Friday, May 31, 2013

May 31?

Can it really be May 31? We ended up with 10" out of that storm.  I went out for a ski tour this afternoon.  It was still a bit chilly.    It hardly looks like tomorrow will be June.  The skiing was quite good today.  That little, tiny slush puddle is Lake Reveal.  It should be just about right by June 7, 8, and 9. After 4 wintry days, we are heading back to spring and summer.  The weekend looks sunny and warm with highs approaching 60 F. I am picturing a lot of Hawaiian shirts and bikinis.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dark Skies Over Pali

Another typical spring day at A-Basin.  The only thing typical about a spring day at A-Basin is that you never know what to expect.  This morning we had 4" new.  It snowed off and on throughout the day.  Now the dark clouds are building just before dark.  Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Let's Extend The Season

You know it has been a tremendous spring.  It was snowing again this morning.  There has been a lot of discussion about staying open longer.  As you know, we are going to be open seven days a week through Sunday, June 2.

Well, it is official, we are going to extend the season.  We will close for four days, Monday through Thursday, June 3-6.  We are going to reopen for three days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday June 7, 8, and 9.  We will have top to bottom skiing on Black Mountain Express and Lenawee Mountain Chairlifts.   The chairs will open at 8:30.  BMX will close at 2 PM and Lenawee will close at 2:30.

Come join the fun.  Lake Reveal is rearing its head.  There will be music on the Black Mountain Lodge deck with plenty of BBQ to go around.  Most importantly, don't forget about that famous Arapahoe Basin SUMMER skiing.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Alpine Race Training and Development

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) is the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding.  It is the parent organization of the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing. At A-Basin USSA recently held a development camp for many of the top 14-18 year old alpine ski racers in the country.  From 6 - 9 AM, athletes were training on GS and Super G courses on the Upper Mountain. This opportunity gave many athletes and their coaches a chance to train with the USSA coaching staff.  Personally, I always enjoy watching these athletes grow and prosper.  And they know how to turn a ski.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Winding Down Zuma

It is like saying good bye to a friend for a few months.  Monday, Memorial, May 27 will be the last day of the season for Montezuma Bowl.  While we started a bit late back there, we sure finished strong.  As I look back in time, I remember good ski seasons, I remember good storms, I remember good days.  Sometimes I even remember that incredible run.  I made a post on April 15 about a great ski day.  The entire day, skiing with Kay and her friend Annie, was absolutely incredible.  I will always remember that first Schauffler run in Zuma that day.  It dumped all day.  Every run was great.  West Zuma opened in the afternoon.  Incredible. But, that first run on Schauffler, OH MAN was it good.  Snow going over my head.  Feeling nothing but powder under foot.  That is a run I will always cherish.  We had a special 104 days in Zuma this year.  That Schauffler run was over the top.  Can't wait until next season.

Summit County's Premier Festival

That Dark Spot

That dark spot is the first hint of Lake Reveal.  I skied out in the middle of it and jammed my ski pole in the snow.  The snow was quite soft and I hit water about 6-10 inches below the snow surface.  It won't be long now.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

It's Not Lake Reveal, But............

For some reason I cannot explain, there is still no sign of Lake Reveal.  The are, however, plenty of other signs of water on the hill.  These photos were taken at the bottom of Slalom Slope.  Looks like pond skimming to me.  I am seeing more and more people slogging around the base area with their boots full of water and their faces full of smiles.  As kids, we always wanted to play in the water.  Nothing has changed.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Base Area circa late 40's

Check out this old photo of the base area.  It shows the original single chairlift which opened for the 1947/48 ski season.  I am not sure what the buildings in the photo were.  Perhaps they are the original Shelter and Ticket Sales facilities.  The hairpin on Highway 6 is clearly visible at the top left of the photo.  I think the bottom terminal is situated about where our current rental shop is.  You gotta' love the vision Larry Jump and the Founding Fathers had.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Still Great Coverage

Yesterday morning I said Lake Reveal has to pop.  Diligently, I headed up the lifts for a peak.  You know what I saw?  Nothing but snow.  I am still amazed how extraordinary the coverage is.  Maybe with Saturday's heat and sun we will see some water pop then.
Lake Reveal (or lack there of)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Summit Stage

Right now the Summit Stage is running the Swan Mountain Flyer on Saturday and Sunday only through Sunday, May 26.  The Swan Mountain Flyer provides bus service between Breckenridge, Keystone, and A-Basin.  The bus runs hourly from 7 AM to 5 PM The bus leaves Breck at 20 minutes after the hour, leaves River Run at Keystone on the hour, and leaves A-Basin at 15 minutes after the hour.  For more info go to:

Festival of the Brewpubs

This Sunday, May 26, A-Basin will be hosting the 12th Annual Festival of the Brewpubs.  With great weather forecast, the event should be an exceptionally fun affair.  Come early and get some great skiing and riding in.  After touring the mountain, put the ski gear away and join the Festival.  Chef Rybak will have "Street Food" stations scattered about the base area serving up up sliders, tacos, and turkey legs.  Ten Colorado breweries will be offering samples of local beer from noon until 4 PM.  Hardscrabble, a Colorado blue grass band, will entertain and bring the scene to life.  Be sure and separate your skiing and your sampling.   If you don't have a designated driver, we encourage you to ride The Summit Stage.  More details are available on our website.

Good Morning Arapahoe

Not a bad view to start the day.  My desk has been in worse places.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How Long For Zuma?

Tim and I took a few spins in Zuma this afternoon.  Wow.  After 8" the last three days, the skiing and coverage was better today than it was Saturday.  Almost winter-like on the Larkspur break-over, then smooth, sweet spring skiing.  Not grabby at all.  Looks like we have warming temps with a few showers the next couple of days.  Saturday should bring sunny skies and temps around 60 F.  We will have to see what those warm temps do in Zuma.  I know it will be open through the weekend and we will give it our best for June 2.  

Have I  mentioned Festival of the Brewpubs on Sunday?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Candid Conversation on Extending the Season

As it always does, closing day generates a lot of discussion.  We will be open until at least June 2, our scheduled closing day.  It is still difficult to pin point whether we will extend the season or not.  I can tell you we would "like" to extend the season.  To do so, the snow needs to hold up and people need to continue skiing.  We need to generate a bit of business to stay open.  Typically, when the snow is good, people go skiing.  The numbers part works itself out.  Figuring out the future of snow can be difficult.  We had a week of very warm weather then we just had three days of cool weather. HMMM.  It really is hard to project snow conditions weeks from now.

So, here are some thoughts for you.  We will be open 7 days a week through June 2.  If we do extend beyond June 2, the decision will be made close to June 2.  If we do extend, it will be for long weekends, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  I am hoping we can extend for 1 or 2 weekends.  Staying open until July 4th seems very, very unlikely.

I really enjoy people being excited about the possible late season.  The intrigue and anticipation is really fun.  I do, however, want to give everyone as clear an impression about what is going on as I can.  As soon I know whether or not we are going to extend, I promise I will let you know.

Back To Winter

I had just fully resigned myself to the idea that spring was here to stay.  It felt like the snowfall was over.  Wrong.  6" over the last two mornings.  It is snowing right now.  We should see somewhere between "a few" and "several" more inches by tomorrow morning.  Never underestimate the weather up here.  This makes the June 2 decision that much more interesting.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Another Spring Day

This was just another spring day at The Basin.  I actually skied all morning.  We had a good freeze last night. The snow was just perfect as it softened.  Took several runs in Zuma Bowl on Columbine and Shining Light.  That is a fun place to ski.  The Lower Mountain was really good too.  Bumped into some old friends and enjoyed a great lunch at BML.

The 80's sensation, 6 Million Dollar Band, played all afternoon in the base area.  They had a tremendous following.  Lots of neon.  I think I spent the 80's wearing jeans and flannel shirts.  The colors today were very vivid.  People were dancing their hearts out and having a great time.  I saw one of those DEVO flower pot hats. Taylor H from our Lift Operations Department is the new proud owner of a shiny, black New Belgium cruiser bike.

I didn't quite understand the big boat down on The Beach.  Don't worry those guys in the bottom photo are with me.

Friday, May 17, 2013

New Belgium Bike Giveaway

This is a quick reminder for those of you  that have been playing the New Belgium Bike Giveaway game.  If you filled out and turned in your punch card for New Belgium beers in The 6th Alley, tomorrow is the giveaway day.   Someone will ride away on one of those beautiful, custom made New Belgium bikes.  Very cool.  If you haven't been playing, I am sad to say it is too late to start.  At 5 PM we will be drawing the lucky punch card out of a bucket.  You have to be present to win.  Don't miss it.  I am fairly certain you have a good chance of winning.

If you haven't been playing the game, don't worry, tomorrow will still be a great ski day.  The spring skiing is sweet and you can rock out to the "Six Million Dollar Band."  We will be serving up sliders and more out in the base area.  Come join the fun.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Spring Splash

Well, not quite spring splash time yet.  Lake Reveal is in the upper, center part of the photo.  It is hard to tell in this picture, but I think the snow is receding.  We will see that pond soon.

I skied in the late afternoon today.  It was really good.  The last few days have been a bit sticky late in the day.  I am not sure what the difference was today, but my skis were really gliding.  I really enjoyed today's slush skiing.  Great turns on Columbine, Lenawee Face, and Dercum's Gulch.  Even found some water to slide through on Wrangler.

I will keep you posted on Lake Reveal.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mountain Update

I have a few more updates for you.  Today was the last day for Pallavicini and Molly Hogan Chairlifts.  Molly's Magic Carpet is also done for the season. The Pika Place teaching conveyor will be open through at least Sunday.  Norway Lift will be open Saturday and Sunday.  Black Mountain Express and Lenawee Chairlifts will be open until the very end.  We will keep Montezuma Bowl open as long as we can.

The quality of skiing on the steep stuff really deteriorates when the temps are this warm.  East Wall, The North Side, and West Zuma are now closed.  The best skiing in late May and June is usually found in places that are compacted the most, either by skiers, or, even better, by snowcats.  Some people really like the deep slush late in the day.  Me, I love skiing that early morning corduroy just after the sun has been on it and the top inch is soft.  Great for carving turns.

No sign of Lake Reveal during my morning ski.  It has to pop out any day now.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


More snow nerd stuff.  Actually, the attached links bridge my two favorite passions, snow / skiing and river running.  The first link details streamflows for most major Colorado rivers and creeks.  The second link specifically details flows on the Snake River.  Water on the frontside of A-Basin drains directly into the the North Fork of the Snake River which drains into the Snake River.  Water in Montezuma Bowl drains directly into the Snake River.  This link is for a gauging station named "Snake River near Montezuma, CO".  The station is on the main stem of the Snake just below its confluence with the North Fork.  In the 72 hours from midnight on May 10 to midnight on May 13, you can see streamflow tripled from 20 cfs (cubic feet per second) to 60 cfs.  You can see that streamflow really increases during a warm day until about midnight and then drops off a bit as night time temperatures cool off and snowmelt decreases.  It is interesting right now that each day's peak flow is higher than the previous day's peak. Clearly, water is on the move.  These are good clues for the snowpack and a great planning tool for your next river trip.,00060

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Pali Trail Closed

I never like giving this message, but the Pali, North Glade, and West Zuma gates are closed.  Each spring, as temperatures really start to warm, we become concerned with water running through the snowpack creating unstable snow in the very steep terrain.  Well, that time has come.  We have instrumentation buried in the snow and our patrollers have spent a great deal of time digging and looking at the snow. The water in the snow is quickly approaching a condition that guides us to close these areas.  In addition to the instruments and the digging, we have several other indicators.  For the next several days, The Basin will barely hit the freezing levels.  High temperatures over that period will be near 60 F.  Runoff in the Snake River appears to be sharply increasing.  The newscasters are warning us of flood potentials and possibly wild fire danger by the week's end.  Good clues and the hard data tell us the water is on the move.  We will be keeping a close eye on The East Wall and MGD.

Don't let this totally bum you out.  We still have plenty of awesome skiing left.  We will keep Pali Lift open a bit longer.  Black Mountain Express, Lenawee Mountain and Zuma Chairlifts will be open until June 2 (at least).  Our Saturday May Concert Series is going strong.  The Festival of the Brewpubs is May 26.  With these temps, Lake Reveal will pop out soon.  The Adirondack chairs at Black Mountain Lodge are the perfect lounge site as we roll into bikini season.  There will be plenty of Colorado bluebird days.  The Beach is jamming.  There is no place like Arapahoe Basin in May and June.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

May Concert Series - High Five

It is definitely spring now.   I can tell because High Five played today during bright sunshine and quick bursts of spring snow.  These guys were awesome.  The vibe was just right.  They definitely have a strong following.  We were serving up BBQ in the base area and folks were loving the show.  Beautiful day.

Join us next Saturday for the "Six Million Dollar Band", the ultimate 80's experience.

Still no luck spotting Lake Reveal.