Saturday, December 8, 2018

Best Part of A-Basin

The best part of The Basin is all the good friends you have made through the years.

Friday, December 7, 2018

What A Day !!!!

What a day !!!! I am not sure it could have been much better. With Zuma opening, all of our chairlifts are open for the season. The skiing was just fantastic. On top of groomed terrain in the central corridor, MGD opened right off the bat and we had some limited skiing in West Zuma. There were many, many happy faces, on guests and employees.

To make it even better, I wandered over to Pali and then The Beavers about noon and then back to Zuma again. We had a fairly busy day for a Friday and there were no lift lines. Having all the lifts open really spread people out.

To top that off, our new kitchen opened today (more on that in a later post).

Oh yeah, The Spine and Rock Garden were just about perfect.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Zuma Opens Friday

You heard it. Montezuma Bowl will open mid-morning Friday. To start with, you will be able to ski Columbine, much of Larkspur, Independence and The Fourteeners. As the day progresses, MGD should open up. After that, who knows, there could be a surprise or two.What a great start. This morning's un-forecasted 4" of new snow will really buff things out. Since we first opened the Bowl in January 2008, this will be its earliest opening date.

The "Surprises" are what I like.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Skiing Marmot

I found some exceptional snow in Marmot today. Packed nicely and very soft, the turns were sweet. Just below timberline I cut left to the bottom corner of Beaver Bowl. There, I found one of our new picnic decks. Not a bad place to catch your breath, eat a sandwich, chat with friends or soak in the view.

Looking at the webcams this evenings, it looks like we have 3 or 4 inches of new snow since closing. The morning should deliver some very nice skiing. Towards the end of the day Thursday, look for an update on the Montezuma Bowl opening.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

West Zuma and MGD

We continue to have Ski Patrol and Snow Cat teams all over Montezuma Bowl. In the photos, you can see extensive ski cutting. The snow in West Zuma and MGD is quite good. If we can stay on task, we hope to have our work buttoned up in the next couple of days. It is quite possible we could see some limited openings in West Zuma and MGD in addition to the conventional openings of Columbine and Larkspur.

MGD is Max, Groswold and Durrance, three of the A-Basin original founding members. The other two founding members were Jump and Schauffler who both have trails named after them in West Zuma.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Loafer and Davis and Grooming

It has been a great first week in The Beavers. I know a number of you have really had a good time. Some of you have been dis-satisfied with how difficult Loafer and Davis are and that they have moguls. The snowcats have now traveled both trails top to bottom. As we get more and more snow, the cats will be able to travel Loafer and Davis more and more and there will be less and less moguls.

Loafer and Davis are much like our blue trails West Wall, Norway, Lenawee Parks and Dragon. When we open those trails initially, the snow is not groomed and moguls form. Right now there is a particularly tricky mogul stretch on Norway. With more snow, we start grooming those areas and eventually they become regularly groomed. Often mogul lines exist adjacent to the groomed areas. It is OK to have moguls on blue trails. Dragon is rarely groomed and has bumps all season long. While both longer, Loafer and Davis are not any more difficult than the other trails mentioned above.

No doubt, because of their length, Loafer and Davis offer challenges. If you don't like them now, wait for more snow, check our grooming report and give them a try one morning after they have been groomed.

Davis after grooming

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Montezuma Progress

I took a few laps in Montezuma Bowl today. These pictures tell the whole story. The place looks great. The snowcats have created a good tilled surface all the way to the top of the Columbine Step (last little steep pitch on Columbine). Within a night or two they should be to the bottom of the lift. The crew will keep plugging away back there. We might even see a little snow tomorrow to help us out.

Friday, November 30, 2018

More and More Good Skiing

I had a wonderful day skiing. Headed out to The Beavers and skied Loafer, Davis and Jaeger. Beautiful. There could be some more terrain brewing West of Loafer. There is an additional 100 acres out there that we did not open last year.  Maybe we will start calling that the Western Territory. It is moderately steep, rolling, gladed terrain..........and very fun.

We had about an inch of snow during the day. Kay and I just skinned up to The Summit through heavy snowfall. We skied down in at least couple more inches. Very soft and sweet. The skiing will be exceptional in the morning.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Beavers' Snow Conditions

Snow conditions in The Beavers were pretty darn good this morning (actually all day long).

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Getting Rolling In Zuma Bowl

Zuma Bowl has fared well with all this snow. Our snowfences are phat with snow. The cat drivers have been down Columbine getting close to Tower 14. They have also been out Zuma Cornice. Prior to the 22" inch storm, the snow safety crew and cat drivers had used the Disruption Roller in West Zuma. The Ski Patrol has done extensive explosive work in West Zuma. The Winter Trail Crew is moving and wrestling with the buried fences. With unsettled weather beginning tomorrow, we will get Zuma shaped up quickly.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Grooming Loafer and Davis

Loafer and Davis will be groomed on a regular basis. At this point they are not groomed all the way to the bottom of the lift. That should happen with the next week or so. Using the winch cats, our drivers are working their way down these trails. They will be leap frogging their way down from winch anchor to winch anchor. That will give us two groomed, challenging blue trails with lots of black skiing on either side of them.

Just as an aside, you can see some smoke in the top right hand corner of this picture. Across Highway 6 from Keystone, the Forest Service is burning some slash piles. Those piles came from dead lodgepole pines killed by the mountain pine beetle.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Opening Day

We ended up with a nearly perfect opening day. There wasn't a cloud in the bluebird sky. The skiing and riding was fantastic. We ended opening Loafer, Davis, Jaeger, Thick and Thin, East Woods and Castor.  I think just about everyone out there had a terrific day.

.......And there is more to come !!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Beavers Opens Monday

This weekend's 22 inches of snow has been a real treat. The Beavers terrain and chairlift will open Monday mid-morning. We will start with Loafer. As the day progresses, we will likely get some of the Dog Woods open. Sometime later tomorrow you should see Davis (and maybe a few more gladed trails) get open.

We definitely got buried by this storm. It has been a great deal of work getting all the puzzle pieces together. Lots and lots of shoveling. Be sure and thank your favorite lift op, lift mechanic, cat driver and ski patroller next time you see them. They have had some long, long days getting the Beavers ready.

On top of this great news, we had a limited opening on Pali Face and The Spine today. That should happen again tomorrow around the middle of the day.

I am just beside myself with all this fun.

Lower International

Lower International sure skied nicely Saturday.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Tough Photography Conditions

When it is snowing this hard and the snow is this deep, it is hard to capture good images.

We had a very good Pali Lift opening day. In addition to great skiing on Slalom Slope, some people were able to make some turns on Standard and 13 Cornices. It was deep everywhere.

I did ski Loafer and spent some time at the bottom of The Beavers Lift. There is plenty of snow now to get The Beavers open. We do have a TON of work to do to get that area open.  We are working hard at it. I suspect you will see some new terrain opening every day for the next several days.

Pali Lift Opens Today

8 inches new today. 10 inches so far with this storm. Snowing heavily this morning. Mid to late morning today, Pallavicini Lift will open for the season. Initially, that will be for West Wall, Slalom Slope, Grizzly Road, Powderkeg and Radical. With the snow continuing, I suspect more terrain will follow soon.

Beavers Lift isn't far behind.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Disruption Season

Winch roller, compaction roller, I think we are calling it the "Disruption Roller." This machine is lowered down some of our steepest terrain by a winch cat. It is a very effective tool for breaking up the snow. Again, it interrupts propagation pathways, breaking up slabs and reducing avalanche hazards. And, it is good for the skiing.

Operating this machine is a collaboration between our Snow Safety Team and our Trails Maintenance Team. Last week the crew worked Pali and West Zuma Bowl with the "Disrupter."

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

We are all so lucky to work and play at The Basin. Thanks for our great staff. Thanks for our great guests. Thanks for this great mountain. I am thankful for all the powder days in the past and all the powder days yet to come. The coming week is going to be lots of fun. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Ski Cutting Pali Lift Line

The Ski Patrol has been all over the steep terrain on the North Side and in the Steep Gullies. They try and beat up the snow, breaking all the propagation pathways. This prevents larger slabs from forming and weaker lower layers from collapsing. They use explosives, they ski cut, they side step down the slopes. Not only does this reduce the chance of avalanches, it makes the skiing a whole lot better with subsequent snowfall.

This is text book ski cutting on the Pali Lift line.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018


Nothing like a little Black Mountain / Marjorie Bowl / East Wall alpenglow.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Beavers Stuff

The Beavers Chairlift is now licensed with the State of Colorado. We will continue to tinker with it and familiarize ourselves with the new equipment. It is a beautiful ride. The skiing in The Beavers is so close. Yesterday's small storm helped a bit more. There may be a couple of storms heading our way later this week. We could see some fun and excitement in the Beavers and Pali zones pretty darn soon.

If you look closely at the top photo, bottom right corner, you can see one of the picnic table decks.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Pali Outpost

Ski Patroller Dom Vellone enjoying the new deck at Pali Outpost.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Beavers - Steep Gullies Connect

The Beavers and the Steep Gullies are two distinctly different areas. For the most part, as you ski one of these areas, you will feel very far from the other. An exception is Lower Loafer. As you are skiing down Loafer, almost to the bottom of the Beavers Lift and especially from the left side of the trail, there is an excellent view of The Steep Gullies.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Molly Hogan Open

I suspect that if you are reading this blog, you don't ski much on Molly Hogan. In case you have that beginner friend or relative that has been waiting for a beginner chairlift, Molly Hogan is open. As always, I encourage you to put that beginner in Snowsports School. This way, the beginner is taught by a professional and you can go have fun skiing. This strategy is especially good for boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives and your kids.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Beavers Timing

I recently took a lap on Loafer and Davis. The skiing is sure good on both of those trails. We are very close to getting some of this terrain open. I think a good solid storm could be enough to make it happen. We are still dialing the chairlift in and waiting to get its license. That should happen soon. 

So, overall, The Beavers is quite good and we are getting pretty close to getting it open.