Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Draft Environmental Impact Statement

This past Friday the Arapahoe Basin Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for several proposed projects was released. The document outlines our proposal for the Beavers and Steep Gullies, surface lift to Montezuma Bowl, summer activities and future lift replacement / retirement plans. Currently, we are in a 45 day public comment period. To review the entire DEIS and to comment go to the link below.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=41664

While this is a major step forward, we still have several months of process to go. Once the comment period is over the Forest Service will review comments and work with several other government agencies preparing their final decision. The Final EIS and Record of Decision will follow, perhaps this Summer or Fall. Thanks to all of you that have supported us. Exciting times.







18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Disappointed not to see Pallavicini and Lenawee replaced with high-speed (express) quads. I realize the culture of A-Basin is not to be "high speed", however looking out 20 years, this is really a must have and the investment should be made.

Anonymous said...

My opinion: I'm okay with the surface lift, the challenge course & canopy tour and replacing Molly (and replacing Pali if it stays a double). But I'm worried about the impact the Beavers expansion will have on the Pali lift line. And even though the DEIS says increased skier visits due to the Beavers expansion is well within A-Basin's carrying capacity, I don't really agree. Parking, A-frame and Black Mountain Lodge are already extremely busy on weekends, so adding more visitors won't help.

Also, removing Norway will make Lenawee lift line longer and make it tougher to get to west cornice (although the DEIS says folks migrating to Beavers will lessen the impact to Lenawee lift).

I understand that A-Basin is a for-profit business, and that businesses always feel the need to expand. But I'm worried what this expansion will do to the hard core A-Basin fans who helped make it what it is today.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure high speed quads have significantly lower wind tolerances than fixed grip lifts. With how windy the top of the mountain can get, it makes a lot more sense to keep things fixed grip.

Anonymous said...

Abasin is for everyone not just "hard core" fans. Its a beautiful place that should be shared. The Beavers will be a great addition. Tree skiing isn't for most people so I doubt it will attract that many more people to the Basin. Furthermore, the lack of lodging and relative amount of terrain at the Legend will always help temper crowds. Don't worry, be happy. Gonna be awesome to have lift access to that new terrain!

Greg Nixon said...

This is great news. Agree that the added terrain will only enhance an already unique and very enjoyable skiing experience that is without the wall to wall lodging at the base of the mountain, which is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Why not have the Beaver lift base at "The Bald Spot" rather than clear & grade a new bald spot so near? I would love to see more explanations of choices on layout/changes. Safety will be primary improvement on defacto skied region. A ski resort that will accommodate all but not be primarily for
all is desirable in our multiple ski area market! Natural segregation of skier ability is a safer choice.

Anonymous said...

And the beat goes on

Anonymous said...

And the beat goes on

Anonymous said...

Yes, agree with "The Bald Spot" guy above. That is a good question as it would seem from the picture that is a natural place to put a lift.

Anonymous said...

I can think of plenty of places that have express lifts that are pretty windy. I would even be ok with the same up hill capacity, just a faster lift ride (maybe fewer chairs?) To spend a net new CapEx investment on a fixed grip (i.e. the beavers) would result in at least 20 years of no upgrades. Hoping Al can comment on the fixed grip vs express and why they went that way? What is the cost delta?

BrentBewick said...

Anyone who doesn't want to hike literally two minutes on flat terrain should not be able to access zuma.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm probably in the minority (at least in the small segment of "al's blog commenters" but I'm opposed to the expansion. There is an intangible value to the image of a-basin; part of it's core character, that comes from small things. Like the fact that the pali chair is still a slow fixed double or campers in the parking lot. The sidecountry terrain is part of that. Places like the beavers or steep gullies don't get skied by that many people, but the fact they are there and accessible adds to the character of the basin. It's the locals with avalanche packs in the pali lift line, the people hitchhiking on the road. While skiers numbers may increase, and more people will get access to that terrain, it's still a loss because a-basin becomes less of a unique "character" and more like it's neighbors down the road.

If you're measurement is skier numbers and revenue, places like a-basin always lose and places like vail or breck always win. Most people go to a-basin because it's not a "how-many-people-can-we-move-up-and-down-the-mountain" mentality. Numbers on paper don't tell the story of the ski area, and I don't think they should determine it's direction.

I'm not saying the expansion turns us into brek or vail, but I think the decision making process is pointed in that direction. More people, more terrain, more lifts. More isn't always better. Arapahoe basin still has a soul. Let's not ruin it.

Rudi said...

The bald spot is uphill from the main drainage of the beavers. I'm not sure it makes sense to limit the already stingy vertical of the area over clearing of a few trees.

SUPER EXCITED FOR THE EXPANSION...Should give a few more options mid season as we wait for east wall to open. Montezuma is nice, but its not really that steep back there.

Fine with the fixed grip as well. its only 1k vert anyway, i and most can use the break.

Anonymous said...

Abasin's soul and character is majestic beauty, which will never change even with a few more skiers. There will still be locals with avalanche packs in the pali lift line and people hitchhiking on the road. Things will change a bit, but all-in-all it will be an improvement.

RaflW said...

Count me among those who do not want to see the Norway lift removed. I understand that skiers may fan out more with new terrain, but on weekends and peak spring days, Norway plays an important function, including reducing traffic on Wrangler where it funnels down to the Lenawee load maze.
Norway also makes access to West Wall, King Cornice, etc much easier, thus also reducing skier load on Lenawee Face and Dercum's Gulch, which are high traffic areas that will stay busy even as new terrain opens.
Removing Norway really is my absolute least favorite part of the expansion plan.

Anonymous said...

Agreed

Anonymous said...

Agree with not getting rid of Norway. I honestly don't ride it that much, but I see it's function. If you ditch Norway you almost have to go with a quad at Lenawee. Not sure why that's not even on the table.

Totally agree with Pali staying fixed 2-person, but Lenawee should be upgraded for sure.

Wes Calton said...

Looks like some really great additions that preserve much of the flavor that makes A-Basin so special. Wish there could be a few more high speeds added so it would be easier to convince some of my friends to head that way with me but sometimes its good to be alone, right? Really enjoy this blog, thanks for all the work that goes into it.