Monday, June 30, 2014

Yoga - July 13

Yoga on the Mountain is coming up July 13. This has to be one of the coolest events we do all year. Hike up the Argentine North Fork Trail to Black Mountain Lodge where Allison Simson will be leading an uplifting yoga session on the deck. Follow that with a Chef Rybak Spa Luncheon and then wander down the mountain soaking up The Basin Summer.

This event will definitely fill so register on line soon.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Looking Back on 13-14

We have been closed a week now. I don't like to spend too much time looking backwards, but the 2013/14 season will certainly bring back glowing memories. So many things happened. We had a good October start to the season. The A-Frame was quite the mess in October and November, but we made up for it by opening the remodeled 6th Alley Bar and Grill in December. The snow fell steadily all season long. January was great and February was even better setting a snowfall record for that month. The spring continued with good snowfall. I attended every Black Mountain Lodge dinner and following each feast I was still overwhelmed by this little valley when I walked down the hill with a brilliant moon lighting up the mountains. The Beach was, well.................The Beach. Avalanches and rock slides blocked the highway here and there prompting me to say, "Again, are you $%&#*! kidding me?" We managed to get through all those Mother Nature challenges. We had a nice June Summer ski season which brings out some of The Basin's best color.

As I look back, my favorite memories are those February powder days in Montezuma Bowl. Skiing the steeps in MGD and West Zuma, getting face shots every turn and feeling nothing but softness underfoot. Literally, those runs were absolutely as good as it gets. I love it.

Now the skiing is closed. The wedding and event season is firing up. The Kids Center construction is underway expecting to pour concrete Monday. 2013/14 was even more than a really good season. Thanks to all of you out there that made the season what it was. We'll be at it again soon.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


I am a little embarrassed after yesterday's blog. I wrote about plants greening up and flowers popping out. Yesterday's wedding was really fun, but once the sun went down, the temperature nosedived. I rode down Black Mountain Express about 11 PM wishing I had my puffie, beanie, and gloves. A few white things were falling out of the sky. I woke up this morning, looked out the kitchen window and saw a fresh dusting of snow up at The Basin. Today skies are mostly blue and the snows a melting.

Friday, June 27, 2014

First Wedding

The last day for skiing was Sunday and today, Friday, we kicked off our summer season with the first wedding.  The lucky couple enjoyed vintage A-Basin weather with some sun, some clouds, and a quick shower. All the better to make this event even more memorable. Congratulations on this monumental day.

You can see a fair bit of snow melted the last 4 days. The plants are just starting to green up. I expect over the next week or two, we will a massive transformation of this place.The first flowers are showing. I am anxious for the snow to clear off the Argentine / North Fork Trail.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Viking Horns

I guess I knew that closing day would be fun when, by 8:30 this morning, I had seen three different guys wearing viking horns. We had a beautiful morning with a widely held spirit of celebration. The day started out beautifully. Clouds rolled in and by about 1:30 it was snowing on the summit and raining (actually pouring) in the base area. Soon after thunder and lightning closed the lifts. A short time later, the clouds blew out. We re-opened the lifts and finished the season with some fun (wet for the people that crashed in the lake) turns under blue skis.. Time for a 6th Alley celebration. A great finish to an even better season

Saturday, June 21, 2014

One More Day

Today was another fun one. Lake Reveal continues to provide a lot of fun and laughter. I made an observation today, a skier riding switch across the lake has little chance of reaching the other side..........without getting seriously wet first. Just an observation. 

Well, tomorrow is it. Get your last turns in. The final day is always especially fun. Thanks to everyone that joined us this year. Let's finish the season off in a grand style Sunday.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Downloading Black Mountain Express

I was recently asked if we would consider keeping the Upper Mountain open for skiing having guests download Black Mountain Express at the end of the ski day. The answer is, yes we would consider that. In fact, we seriously discussed doing it this year. For this year specifically, High Noon is holding out just about as well as the Upper Mountain and closing both lifts at the same time seemed to make sense. Now each year the snow falls, blows, moves around, and melts a little differently. Will there eventually be a scenario and a season that we download guests on BMX. That answer to that is, almost certainly yes. When, why, and how is hard to predict, but I am fairly certainly that there will be a time when it makes sense to download.

On another note, we are having a beautiful ski day. Check out the sky color. It almost looks "doctored" in this photo.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

No More Extensions - Closing Day June 22

We have finally come to that point in the journey. Sunday, June 22 will be the last day of the season. No more extensions. As much as we really wanted to make it to July 4th., it is time to put 2013-14 to rest. I was reasonably optimistic about making the 4th, assuming we had some cool weather. For a while I thought that storm that hit the Northern Rockies this week would hit us. It didn't. It has been warm. The dust layer isn't helping. The forecast is for above average temperatures for several days. The snowcat drivers took every reasonable step to keep things going. Sometimes the decision to close is very difficult. This year's decision was pretty easy. We will still have some excellent skiing for the coming weekend, but the outlook for skiing next weekend wasn't great. I am usually the last one around this place that says, "It is time to close." Last night I said, "It is time to close."

I hope you can make it up sometime in the next 3 days for some final turns. We will have some fun. 

P.S. This photo was not taken today.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Getting Ready To Re-Open

Took a snowcat tour with Mark LaFlamme this afternoon. We had four snowcats and drivers out on the hill getting ready for the weekend. There were major dozing projects going on in the base area and in Dercum's Gulch.  More snowcat projects are planned for tomorrow. I continue to be amazed at what the cat drivers can do with the snow. I think it may be more artist than operator. Awesome. We are going to re-open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, June 20, 21, and 22. Looks like we will have High Noon, Sundance, Lenawee Face, Humbug, and Powerline. I am not sure if Ramrod will be in the picture. Lake Reveal is getting into prime condition. Black Mountain Express and Lenawee Mountain Chairlifts will be open from 8:30 until 2:30.

Get here early. Enjoy your turns on the summer corn. Grab lunch at Black Mountain Lodge or The 6th Alley. Sip your favorite beverage with family and friends on the deck when the skiing is done.

Widow Maker Debris

Back on February 11, with explosives, CDOT triggered a large slide on the Widowmaker just down the highway from A-Basin. Most of the snow in the debris pile has melted now. The slide has left quite a pile of woody debris. The slide ripped out a lot of trees, most of them 4-8" diameter. There were a handful of large trees that were also destroyed in the slide. Because most of the trees were not very big, one can probably assume that this is not the first time an avalanche this big happened there. That said, trees grow slowly up here and I am guessing those 4-8" trees are at least 50 and maybe 100 years old. It has been quite a while since an avalanche that large ran down the Widowmaker.

Morning Greeters

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Good Freeze Last Night

We had a good freeze last night. The temperature got down to 27 F and stayed there for several hours. As a result, the snow was exceptionally good. I even skied the moguls on Upper Ramrod. The groomed trails were really outstanding and stayed at that "just soft enough" state for hours. It looks like a seasonally cool week ahead so the skiing should be top notch when we open again Friday.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

June 14

Not something you see everyday.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Nice Afternoon Ski

We are still rolling along. We re-opened again this morning. I went out for an afternoon ski. There is lots of beach attire being worn out there. Lake Reveal, while not really a lake yet, is popping out even more. I saw a few soggy people wandering around the base area after lunch. Thanks to everyone that came up this morning. Negotiating the Ride the Rockies crew took a little patience and lots of the messaging out there about the Pass closure wasn't quite accurate. I really appreciate all the effort that today's skiers and riders made to get here. Thank you. Highway 6 is back to normal for the rest of the weekend. We are open the next two days and we will re-open again June 20, 21, and 22.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cooler Weather

This week we benefited from cooler weather. While last week we saw that tremendous Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday warmup, this week was wetter and much cooler. The impacts of runoff have been much less and very little snow melted. The cat drivers were in all day yesterday and will be back at it again today. The terrain this weekend should be very similar to what you saw last weekend with the exception of the closure of Lenawee Parks and Lower Ramrod. I am not sure yet, but the Upper Ramrod bumps may be open.

Our mantra for this summer ski season is, "As long as we have snow and people still want to go skiing and riding, we are going to stay open." Thanks to all of you that joined us last weekend and I look forward to another good weekend starting Friday.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The 6th Alley Bar and Grill - Open This Summer

New this summer, "The 6th Alley Bar and Grill"  will be open Saturdays and Sundays July 5 through August 31. With a modified and slightly fuller summer menu, hours will be 11 AM until 4 PM. A few brunch-like items have been added to the fare. There are all kinds of ways to enjoy this place. Travelling back and forth to Denver (or back and forth to Summit County) stop in for lunch or a a beverage either inside or out on the deck. The Argentine North Fork trail takes hikers from the base area to mid-mountain. This IMBA designed trail is a beauty all by itself and it takes hikers to summer vistas of the classic A-Basin terrain. Gnarly mountain bikers can ride to the summit and down the back side on the Lenawee Trail and loop back to The Basin for a cold one. Hardy hikers can go up the Lenawee Trail and down the front side and Argentine North Fork trail with the last step being onto The 6th Alley deck. Also road bikers can ride Highway 6 to Loveland Pass and stop in on their way down. Whatever your pleasure, out for a drive or an outdoor adventure, stop in for lunch and drink. Those Bacon Bloodys will be waiting.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ride The Rockies

Ride The Rockies is a very special Colorado bicycling event. Each year thousands of riders participate in this six day, several hundred mile event. The route varies from year to year, but always travels through some of Colorado's most dramatic country. Well, this Friday, June 13, cyclists will be riding from Breckenridge to Golden over Loveland Pass. This will add a few challenges to accessing A-Basin that morning. The West Bound side of Loveland Pass beginning at I-70's Exit 216 and Loveland Ski Area will be closed from 6 AM to 10:30. Skiers will have full access to A-Basin from  the Keystone side (I-70 Exit 205 at Silverthorne). After 10:30, traffic should be near normal everywhere.

If you plan on arriving before 10:30, be sure and access A-Basin from the Keystone side and be extra cautious and patient with so many bicyclists out on the road.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Perch

The Perch is the deck upstairs from The 6th Alley Bar and Grill. This has always been a great place to hang out with friends and enjoy the view. The downside of this spot is that it was exposed, windy and a bit chilly. As we remodeled the bar last year, we installed a glass windscreen around the deck, and just last month, we added an awning that covers about 40% of the deck. For those looking for a protected, quiet, out of the way kind of place, The Perch is made for kicking back and relaxing. You can also reserve it for a party or special event.