Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Bit of a Storm

After another stellar day.  Some clouds moved in late afternoon.  The forecasts are a bit mixed on this one, but we ought to get a few inches by Tuesday morning.  Another big day for ski patrol out on the hill.  Lots of foot packing from Scudder to Lower International.  I just observed many people enjoying their last run in The 6th Alley.

Double Down Pass Reminder

Just a reminder, tomorrow, December 31 is the last day to purchase the 2-year Double Down Pass for $499.  If you already own an A-Basin pass, you can upgrade to the Double Down pass for the difference from $499 to whatever you paid already.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Great Sunset

The weather today was just as forecast.  Cold in the morning, then warming into the 20's for a spectacular crisp mid-winter day.   The Ski Patrol footpacked Pali from East Avenue to the left side of The Face.  It seemed like everyone skiing or riding today was having a good time.  And we finished it off with a bright and colorful sunset over the The Ten Mile Range.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Basin Images

Another beautiful day of skiing.  While it might not have been the warmest day of the winter, the snow was just perfect.  The cat drivers and patrollers continue to widen the trails on the Upper Mountain.  We   have shifted from those early season strips of trails to having more of that wide open A-Basin feel.  Norway is now open and was skiing really well about 2 PM.  Upper Wrangler (The Landing Strip) is also open now.  Saturday is forecast to be a clear sunny day with highs in the upper 20's.  Sounds like a good day to manage the ski area by wandering around.  Enjoy the photo of Humbug by Scott Carlson.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Zuma Bowl Tour

Skied Montezuma Bowl for the first time today.  While not ready to open yet, the snow back there was impressive.  Over the summer we built several more permanent snowfences.  Last week the Ski Patrol erected about 30 portable fences.  All the fences have done well catching snow.  There are some snow drifts at the top that the cat drivers are going to start pushing around.  I will keep you posted on the progress back there.

The skiing was great on the front side.  The Pali Lift opening was a big hit.  It snowed lightly all day and continuously kept the snow surface soft and fresh.  Very cool day.  Days like this seem to just fly by.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pali Lift Opens Thursday

OK, two bits of good news.

First, today, Wednesday, Grizzly Road, Upper Slalom Slope, and Powderkeg will be open from noon to 3 PM.  Skiers and riders can access that terrain with a 5 minute hike from the West Wall saddle.  I did ski both Grizzly Road and Upper Middle Chute this morning.  Grizzly was the perfect groomer and Middle Chute was powder.  High marks for both.

Second, tomorrow, Thursday, Pallavicini Lift will open for the season.  The lift will initially access Grizzly Road and the West Wall.  As snowfall conditions allow, there will be periodic openings on Slalom Slope, Radical, and eventually Standard and 13 Cornices.  The lift opens at 9 AM weekdays and 8:30 AM weekends and holidays.  The current holiday lift times are applicable now through New Year's Day.

It is always good to have Pali Lift open.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Morning

Today is a beautiful Christmas morning.  New snow.  Great skiing and riding.  Spectacular lighting. Dramatic views.  Very special people.  Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa at The Basin

I always knew Santa was a skier, but this was the first time I saw the Elf out there ripping it up.

Shhhhhhh, it is snowing today and it looks like we are in for a white Christmas.  From all of us at The Basin, Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Avy Dog Trading Cards

The Ski Patrol made these groovy Avalanche Dog Trading Cards. The front side has a photo of the dog and pertinent facts.  The back side has some ski safety tips.  I think we will be handing them out to kids in the Snowsports School, during Ski Safety Week, and other special occasions.  I think they are pretty cool and  I bet I end up sneaking a few of them to adults also.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Prepping for the Next Storm

Today is a good start to the Holiday Season.  Blue skies, great snow, and a lot of people having fun.  The Ski Patrol keeps moving forward.  They did some avalanche and explosive work in West Zuma Bowl.  They continued with the ski packing and ski cutting on Slalom Slope, Powderkeg, Radical and moving towards Standard and 13 Cornices.  Late yesterday they had big impacts in North Glade and the Pali Lift Line area.  Let's hope we get some of that white Christmas morning.  The crew is impacting the snow in a very positive way and is ready for that next storm.

Dave Camara Photo

Check out this Dave Camara photograph taken last night.  Wow.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Lots of smiles out there today.  Had my first crepe of the season at Black Mountain Lodge, The New Yorker, pastrami and red potato salad.  Delicious.   Plenty of good soft snow out there.  Humbug is always a treat.  Any direction that the wind blows lays a soft sweet layer on that trail.  This time of year Humbug is some entry level couloir skiing.  A narrow gully, but not so steep.  Really fun to ski.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Legend's 4-Pass

I try not to do too many pure advertisements, but this is one.  The Legend's 4-Pass is 4 days of skiing for $158.  Last Friday we extended the Legend's 4-Pass for another week.  Tomorrow (Friday) is absolutely the last day it is available.  Just a heads up, if you have a friend that hasn't bought some type of pass yet, this is a pretty good deal.

It Keeps Getting Better

Another unbelievable day.  Skiers and riders enjoyed Cornice Run and the West Wall.  We opened Lower Wrangler for beginners.  A bunch of stuff is just a lot wider.  Lenawee Parks will see an expansion with West Gully and Dragon. We are going to start nibbling away on Slalom Slope in the coming days.  Molly's Magic Carpet will open Saturday.  And it is getting warmer.  The visuals today were over the top.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New Trails

Another great day at The Basin, although just a tad chilly.  It was old patroller week with Tim, Rob, Patio, and I spending much of the last 2 days trying to keep up the with Ski Patrol as they worked on opening terrain.   Needless to say, we had a lot of fun and hopefully we didn't slow them down too much.   Lenawee Parks, Humbug, and Powerline all opened today.  Really good skiing in all 3 places.  The Ski Patrol did some directed skiing on Cornice / West Wall at the end of the day.  We will see more of that there tomorrow.  I do like skiing powder.  It looks like we have a few sunny days in store with much warmer temperatures.  I think the next 3 days are going to be those picture perfect, bluebird Arapahoe days.  The next storm may roll in Sunday.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Today was tremendous.  We had 9" new and 16" from the storm.  More is heading our way tonight and tomorrow.  It was a big day for the ski patrol.  They were prepping trails for opening and doing a lot of avalanche work.  There was plenty of ski cutting, packing, and explosives work.  We saw several very small slides, a decent sized slide in South Chute on Slalom Slope, and a HUGE AVALANCHE on Pali stretching from Main Street to the 2nd Alley.

The snowcat drivers have done a bunch of packing all over the mountain.  Tonight should be another big night for them.  Our next trails to open will be Wrangler, Lenawee Parks, Humbug, Powerline, and Cornice Run/West Wall.  We may see some of those trails open Wednesday.  As you have seen in the past, we may open a trail for a couple hours to let the snow get packed.  We then may close it for the evening and let it set up and stiffen up over night.  Just a tip, take it for what it is worth, but I would ski here Wednesday and pay attention to where the ski patrol is working.

9" New Today

It looks awesome.  I will get you an update after I have been on this hill.  This is a game changer.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


So far so good.  About Thursday we started thinking the forecast looked pretty good.  The storm cycle started out OK, not great but OK, with A-Basin reporting 2" new each of the last two days.  Yesterday, it snowed much of the morning and the sun poked its head out a bit in the afternoon.  It has been snowing heavily much of the afternoon today and the forecast looks even better.  If the next few days happen as forecast, we could be entering a big transition time for lifts and terrain.  This could be a pretty good holiday season.  I have the feeling those first face shots are coming soon.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Happy Campers

We had 2" of new snow at report time this morning.  It has been snowing lightly, but steadily since.  It looks like we are going to keep plugging away with these storms a little bit at a time.  The place looks fantastic this morning.  Great photo below of some employees have fun on their days off.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Good News for Green Skiers

We have some good news on the green skier front.  Lower Sundance is open.  We do have green skiing from the top of Black Mountain Express to the base area.  I still encourage never-ever skiers and riders to start on Molly Hogan.  Be sure you have that lift and trail mastered before you head up the big lift.  Also, we are adding Ace's Kid's Park in the Molly area.  There will be a couple of super easy entry level boxes down there to give aspiring park riders their first go.  Lastly, tomorrow at  11 is the "Official Grand Opening of Pika Place" (that is one groovy conveyor lift).  Come join us.  It is a great time to bring that friend or relative up for the first time.  And, once you drop them off in the Snowsports School on Molly Hogan, you can enjoy our great snow.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Good Forecast

Pretty good looking forecast for the next few days.  I had another good afternoon tour on the hill.  The Ski Patrollers are really covering some ground right now.  They have been ski cutting and foot packing in Lenawee Parks, West Wall, Slalom Slope, Exhibition and a few other spots.  The work they do this time of year becomes a great foundation as storms roll in.  I know the incoming storm will favor the SW, but we are still forecast to get 6-14" the next 72 hours.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What's Next?

What is in store for us?. The next trail to open will be Lower Sundance.  I expect that to happen late in the week, probably Saturday.  That trail will be open using both natural snow and man-made snow.  All of the previous openings have been primarily with man-made snow.  In our various water agreements, A-Basin is only allowed to divert water for snowmaking until the end of the year. Despite this season's challenges, by the end of December, we will have made snow on about 90% of the areas we normally make snow.  There are places it is a little thinner or a little narrower, but generally I am pleased with what we have done considering the available resources.

From here on, new terrain will open with natural snowfall.  The next major trails to open will likely be Wrangler, Lenawee Parks, and Cornice Run/West Wall. A good number to keep in mind is a 20" natural base.  Once we cross that approximate benchmark, we usually start seeing these trails open.  It is hard to predict exactly when that will happen.  If we scored on the high end of the forecast this weekend and have favorable winds, additional terrain openings aren't far away.  We will give it our best shot.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Never Tired

I never get tired of the views from this place.  Went out for a few runs in the afternoon just as the sun was breaking through the clouds.  The green, white, and blue makes for some striking contrasts.  If you haven't been here the last few days, you'd be amazed at how good the snow is.  The natural snow is a beautiful thing.

This afternoon I met a woman from Bogus Basin near Boise, ID.  She was very complimentary about not just the mountains, but the employees and skiers and riders that hang out here.  She said the culture here reminded her of her home mountain.  While I have never skied Bogus, I have heard great things about it.  She said she felt at home here.