Thursday, February 23, 2017

Hot Wheels

After a dry evening, the skies let losing and it snowed very heavily from about 8:00 to 9:30 this morning. Mother Nature dropped 2-3 inches of snow in a hurry. I made my way to the North Side finding excellent snow on The Face, The Spine and North Glade. By 10:30ish, much of it was still untouched. Beautiful skiing and Hot Wheels was a hoot. 


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Employee Ski Party

Our gang was due for a mid season party. This afternoon we ran the lifts for our employees for about an hour after the lifts closed. We followed that with dinner in the A-Frame and a good raffle. Several people won Ski and Soak trips and will be heading off for a little ski and hot spring vacation. Employees shindigs like this are part of what makes working at The Basin so much fun.






Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Snow Safety Sunrise

The Snow Safety team was in early this morning (as usual). Yesterday's storm had some winds that created some interesting snow pockets to work with. They spent much of yesterday on the East Wall and are out there bright and early again this morning. Much of the snow safety work involves being out and about during cold, dark and windy times. Other times, the crew catches breathtaking vistas including this beautiful sunrise. This photo was taken this morning looking towards Loveland Pass from the entrance to West Zuma Bowl.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

1st Notch

This afternoon I met 9 year old Ben down by the mountain goats. He was sporting a pretty big smile. Ben had just guided his Dad up the North Pole hike. They skied 1st Notch for the first time and Ben made sure Dad made it down in one piece. Nice work Ben.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

First Hint Of Spring

Well, the days are a little longer. We just had a beautiful week of sunny weather. The Beach scene is starting to brew up. The Spine looks as good as ever. We still have a lot of winter to go. Odds are that there is still 15-20 feet of snow to fall before the season is over. That said, I always think of President's Day weekend as the first hint of Spring. I especially like those longer days.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bustang Snowstang

The Colorado Department of Transportation is running a new bus service to several ski areas this winter. The bus will run to A-Basin twice. The first trip was last Saturday. The next one will be Saturday, February 25. For more details and to make reservations go to:

https://ridebustang.ticketspice.com/snowstang-a-basin

This is a great idea and CDOT deserves big kudos. Anything to reduce the number of vehicles on I-70 and reduce the demand for parking is a good thing. Give it a try and let someone else do the driving on Saturday, February 25.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Beacon Bowl Update

We had another very successful Beacon Bowl. There were some friendly rivalries in the competitions. We threw a heck of a party in the A-Frame. Some people picked up a few more tips on using their beacons. A number of vendors shared their fine goods in the Base Area tents. All and all, it was a fun day.

I would like to thank everyone that came, participated and contributed to the event. While we are still collecting the last Silent Auction payments, it appears that we raised about $14,000 for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Great cause, great event, great people. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Not Just Rio's Handler

Arapahoe Basin's Assistant Ski Patrol Director Matt Norfleet is known to many of you as Rio the avalanche dog's handler. To many others, Matt is known as an incredibly strong member of the U.S. Whitewater Rafting Team. In mid January, he and seven of his teammates, launched at Lee's Ferry in a custom built 48 foot raft with the intention of breaking the Grand Canyon speed record of 34 hours and two minutes. At any one time, the raft had six people rowing, one steering and one resting. After 20 hours the crew reached The Canyon's biggest rapid, Lava Falls, in the dark and on pace to beat the record. An equipment failure in the guts of that maelstrom forced a multi hours repair on the beach below the rapid. In their first attempt, the team completed the 277 mile journey, just missing the record, in 39 hours and 24 minutes. This was truly an amazing feat.

Phil Lindeman at the Summit Daily wrote an excellent article on the journey that can be found at the link below.

http://www.summitdaily.com/news/sports/take-5-on-the-grand-canyon-cataraft-with-the-u-s-whitewater-rafting-team/

The project was sponsored and documented by Chaco. A film of the journey is being shown at the REI Flagship store in Denver March 9, 2017 at 6:30 PM. Details can be found at the link below.

https://www.rei.com/stores/denver.html#classes_events

Monday, February 13, 2017

Fixed Grip versus Detachable

Why are we choosing a fixed grip lift for The Beavers? This was a significant question. Both types of lifts would be very effective for this location. Obviously, the installation of A-Basin's first detachable chairlift, the Black Mountain Express, has been a huge success. We have also seen great success with new and old fixed grip lifts like Zuma and Pallavicini.

Financial - While still measured in the "millions of dollars", a fixed grip lift is about half the price of a detachable lift.

Installation and Maintenance - Without road access, installation and maintenance is difficult for any lift. A detachable lift is the most difficult without road access. In the lift world, more difficult also means more expensive.

Wind - Occasionally, the A-Basin Summit is just a tad bit windy. We think a fixed grip lift in this location will have less wind related downtime than a detachable lift.

Our Guests - Most of our guests don't mind fixed grip lifts. I enjoy riding a detachable lift as much or more than the next guy, but by reviewing our attendance and our guest surveys, there does not seem to be much evidence that having fixed grip lifts is hurting our business. Plus, a little rest and a little longer conversation with your friend or spouse is always good.

According to liftblog.com there were 35 chairlift installed in the US and Canada in 2016. 27 of those lifts were fixed grip. By the way, for ski area technology nerds like me, liftblog.com is a really fun website.

Many of our guests and employees have suggested upgrading Lenawee to a detachable lift. I think that is a good idea. I suspect that in a few years, after we finish our current slate of projects, we will get serious about addressing that suggestion.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

January and December Snowfall

To confirm your impressions, December and January snowfall was tremendous. In December we received 86 inches of snow which is 177% of average. January was even better. We received 97 inches of snow and that was 206% of average. As I ski around, several of my landmarks, small trees and rocks, are gone. No wonder the skiing has been so good.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Steep Gullies Hike Back Trail

The Steep Gullies Hike Back Trail will be about 3,000 feet long and about 25 feet wide, slightly wider than a snowcat. The trail roughly parallels Highway 6 and the North Fork of the Snake River. The River lies between the trail and the highway. Distance from the trail to the highway ranges from 400 to 900 feet. The highway is not visible from the trail. Most of the trail has fairly thick forest on both sides. It has has a moderate uphill climb gaining approximately 300 vertical feet. There is an open section of trail at the bottom of Pallavicini Trail that is about 500 feet long. From that opening there are tremendous views of Black Mountain, The Professor and The Widow (see photo below). The trail will be groomed regularly and if you like moving uphill, you will find it to be an enjoyable and scenic walk or skin. Most people will take 15-30 minutes to reach the bottom of Pallavicini Lift.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Beavers / Steep Gullies Timeline

We are moving forward with adding The Beavers and The Steep Gullies into the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.  This 468 acre project has been in the planning process for many years. Our Master Development Plan was accepted in 2012. The Forest Service announced their Record of Decision approving the project in a multi-year Environmental Impact Statement issued this past November. We have spent the last three months working out many of the details required for us to proceed. We are extremely excited to announce our timeline and our plan to move forward.  

For the remainder of the 2016/17 season The Beavers and The Steep Gullies remain as un-patrolled, un-maintained and un-mitigated backcountry.

Summer 2017 - Ski trail and chairlift construction begins.

Winter 2017/18 - The 129 acre Steep Gullies and a portion of The Beavers will open, but all skiers and riders will be required to hike 15-30 minutes to reach the bottom of Pallavicini Lift. There will be no chairlift this season.

Summer 2018 - Chairlift construction is completed.

Winter 2018/19 - The Beavers Chairlift opens serving 339 acres. Steep Gullies skiers and riders will still need to hike 15-30 minutes to reach the bottom of Pallavicini Lift.

You can find more detailed information on our website at:

http://arapahoebasin.com/ABasin/mountain/beavers-steepgullies.aspx

Feel free to contact me anytime with questions. This will be a wonderful and exciting addition to The Basin.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

And It Is Snowing Again

Basically, it snowed all day at The Basin. We had received 4 inches of snow by closing time and both Opensnow.com and NOAA are predicting a solid evening of snowfall. This afternoon I went for a bit of a ski on Standard, International, Slalom Slope, Columbine and a few other spots. I can verify that the skiing is already outstanding. If Mother Nature lays down another good layer of snow tonight, well......................... , Wednesday morning could be pretty............................., you know......................, DARN GOOD.  Don't miss this one. With yesterday's wind buffing and today and tonight's snowfall, Pali is going to be sweet.




Sunday, February 5, 2017

Tree Chutes Hiking

Each of the last two days, the family enjoyed a couple of Tree Chutes Staircase hikes. It is a very tough hike especially once you hit the ridgeline. Yesterday, as we stumbled through the rocks, we also got battered by the wind a bit. It was, however, all worth it. The skiing in the Tree Chutes was exceptional. Again, this is one of those Basin places that isn't for everyone. For those that like this kind of stuff, it is sweet. And we will do it again and again and again.






Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Basin Today

In case you missed it, this is what The Basin looked like today. My favorite quote, from a neighboring ski patroller, was "They reported one inch and it was boot deep on Pali." With Beacon Bowl, Kids Club, great skiing on Pali, great skiing and hiking on The East Wall, snow in the morning and sun in the afternoon, today was a classic !!!


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Good Skiing Friday

We just finished skinning to the top. After a quick rest a little water, we skied down Lenawee Face, Dercum's Gulch and Sundance. There is a couple inches of new snow and it was snowing heavily on our descent. Snowing so hard, it was hard to see with a headlamp. The surface, of course, was excellent. I think the skiing Friday will be outstanding.

Don't forget The Beacon Bowl is Saturday.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Stunt Ditch

The newly rebuilt High Divide Terrain Park opened yesterday for the season. The Park includes our world famous stunt ditch. There are all kinds of cool features to slip and slide on in and around the "Ditch." Kudos to Terrain Park Manager, Tyler and his crew. Both parks look great. I hope you park riders enjoy it.