Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Beacon Bowl Time

It is Beacon Bowl time. This Saturday, February 4 we will be hosting our annual fundraising event for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC). The day is filled with beacon clinics, a friendly beacon competition and avalanche dog demonstrations. The day concludes with an apres ski party in the A-Frame that includes pizza, beer, raffle tickets with awesome prizes, silent auction and live auction with Ski Patrol Director Tony C. 

Most importantly, all proceeds go to the CAIC. We are lucky to have such a tremendous organization in Colorado. For all of us that use their services, this fun event is a great way to help fund their cause. We should all chip in. Check out our website for details.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Looking Good Today

The place was looking pretty darn good today.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Sunday Rhythm

I am rolling into my Sunday rhythm. Start the day with coffee and a little CBS Sunday Morning (by the way, great story on ski area trail map artist Jim Niehues today). Spend a couple of hours skiing Pallavicini Lift which is in tremendous shape.  Hike the Willy's Wide staircase, go through the Snorkel Door and ski some powder in Corner Chute. Ski a few more runs on Pali and wander home. That is a good Sunday.

Saturday, January 28, 2017


There are not a whole lot of ski areas out there where you get a view like this. Skiing or riding Snorkelnose off the Willy's Wide Staircase is a pretty special experience.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Crisp, Clear, Blue

After a chilly start this morning, we had a very beautiful, crisp day with stunningly blue skies. The snow is just about perfect.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Willy's Staircase Open

The Willy's Staircase has been open for about a week now. Spectacular skiing can be found in Willy's Wide, Snorkelnose, Booger and Corner Chute. I am embarassed to say that I have not hiked it yet, but that will change soon. I am hearing reports of superb conditions. Can't wait to get up there.

Monday, January 23, 2017

20" At Taos

Kay and I just had the pleasure of skiing two fantastic days at Taos. Sunday was mostly clear with 20 inches of new snow in 48 hours. Great hikes to West Basin and Highline. As good as you can imagine. Monday was snowing and downright creamy. If you have been to Taos before, you know what I am talking about. If you haven't been to Taos, you are missing one of the country's VERY BEST SKI RESORTS. It has terrain that is every bit as exciting as A-Basin. The Southwestern/Europe culture is a unique blend that can't be found elsewhere. Check out the German beer and bratwurst at The Bavarian.

.......And most Arapahoe Basin season passes are good for 3 days at Taos. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Treeline Terrain Park Preview

The Treeline Terrain Park is on the verge of opening. We have tweaked its location a bit, moving it slightly to the Northwest of past locations. Tyler thinks we will have a better pitch to set the features on. You can look forward to jumps, jibs, a whale tail and a quarter pipe. Be sure and check this out.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Latest Sustainability Report

We just posted the latest Arapahoe Basin Sustainability Report on our website. In it we outline our energy consumption, our solar energy production, our waste, recycling and compost stream and our sustainability initiatives. We describe the green elements of the Kids Center, share our Sustainability Goals and even offer a few tips to help you reduce your impacts. The report can be found at the link below.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Evening Photos

Enjoy these evening photos of Snow Plume Refuge and Black Mountain Lodge (thank you Marc Doucette).

Monday, January 16, 2017

Can We Have Too Much Snow ?

A lot of people have been asking, "Can we have too much snow?" The answer is yes and no, it all depends on your perspective.

If your time horizon is longer and you are looking at the entire season, I think the answer is, NO you can't have too much. There could be some worries of Spring flooding or avalanche cycles. Overall, however, more snow creates better conditions and the season lasts longer.

Now if your time horizon is much shorter, like the next hour or the next day, we can have too much snow. Big snowfalls can slow things down. Transportation on the hill goes slower. Snow removal takes longer. Avalanche work takes longer. There could be delays that take hours or days to get terrain open. On top of that, big snow storms complicates highway travel. 

So I say, the more snow the better.  It does creates a lot of work and getting to and getting up the mountain may take longer than you like. In the end, big snowfall means lots of great skiing. This last storm has shown the wait Tuesday and Wednesday was definitely worth the tremendous conditions that followed.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

3 North Pole Hikes

You read that right. The Ski Patrol opened The East Wall today. The North Pole, Middle and Lower gates were open. The Upper East Wall gate needs some more snowcat work and is still closed. Kay and I took 3 hikes through the North Pole gate and skied 2nd Notch, West Vertical Cornice and North Pole proper. All were outstanding with that first run down West Vert being creamy, over the top, absolutely, unbelievably phenomenal. Yes, that good. Maybe even better.

After our 2nd hike we were standing at the top of Little Lenawee Peak talking with a couple ski patrollers. Kay asked, "Are you guys burned out from 6 straight weeks of intense snow work?" Kyle Hagadorn replied, "Absolutely not. Giving people the chance to ski terrain like this is the highlight of my season." We owe that team in red a big thanks for this gift.

The Willy's staircase isn't too far away.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Filled In

With all this snow, everything is really filled in. I mean REALLY FILLED IN. The coverage is extraordinary and the East Wall looks fat. The Ski Patrol had another big day up there periodically making lots of noise.  We might be skiing North Pole from the top almost right away. Boy was the skiing fun. There is a lot to be excited about.

Holiday Weekend Tip - Get here early (or late), car pool, take the bus.

Friday, January 13, 2017

77 Inches In 9 Days

Since I was throwing numbers around yesterday, I should also mention we had 77 inches of snow between January 4 and 12. An impressive number considering the average snowfall for the entire month of January is 45 inches. The snow images everywhere you look are jaw dropping. The East Wall has plenty of snow. The Ski Patrol has done an extensive amount of work up there, but still has a lot to go. Throughout the days, we have heard a consistent stream of booms coming from their avalanche work. Keep looking East. We are shaping up for a stellar East Wall / East Wall hiking season.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

156 Inches Since December 5

Yes, we have had 156 inches of snow since December 5. November was fairly dry and warm. I know a few people were even a little discouraged. A dry November only means one thing.......we had a dry November. Mother Nature started snowing December 5 and it has hardly stopped since then. We are buried.

This has been a cycle of very notable proportions. We do track snowfall by month. Our single biggest month on record was January 1996 with 136 inches. So getting 156 inches in about 5 1/2 weeks is certainly one of biggest and most continuous snow events we have experienced. And we all know how good the skiing is.

Dave Camara took this photo on Slalom Slope this morning while enjoying 11 inches of new snow. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

And We Went Skiing

We did finally open. About 100 cars showed up and people enjoyed some deep, deep, deep snow. My phone/camera battery quit working long ago so no photos. It has been an exciting and very challenging 36 hours around here. The reward was snow about as good as it gets.

......And there will be plenty of great skiing tomorrow and the day after and the day after that and.........

We Are Going To Open

CDOT is getting ready to open the highway. We plan on opening Pallavicini Lift and Black Mountain Express for the afternoon. Other skier services will be extremely limited. Come up and enjoy the fun.

Hug your local CDOT and CAIC worker when you get a chance.

Basin Update - Still On Standby

We are still on stand by. Our patrollers, snowcat drivers, lift mechanics and lift operators are on the hill doing all the work necessary to get the ski area open. Crews from CDOT and CAIC are on the highway working and preparing to do avalanche mitigation work. It is still snowing heavily. Mitigation efforts are being slowed by the snowfall and the limited visibility. At this time we do not know when the highway will open. Stay tuned to our website. As soon as we know when the highway will open, we will update the website. This may take a while.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Snow, Snow, Snow

Patio took this very cool photo of the tunnel before dawn today. Tomorrow morning (Wednesday) pay close attention to our website for the latest status on CDOT avalanche work and an A-Basin opening.

Ski Area Closed Today at 1 PM

With 15 inches new today and 11 new yesterday the skiing is phenomenal. I had just finished getting a bunch of face shots in Long Chute when Tony C called me on the radio asking for a phone call with that very serious and heavy tone in his voice. Some tremendous avalanches have been occurring near us. Both CDOT and CAIC had very significant concerns about avalanche paths along Highway 6. In fact Highway 6 is now closed between Keystone and Loveland Ski Areas. Considering the very serious concerns about travelling down the highway, we made the decision to close and get our guests and employees off the hill as soon as we could.

This morning at the ski area, our Ski Patrol did substantial mitigation work. We had a phenomenal day of skiing and riding. This closure is about getting people off the highway and home to safety.

We don't know what is going to happen tomorrow just yet. A few essential A-Basin personnel will stay at the ski area tonight and we will work closely with both CDOT land CAIC to make sure appropriate actions happen along the highway. Our snow safety safety team will be all over the hill tomorrow. I will update my blog and we will update the website as the situation develops.

.......And uphill access is closed.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Tuesday Rando Race Cancelled

Tomorrow's Tuesday Randonee Race is cancelled. It is snowing heavily now and we are expecting heavy snowfall the rest of today and tonight and tomorrow. Both A-Basin and CDOT have extensive avalanche mitigation work scheduled for tomorrow morning. It is simply not a good time to run the race.

We will re-schedule this race. Give us a few days to sort out the options and details. Sorry about that, but Mother Nature is doing her thing right now.

.........And it is dumping.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Good Looking Snow Cam

With a good looking snow cam like this, a couple of feet of snow in the forecast and incredible coverage, you gotta' be pleased with ski conditions at The Basin. Today was another extraordinary day. Between 5 and 6 I walked around the A-Frame and The 6th Alley. The vibe could only be described as electric.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Managing Busy Days - Carpool and the Summit Stage

Today was a big day at The Basin. The holidays are over. We had 28 inches of snow this week. It was sunny and beautiful. The skiing and riding is fantastic. A lot of people showed up to soak it all in. There are periods during those busy days when parking can be a challenge even though the skiing on the mountain still has plenty of room. I have a few tips that may make these busy days a little easier for you.

Ride the Summit Stage. If it works for you, skip the whole parking piece and ride the bus.

Carpool. If everyone had one more person in their car, the entire parking issue would go away.

Arrive early or late. On peak days, typically Saturdays and occasionally Sundays, the parking tends to be full between about 11 AM and 1 PM. After 1 PM, people start leaving and plenty of spots open up. Avoid mid-day arrivals on peak days. This could be an excuse to really sleep in.

On Saturdays our employees are required to carpool, ride the employee shuttle or ride the Stage. I know the parking can be a headache, but the hassles can be avoided fairly easily.

There happens to be a great view of the mountain from our Upper Last Chance parking lot.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Snow Cam

Well, we finally have a Snow Cam. You can find it on our website with the other webcams. We spent a lot of time pondering this project. We wanted this cam to be really fun and to give people a qualitative understanding about what the weather is actually doing up here. We decided to avoid a pure "quantitative ruler" stake and came up with a cool image of the iconic "Flaming A" (thank you Master Woodworker Bumpy).  The "Flaming A" is 18 inches tall. We looked at a lot of snow stake cams and our favorite was "Gnorm the Powder Gnome" at Revelstoke. We tried to mirror the spirit of that very creative image.

So if you are totally into geeking out about the exact inches of snow compared to other areas, you might be disappointed. On the other hand, if you are trying to get a feel for what is going on here while you are away, recognizing a 4" day a The Basin with the good wind can be like skiing 6" or 8" elsewhere, you might really get a kick out of this. I do hope you enjoy it.

......And it has snowed more than two feet the last couple of days.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

7 Inches At Report Time, Snowing Heavily

At 5 AM we reported 7 inches of new snow. It has been snowing heavily since then without a break. The heaviest snow is predicted to fall today, tonight and tomorrow. We are in for a good one. Driving in this morning, the roads were challenging. Be extra careful getting here. The rewards will be many.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Snow Has Started To Fall

Snowing has been falling steadily for a few hours now. There is already a couple of new inches on the ground.  We have a very kind West wind blowing about 20 mph on the Summit. These are perfect conditions for filling the ski area with snow. So far so good.

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Good Week Ahead

Attached is the forecast for The Basin from opensnow.com. Considering how solid the base and the coverage is right now, this forecast will make for some tremendous skiing. The Snow Safety crew has been working the East Wall for the past week in anticipation of future storms. In addition to shooting the avalauncher, they have done extensive routes in North Pole, Willy's Wide and The Tree Chutes The timing of this snow forecast is ideal. It will be a very, very good week.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Face Is Buffed

The wind has been very kind to The Face. This afternoon I took several runs there enjoying the velvety smooth surface. It is definitely buffed and in excellent shape. Other parts of the mountain have similar conditions like The Spine, Lenawee Parks and Rock Garden. Too much fun.