Resorts have golf courses.
As for naming runs in the beavers Ward, June, Wally, and Theodore, how can that not be fun !
Thanx Al

Anthony Link said...

I like most of the ideas that are proposed, and the comment for the naming of runs in the Beavers.

If the zip line can be done in a manner that doesn't significantly take away from the scenery then go for it. I know blending the towers in to the existing terrain will be more of a challenge but if they're tucked in to sections of trees then they might not be that distracting and make a zip line more appealing to the masses. For the people who oppose this idea because of it's scenic impact, how would a zip line be any worse than chair lifts, snow cannons, avalanche cannons, ski patrol stations and mid mountain lodges. This wouldn't be a roller coaster or water slide, zip lines are synonymous with the outdoors and trees. I see this idea as just another way for more people to enjoy the mountains that we know and love instead of turning the area in to Disneyland. If people in the 1940's thought the same of a tow rope as folks are today of a zip line we wouldn't be enjoying A-Basin today on our skis and boards. This addition to A-Basin might not be something I would use but I see it being a way to possibly raise extra money for improvements that I will use.

I don't agree with completely removing the Norway lift system. As previously mentioned the crowds on the Lenawee are already large enough on heavy volume days.

Additionally I would like to see an option for overnight parking brought back. I know one of the major reasons why this privilege was revoked was because of the incidents that happened the night before the last "Cardboard Derby". I also know there are quite a few avid A-Basin fans (including myself) that make use of truck campers, vans, and their car's back seat who would like not to make the drive to another area for the night just to drive back the next day. Personally I would be happy to pay a nominal fee for a seasonal overnight parking pass. Passes of this nature could not only increase the revenue for A-Basin but also maintain some sort or accountability for those who park overnight.

Anonymous said...

I like most of the ideas that are proposed, and the comment for the naming of runs in the Beavers.

If the zip line can be done in a manner that doesn't significantly take away from the scenery then go for it. I know blending the towers in to the existing terrain will be more of a challenge but if they're tucked in to sections of trees then they might not be that distracting and make a zip line more appealing to the masses. For the people who oppose this idea because of it's scenic impact, how would a zip line be any worse than chair lifts, snow cannons, avalanche cannons, ski patrol stations and mid mountain lodges. This wouldn't be a roller coaster or water slide, zip lines are synonymous with the outdoors and trees. I see this idea as just another way for more people to enjoy the mountains that we know and love instead of turning the area in to Disneyland. If people in the 1940's thought the same of a tow rope as folks are today of a zip line we wouldn't be enjoying A-Basin today on our skis and boards. This addition to A-Basin might not be something I would use but I see it being a way to possibly raise extra money for improvements that I will use.

I don't agree with completely removing the Norway lift system. As previously mentioned the crowds on the Lenawee are already large enough on heavy volume days.

Additionally I would like to see an option for overnight parking brought back. I know one of the major reasons why this privilege was revoked was because of the incidents that happened the night before the last "Cardboard Derby". I also know there are quite a few avid A-Basin fans (including myself) that make use of truck campers, vans, and their car's back seat who would like not to make the drive to another area for the night just to drive back the next day. Personally I would be happy to pay a nominal fee for a seasonal overnight parking pass. Passes of this nature could not only increase the revenue for A-Basin but also maintain some sort or accountability for those who park overnight.

Anonymous said...

I know I speak for a pretty quiet minority, but I'm strongly opposed to the Beavers expansion. That area is prime sidecountry powder skiing, and any sort of lift back there completely ruins it.

I understand there's a desire for progress, and an increase in skier numbers, but one of the things that makes a-basin great is the backcountry gates and the skiing accessed from them. I know that's not for everyone, but that's the point.

I can't say that I won't ski at a-basin anymore if the expansion goes forward, but I will surely be a less frequent visitor.

Anonymous said...

Goes without saying there needs to be a run in the Beavers called "Winter Bush."

There's about a 90% chance this post doesn't get approved. :-)

Anonymous said...

When the "Beavers Lift" is closed due to high winds, which will surely happen on a regular basis, will access to the area be closed? Or will skiers still be able to ski the area and hike back?

Anonymous said...

I would have stopped running norway long ago.. The cost to keep the chair maintained and running has to be not even close to worth it.

People who want to see norway stay probably aren't thinking of the costs.

Hopefully, in the future, there will be some way to increase uphill capacity at lenawee as riders/ skiers increase.

Anonymous said...

It is sad that many people are more interested in what is best for themselves instead of the abasin community as a whole.

I highly look forward to a lift in the beavers, It would be great to increase the accessability and safety of this terrain

Anonymous said...

I think that there are enough kooks at the Basin already who can't even ski the Pali. Now it makes sense why they are trying to sell a two year pass. If you think that every ski area in America should be the same, you should go back to your ski area management or marketing class and learn how to profile your customer...

Papa Muntz said...

Is there a ski area management class?

I love when the kook card gets played.

"Bull Mountain, don't go changin'"


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