Sunday, May 31, 2015

54 Inches In May

54 Inches of snow is good in any month. 54 inches of snow in May is outstanding. As you guys know, May 2015 has been outstanding. BTW our record snowfall for May was 82 inches in May 1995. That was the year we stayed open until August 10.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Zuma Skiing

I found just fantastic skiing on Columbine, Upper Larkspur, and Shining Light in Montezuma Bowl today. We are going to hang on to this terrain as long as we can. With the soft snow, it is getting a little tricky for the snowcats to climb out of there. Today was the first real "summer-like day" that we have had in May. The snow and wet and cool weather has been good for the Earth, but I know today's sunshine brought out some smiles.

Friday, May 29, 2015

International Freestyle

This spring we have had a number of freestyle mogul teams and athletes training here. Arapahoe Basin has a long history of being a training ground for these guys from the Rawles Brothers and the 1980's Pro Mogul Tour to 1990's and 2000's stars Donna Weinbrecht, Jonny Moseley, Toby Dawson, and Jeremy Bloom to Whistler Olympic medalists Hannah Kearney and Bryon Wilson. Scott Rawles is here now as the Head Coach of the Chinese National Team and Toby Dawson is here as the Head Coach of the Korean National Team. The US Team spent a couple of weeks here in the middle of May. Several regional teams from Summit, Vail, Steamboat, Telluride, and Aspen also got in some "spring training". I am a big fan of watching these athletes jump and ski.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Terrain Update

I have been receiving many terrain questions. While you can find detailed information about open and closed terrain on our website, this is my best estimate about what skiers and riders can expect for now:

Sad News

Pali Lift and the North Side is closed for the season.

The East Wall is closed and its re-opening is doubtful.

Zuma Bowl from Black Bear to the West including Lower Larkspur is closed for the season.

Happy News

Columbine and Shining Light in East Zuma Bowl are open and we will try and keep that open through June 7.

Nearly all of the Upper Mountain from the Cornice Run to the East Wall Boundary is open.

The Lower Mountain from Ramrod to Wrangler is open.

Extended Season

Upon re-opening June 12, Black Mountain Express and Lenawee Mountain Chairlifts will be open. The skiing still remains outstanding, especially in areas receiving heavy compaction like the groomers. Interestingly, we (especially me) spend much of the season trying to ski in areas that see the least use. Ironically, as we get into these summer conditions, the best snow is often found in areas with the very heaviest use, like the groomers.

I hope this helps answer many of the questions I have been receiving.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Let's Extend The Season

We are going to close for 7-day a week operations on Sunday, June 7. We are going to re-open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday June 12, 13, and 14. Black Mountain Express and Lenawee Mountain Chairlifts will be operating. Specific hours and other information can be found on our website.

Will we go beyond June 14? Maybe. We would like to, but let's get a little closer to mid-June and see how conditions are. Skiing into the summer is always an adventure.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Discussion - Pali and Zuma Closing

A few have suggested we close Zuma Lift and keep Pali Lift open. These two decisions are made independently. We are not sacrificing Pali Lift to keep Zuma Lift open.

Zuma Lift has a couple of great groomers still open. Most of the avalanche terrain there is closed. Lift ridership back there is still good. There is no rule saying we can only have a certain number of lifts open. Zuma being open has nothing to do with Pali being open or closed.

Pali is closed now. We are not expecting any notable freezes this week. Don't confuse cool, gray weather with good, cold freezing weather. Temperatures by the weekend are forecast to be in the fifties. While I know there are still a few people that would like to use the lift, we know from experience that ridership there drops significantly as we get to these late spring conditions. As the weather warms and Pali becomes less desirable to ski, fewer people ride the lift. There comes a time to let her go.

I know many of us don't want to see Pali close. The excitement and passion regarding this lift is way cool. It is certainly my favorite lift - anywhere. Its closure for the summer has nothing to do with Zuma Lift.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Brewfest Was A Hit

The weather was great. The music was great. The beer was great. The skiing was great. North Pole was great. WOW, what a beautiful day. This was our biggest Festival of the Brewpubs yet. Eleven breweries shared their beverages. Up on The Perch (deck above the bar) we tried something new offering a intimate package of beer tasting and food. Funky Johnson had the crowd wrapped around their finger. Thanks to all our friends and the A-Basin staff that made this happen.

It was fun !!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pali Closing

OK, the last day for Pali Lift and terrain will be tomorrow, Monday, May 25. This past week, with all its snow, was a tremendous bonus for the North Side. We have had a great season over there. Thanks to all of you that helped make it happen.

We have a lot of crazy, fun skiing to go.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Last June We.........

Today was a fun, exciting and challenging day at The Basin. It snowed much of the morning. We had an hour + lightning closure and then the sun came out and people had a great time. The "Wash Park" band played in the afternoon outside and "Local Folk" played in The 6th Alley.

For the last ten years we have targeted the first Sunday in June as our closing day. This year is no exception. For three of the last four years we have extended our season beyond that first Sunday and re-opened for one or more weekends. When we re-opened, we did so Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. For a lot of reasons, the 3 day a week program works very well.

With the wet and cool May, this year is obviously looking good for an extension. We are going to get past this Memorial Day weekend and take a good hard look at all the issues including snow conditions, weather forecast, business levels, and general skier enthusiasm and vibe. Mid-week-ish look for an announcement about our plans beyond June 7.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Top Of Pali View

Snow, clouds, and sunshine made up the day here. The skiing continues to be excellent for late May. I finished the day with a fun run down The Face. Really nice, soft, spring snow.

Another Morning On Pali

I was a little concerned this morning when I woke up down valley and it was raining. By the time I got to The Basin it was snowing. I took some spins on Pali, The Upper Mountain and Montezuma Bowl. We reported an inch new and had another inch since report time. You know, just your typical late May snow day at Arapahoe Basin.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


While these pictures are 2-3 weeks old, they are a reminder of the great hiking season we had up the Willy's Wide staircase. That is a lot of high quality skiing accessible from a simple (though difficult) hike and traverse. It is much bigger that it appears from below. Once you reach the very top of the staircase and move North on the traverse you cross Willy's Wide, Snorkelnose, Booger, and Corner Chute. All of these chutes offer excellent skiing and were especially good this season.

Willy's Wide



Corner Chute

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

North Pole Hikers Today

Really, May 20?

Another incredible day. This morning I was told the upper 2/3 of the mountain was skiing like winter snow. The grooming was top notch and The Spine was in fine form. We even had a good North Pole hiking/skiing session. People were loving it. I was out from about 1 - 3 in the afternoon. By then we had soft, spring snow and it was still tremendous.

Pretty soon we are going to have to start talking about whether we extend the season beyond June 7.

Pano shot about 6:30 PM this evening

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Little Longer For Pali Lift

Great news. With all this snow, we are going to keep Pali Lift open for a little bit longer. We are not sure how much longer, but today will not be its last day. We have had 15" of snow the last 3 days, 41" so far this month and people have been loving it. Thanks to all of you that came out to enjoy the fun.

And it is snowing hard right now.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Festival Of The Brewpubs

Sunday, May 24 is the Arapahoe Basin Festival of the Brewpubs. 11 Colorado breweries will be sharing samples of their products. Funky Johnson will be playing music. There will be lots of food. This is one of those very fun mountain festivals. A portion of the proceeds go to C-RAD (Colorado Rapid Avalanche Deployment) and the Avalanche Rescue Dogs of Colorado. The Summit Stage - Swan Mountain Flyer - will be running between Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, and Breckenridge.

All and all, a great time. Don't miss it.

2014 Festival of the Brewpubs

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Last Day Pali Tuesday

The last day for Pallavicini Chairlift this season will be Tuesday, May 19. A whole lot of factors come into play as we decide when we close this lift. Some of those are weather forecasts, wet snow avalanche concerns, quality of snow surface, ski-ability, amount of public interest, lift ridership, and more. We were going to close it today (Sunday), but there is a reasonable chance for a decent storm Monday night and Tuesday on top of the 6 inches we reported this morning. These might be some of the best Pali closing conditions we have seen. We thought we'd throw in a couple more days of fun in case this storm happens. Enjoy.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Friday Afternoon Storm

Here we go again.

Another Cool North Pole Shot

Here is another North Pole shot that Jack Rosenthal just sent in. This was taken Sunday. He was one of the first guys to make the North Pole hike that day.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

North Pole Image

Casey Day just sent me this photo he took in North Pole today. Very nice. I was out skiing for a couple of hours in the afternoon and found good skiing everywhere I went, especially Pali, Lenawee Parks, and Montezuma Bowl. We might see some decent new snow Saturday.

Brazilian Public Land Tour

I was part of a really special experience today. A contingent of Brazilian Public Land Managers visited The Basin. The group is on a fact finding mission visiting with staff of various US public land agencies. Local and regional Forest Service staff brought these gentleman up for an A-Basin tour. At home, one of their objectives is to create more opportunities for Brazilian citizens to have access to public lands including parks, forests, and wildlife refuges. In particular they were interested in private entities managing tourist operations on public lands. We spent some quality time discussing A-Basin operations and how we interact with the White River National Forest.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hidden Chute

A few weeks ago I received some blog comments and questions about Hidden Chute. Hidden is a short, double fall line chute on the North side of Little Lenawee Peak. The snow in there can be fantastic, but with its Southeast exposure it gets crusty quickly. Many years ago we opened the area briefly. Operationally, it was very difficult to manage. We ended up doing some big cliff rescues. The area is either cliffs or scree and we had numerous issues with skiers triggering rockfall and wreaking havoc on other skiers down below. In the end, we decided the challenges made it too difficult to keep open. While it is a very cool place, we focused more of our energy getting North Pole, Willy's Wide and all the other great hiking open sooner. The Ski Patrol wanders in there a fair bit doing avalanche work to reduce the chance of slides coming down on The Traverse. I don't think I have been in there since my Ski Patrol days.

Hidden Chute (left) and Little Hidden Chute (right)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


David Lee Roth captured these beautiful sunrise images this morning.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Whew, That Was A Day

Today was quite the day up at The Basin. Thanks to all of you that came up this weekend to enjoy the fruits of this 18" storm. I was expecting a busy day and it was even busier than that. I am very appreciative of all of you that choose to make Arapahoe Basin part of your world. Despite the crowds today, the place had that special feel found only with our unique mountain and people. 

Do you think these people were jonesing to hike North Pole today?

The way this is going, people are going to start talking about extending the season.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Another May Day

I particularly enjoy the view of The Summit (top of Zuma, Lenawee, Norway) from The North Pole hike.

The day started out with heavy snowfall. That broke up and the sun came out. Pali opened. The East Wall and North Pole gates opened. The skiing was stellar out there and smiles were everywhere.

We closed the day with a great band, "EUFORQUESTRA", in the base area. It started snowing after their break. The crowd loved them and the snow didn't slow anybody down. Speaking of snow, the forecast for the evening still looks great. Looking out my window, the snow is falling heavily and straight down. 

I suggest an early arrival tomorrow morning. Avoid showing up between 11 and 1. The skiing will be over the top good and our lifts do a nice job of spreading people out.  Plan your arrival prudently.

5" and 12"

Snowing heavily right now with 5" new today.  That gives a storm total of a foot and the forecast today and tonight still looks good.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Hanging On To The Steep Stuff

3" of new snow today. Heavy snow in the morning followed by sunshine in the afternoon. The Pali Gate opened at 10 AM and stayed open all day. The East Wall was open for about an hour. The forecast seems to be solidifying. We are expecting decent snow tonight and even more snow tomorrow and tomorrow night. Overnight lows this weekend should be in the teens. Looks like new snow and cold temps. I am expecting a fair bit of steep stuff to be open for the weekend.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pali - East Wall Re-Opened, But.......

After nearly 24 hours of below freezing temperatures, Pali and the East Wall (southern portion below the Traverse) re-opened today. The sun did pop out and temps heated up in the afternoon. The Wall stayed open all day and Pali was open until 2:45.

Decisions to open terrain in these conditions are made day to day and hour to hour. These decisions are made by the Snow Safety team, not me, not marketing, not anyone else. I know you would love a schedule of when and where openings are going to occur, but we just don't KNOW that right now. What we do know is that the forecast the next few days is calling for snow and, especially this weekend, much colder temperatures. If we get cold temps and get that water locked up and if we get some new snow on top of the old snow........Oh boy, we could see some really good skiing out there. No promises, but I think the odds are pretty good for some more vintage, A-Basin, May powder skiing on the Pali.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Little Damp

Much of the day was snowy. It was a pretty wet, May snow. There is a very special skier that enjoys a day like this and often sports the best smile.