Sunday, December 31, 2017


Good to see a "Spacin' at the Basin" sticker at the summit of Revelstoke.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Finishing Touches On The Lazy J

The Lift Crew is putting the final touches on the Lazy J rope tow. It has been through its final inspection and just about all of the paperwork is complete. We are fine tuning the grooming around the lift. Smooth sailing into Montezuma Bowl with this Telecorde. And yes, you can skate or walk to Zuma if you don't want to use the tow.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Touring Loafer and Alex and Lower Davis

I went for a very nice tour out in The Beavers this afternoon. Upper Loafer was in excellent shape with one tricky break-over we need to cover just past Beaver Bowl. Alex was just WOW. That was the first time I had skied it with good snow cover since all of last summer's fantastic trail work. Great glade skiing with ideally spaced trees. You will love this one. We finished the tour off with a ski down Lower Alex, a traverse on the Grand Portage and a nice skin up the The Steep Gullies Hike Back Trail.

In an earlier post, I mentioned getting this terrain open will be a little tricky in its first season. We are in that tricky window right now. The Beavers is just about ready to open (much of it is ready). We are still working on the exit route across the Grand Portage and up the Hike Back Trail. The Steep Gullies still have a ways to go, but I anticipate some public Beavers skiing associated with the next decent snowfall. We have some serious fun coming our way.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Steep Gullies Work

The Ski Patrol has been very active working the Steep Gullies and The Beavers. They have been using explosives extensively and travelling through all the gullies. The new tram system has been very effective delivering explosives to very difficult to reach areas. Our snowcats have been actively preparing the Steep Gullies Hike Back trail. We expect to see lots of activity and travel out there in the coming days and weeks. Maybe even some guest travel before you know it.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Another Stunning View and Daytime Uphill Access

Looking North from the top of Zuma Lift about noon was particularly stunning today.

We are now allowing uphill access during the day (most of the time). Users must have an uphill access pass which they can obtain free from Guest Services. While the ski lifts are turning, uphill users must stay on the East side of High Noon between the base area and Black Mountain Lodge. Terrain above Black Mountain Lodge is closed to uphill users while the lifts are operating. Be sure and check the "Open/Closed Uphill Access" sign before heading uphill.

On another uphill note, I have been getting more and more complaints about mean (and pooping) dogs on the hill. Please, please, please keep your dog under control or on a leash. I encourage you to use a little peer pressure on your dog friends with mis-behaving owners. Don't let a few bad dog owners ruin this for everyone.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

3 Feet In Montezuma Bowl

Mother Nature was very kind with this last storm, 35 inches in 5 days. I call that 3 feet. This storm puts us in a good place for Montezuma Bowl. Today I took a tour skiing Columbine and Shining Light and riding the lift out. The snow fences are completely buried. Very good news. The only bad news was that there were a few spots where the wind was not super kind. Overall though, quite good.

The Ski Patrol did extensive avalanche work in West Zuma today. Tomorrow, we will send a snowcat, the Winter Trail Crew and a small army of blue coats to start moving and re-setting all those snowfences. Opening Montezuma Bowl is very much a task of connecting the dots of snow with a snowcat assist and snowfences. We need to patch those wind affected areas. Getting Zuma Lift open is a major priority.

While I won't even dare to project an opening date yet, this is a good and major step. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Happy Holidays - And Lots Of Snow

All of us at Arapahoe Basin are happy to share a little holiday cheer, and especially, a little bit of skiing Pali . Patroller Kremske shows yesterday's spirit during a limited opening on the Upper Alleys, Pali Face, Main Street and East Avenue. Happy Holidays. Imagine what today must be like.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Powder Day On Slalom

There are some specific days or runs that are really special. This morning, skiing Slalom Slope first thing, was one of those times. The Middle Chute of Slalom is typically known for some pretty big moguls. This morning, with 10 inches of new snow and 17 inches of snow in three days, Middle Chute had a very different look. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the sun was right in our faces. The snow was deep and there wasn't a mogul to be found. Perfection. I couldn't bother to take photographs for half a dozen runs so no images of the un-cut stuff. It was a magical morning.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

This Sums Up The Day

11 Inches since the storm started.

Ashley Ojala Photo

Pali Lift Is Open For The Season

It hasn't stopped snowing since my last post about 8 AM. It feels like it is skiing nearly a foot deep.

Pallavicini Lift opened for the season at noon. Right now you can access West Wall, Slalom Slope, Powderkeg and Grizzly Road. Later this afternoon, we may sneak in a few turns on Radical and No Name. With snowfall expected into this evening, again tomorrow evening and, again, during the day Monday, do not be surprised if more and more terrain opens up.

This is my kind of Basin day.

It Was 4 Inches At Report Time, But...........

At 5 AM this morning our Snow Safety Forecaster reported 4 inches of new snow. It hasn't stopped snowing since. Our Base Area crew has been shoveling, plowing and snow blowing for hours. The Lift Ops crew is getting all the lifts ready. The Ski Patrol is already out there ski cutting and packing. The breakfast burritos are ready.

We are in a major transition period. We are expecting the snow to continue all day and into tonight. Sunday we should see a little sunshine, but by Sunday night we are expecting the next weather event to roll in. I can't brag about the grooming today because it is totally buried in new snow. Norway Lift will open at 9 AM and, who knows, if the snow keeps up we may have some afternoon surprises.

I suggest you go skiing.

This will be a very nice holiday.

Friday, December 22, 2017

.......And Pali

Some of that terrain off the Pallavicini Lift is getting pretty close to being ready to open. I skied both West Wall and Grizzly Road this morning. West Wall has some decent bumps and very good snow with a few scratchy spots between the bumps. The snow on Grizzly Road is groomed, although not terribly deep. The snow surface and the skiing there is quite fun.

It won't take much more snow to get Pali Lift open. I will be watching this next storm very closely. Saturday appears to be a snow day.

.....And the grooming on Norway was incredible this morning.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Norway Trail and Lift

We had a beautiful morning with a very thick two inches falling between 5 AM and opening at 9 AM. The sun popped out off and on for a few hours and, through the mid to late afternoon, period snow squalls blew through. Light snow is falling now. Friday should be sunny with snow in play again Saturday.

With our new snowmaking infrastructure on Norway, we have made a fair bit of snow on the trail. The Ski Patrol has led a very effective packing program there to compliment the snowmakers' work. Tonight the snow cat drivers are going to do a major winch project and in the morning we hope to see some very wide corduroy from the Summit to Dercum's Gulch. My fingers are crossed for some good, good skiing. On top of that, look for Norway Lift to open Saturday. It will run weekends and holidays until sometime in May.

The Goats Snow-Meter

"The Goats Snow-Meter" is telling us this storm is off to a good start. We are having a beautiful, snowy morning up here. I encourage you to go skiing.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Snowmaking Bottom of Pali

Wow. The snowmakers are making snow at the bottom of Pali Lift. Why in the heck would we be making snow at the bottom of Pali Lift?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Rise and Shine Rando #4

This morning was Race #4 for the Rise and Shine Rando Race Series. 77 hearty souls took a sinous course up and down and around the ski area. It still blows me away how fast some of these folks can go uphill. Very fun and exciting to watch. We have two more of these races to go on January 9 and 23. You can find more details on the website.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

If It Isn't Snowing.........

We had to endure another stunning, stellar, breath-taking, Colorado bluebird day. If it isn't snowing, it might as well be like this. As much as I like these days, I am ready for some double digit snowfall.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Snowmaking Plan

Our snowmaking is directly related to the flow of the North Fork of the Snake River. We have to maintain a minimum flow and a few other requirements. The higher the streamflow, the more water we have for snowmaking. Interestingly, the lowest flows of the year occur January through March and are much lower than the flows we maintain while making snow.

This season has been a good one for snowmaking. We are allowed to divert water through December 31 each season . By the time we are finished in about three weeks, we will have made about 10-15% more snow than average. For this time of year, the stream still has a good flow. Our remaining snowmaking priorities include Norway, Treeline and High Divide Terrain Parks and The Void. The Void is the shortcut from Ramrod to the bottom of Pali just above Molly Hogan. Once those areas are complete, we will probably fatten up a few high traffic areas.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

High School Yearbook

Someone just shared this photo from Denver's Thomas Jefferson High School 1973 yearbook. Catching big air off the cabin in Cabin Glades back when there was a roof on it. I love the skis, long and skinny and held close with safety straps. Great picture.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Pallavicini Preparation

Here is a pretty good image of Pali including East Avenue, 1st Bowl, 2nd Bowl, 3rd Bowl and the top of The Spine. You can see there are lots of ski cuts. Less visible is the fact that lots of explosives have been used. What is new, is the vertical troughs in the snow put in by the Compaction / Disruption Roller. As more snow falls, the Snow Safety Team will continue to travel heavily in steeper areas impacting and testing the snow. Right now we are very well positioned to receive a good storm.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Summit / Zuma Cornice / Loafer Tour

Last night's snowfall was a very kind 4 inches. I did a walking and skiing tour around the Summit that involved a ski down Upper Loafer (and a hike back out) and a peek into West Zuma at Founders' Ridge. Beautiful. Montezuma Bowl is very white. The Loafer fences are fat. The Loafer dozing is outstanding. The rope is on Lazy J. Lenawee Parks, Norway and Cornice/West Wall were all open. The temperature made it up to the teens, the sky was a bright blue and the sun was warm. What a gorgeous day at The Basin.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Pushing Loafer

The cat drivers have started pushing out the drifts on the Loafer snowfences. When completed, they will have created a very nice groomer, just below the ridge top, that connects the Summit to Beaver Bowl.

Zuma Cornice and Loafer start from the same spot, but are two clearly separate trails. Loafer provides access to The Beavers and Zuma Cornice provides access to West Montezuma Bowl.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Drive Terminal Set

The final tower, the drive terminal, was set this morning. This photo gives a bit clearer image of how the lift is shaping up. That is the lift operator house on the left. The Lazy J has a speed of 325 feet per minute and a capacity of 1200 people per hour. The ride will be a little bit over 1 minute. For comparison, Lenawee Mountain Lift has a capacity of 1800 people per hour. That said, the Lazy J has the capacity is move 2/3 of the people unloading Lenawee over to Montezuma Bowl. By design, skiers and riders can unload Lenawee, slide forward, grab a hold of the rope and go right to Zuma.

There will be plenty of room to skate to Zuma if you like. Although, it will probably take you longer.

Lazy J

The brand of our new rope tow is Telecorde. The name of the lift is the "Lazy J." All four foundations have been installed. Three of the four towers have been installed. The fourth tower (drive terminal) should go up today. Next steps involve getting the electrician to connect all the wiring and to make sure all the buttons and switches work. Once that is done, the Leitner Poma crew will install the actual rope (critical element of a rope tow). Following that, we will work our way through the final testing and licensing process.