Monday, October 14, 2019

On To Ramrod

Last night, the snowmakers moved to Ramrod. Several of the same snowmaking hydrants used for High Noon are also used for Ramrod. We simply move the fan guns to the east and point them in a different direction. 

We are optimistic for the week. Our snowmaking is linked to streamflow. The higher the streamflow, the more water available for snowmaking. We are forecasted to see sunny, warm days and clear cold nights. During the day, much of last week's natural snowfall will melt, raising the streamflow. With cold nights, we will convert that increased streamflow into increased snowmaking.

October 2014 Ramrod Snowmaking 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Wonderful First Couple of Days

The first couple days of the season have been fantastic. Opening day skiing was fun. We threw a great party in The 6th Alley for The Basin crew. The enthusiasm and excitement for the season was super high. The snowmakers spent Friday and Saturday nights buffing out High Noon. Just as we hoped, lift line, parking and crowd issues were non-existent. What a good way to kick off the season.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Funniest Thing On The Internet

There was a lot of very hysterical stuff on the internet yesterday. Someone called me Alan Petty Henceroth. I assumed that was because Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were my favorite band of all time. 

This meme, pulled off Keystone's Facebook page, by far gave me the biggest laugh of the day.

Friday, October 11, 2019

We Are Opening Today

The race to be the first to open in Colorado and the country is always a treat. Vail has announced that Keystone is opening tomorrow. I know Loveland is right on their tail. Congratulations to both resorts.

We are proud to announce that we will open Black Mountain Express today, Friday, October 11, from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM. There will be $15 lift tickets, $5 beers and $5 apres ski dishes in the 6th Alley. Starting tomorrow, we will be open with normal operating hours. Mug Club sales begin Saturday.

Our team has done an extraordinary job making snow, grooming snow, getting the annual tramway licenses, hiring staff, training staff, etc. etc. etc. We have been having fun. I can't wait to get my skis on. As I write, the cat drivers are putting the finishing touches on the snow. The lift ops and the ski patrollers are getting their gear in order. The staff gets an A+ for this one.

Today we will be hosting an extraordinary Friday Afternoon Club. Come join us for a few turns, a quick bite and a beverage with friends. Ski season is here. Thanks so much for being part of Arapahoe Basin.

Cats On The Hill

.....And last night we had another brilliant session of snowmaking. The snowmakers have shut down the system. They are pulling hydrants and moving fan guns. Scotty and Dorse are back in their cats dozing up piles and spreading the snow. I am pacing everywhere, trying to avoid bugging the employees as they get their operations ready to open.

This is going to be a fantastic weekend.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

We Are Going To Open..........Soon

I am not exactly sure when, but we are going to open very soon. The snowmaking crew is raging, totally capitalizing on this tremendous weather event. Can't wait to see the place in tomorrow's morning light.

A Very Big 24 Hours

Right now it is snow nicely. The air temperature is dropping precipitously. The relatively humidity is high with all the snow so the wet bulb temperature is similar to air temperature. Currently, that air temperature is 17 F at mid-mountain, but expected to continue to drop all day. These are ideal conditions.

We have had some good snowmaking weather over the last week. The next couple days will be VERY, VERY, VERY good snowmaking weather. By Friday morning, The Basin will be a very different looking place. 😆

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Temperatures Are Nosediving

About noon I walked High Noon with Louis. While the trail isn't ready today, we are getting much closer. The forecast looks COLD. Starting about 8 tonight, the temperatures are going to nosedive. We may see temperatures below zero. We should have incredible snowmaking weather for at least 48-72 hours. Add some decent snowfall Thursday. That is going to put us right in the "ZONE."  I suggest looking at the webcams first thing in the morning Thursday. I am usually a pretty calm guy, but I am starting to get excited.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

We Are Well On The Way

The snowmaking has just been incredible. We couldn't really ask for better. Last night was pretty good. Before long we will get a snowcat on the hill. The first snowcat trips will get a travel route established. Once that is done and we make a little more snow, the snowcat drivers will start pushing and spreading the snow around. They will be literally carving those whales into the ski trail we call High Noon. Once you see the cat dozing, we are getting close.

Monday, October 7, 2019

That Looks Like a Ski Trail

A-Basin Snowsports Instructor, Andrew Greene, took this photo this morning. I would say High Noon is starting to look like a ski trail. The last couple days of snowmaking have been even better than I was expecting and the forecast later in the week is improving. It is still too early to pick an opening date, but you can start dusting off the skis and snowboards.

Face of A-Basin Snowmaking

The face of Arapahoe Basin snowmaking is Bill LeClair. His career in this very specialized craft began in 1984 at Mt. Sunapee, New Hampshire. After spending decades as a fixture in Keystone snowmaking, this is his 3rd year as the A-Basin Snowmaking Manager. There are few people in Colorado with his encyclopedia of knowledge in snowmaking. We are lucky to have him.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

And Another Good One

We had another good snowmaking session last night. The wet bulb temperature dropped down to 17 F.  We fired up  the system at about 7 PM versus 1 AM the night before. The winds were a little breezy, but it was still a successful night. As I write, the system is still producing some good snow. Yesterday we ran until noon.

The crew will keep plugging away, hoping we see some really, really favorable conditions later this week.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Best Night Yet

That was a pretty good night. The wet bulb got down to about 20 F. I think we went beyond just test mode and really made some snow. While I can't call the snow piles or whales yet, we have moved beyond just white spots on the ground. Forecast wise, tonight looks to be very similar to last night. After that we might warm up again, but by mid-week we could see our coldest temperatures yet. With a nearly full reservoir and good streamflow, the outlook for the next week is quite good

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Hikers, Bikers and Disc Golfers

The Argentine North Fork Trail, Trail # 2 and the Disc Golf Course will remain open on a day to day basis. As long as snowmaking and / or natural snowfall do not interfere with these activities, and vice versa, we will keep them open. 

While we made snow again last night, we still haven't had the really big night. That might happen this weekend. We shall see. Stay tuned for trail and disc golf updates.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

25 F Wet

This morning was a nice semi-surprise. The wet bulb temperature dropped down to 25 F and the snowmaking crew fired up the fan guns. The humidity is very low which is good for snowmaking. Looking at the forecasts, we might see some more consistent and favorable conditions. I am hopeful for a productive snowmaking weekend. Let's keep the finger crossed.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Fall In Telluride

Just had a great Fall weekend in Telluride. Did a great cross country mountain bike ride. Rode a few awesome flowy, lift served, freeride trails. Soaked in some beautiful yellow aspens. Had delicious food and drink at Smuggler Union Brewery. Took a spectacular hike above 12,000' just North of town. All and all, it was a great way to spend a Fall weekend.

Speaking of Fall and weather. We might see a change in weather by week's end. Stay tuned for the possibility of some cooler weather.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

More Via Ferrata Images

The Via Ferrata will be a guided climbing experience high on the East Wall between Willy's Wide and North Pole. There will be fixed safety cables for climbers to clip into. Additionally, rungs will be installed in the rock to make for better, easier climbing. This will be a very cool and very unique experience taking people to a truly dramatic place. 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

A Hint of Via Ferrata

The Via Ferrata construction is under way. This photo is the first hint of what is to come. Kind of cool.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Afternoon Light

The light this time of year is extraordinary, especially in late afternoon. 

Our snowmakers are continuing their testing and fine tuning. In the next day or two we will likely turn the full lower mountain system on again. These systems are large and complicated. Below the base area, we have a reservoir with a pump station adjacent to it. At mid-mountain we have a booster pump station. Strung between the reservoir and pump stations are miles and miles of water pipelines and power lines. Everywhere along the way are countless breakers, switches and valves. It takes a lot to keep it all in top shape, especially considering the impacts of being outside, moving soil and water and marmots and critters that like to gnaw on just about anything.

Our snow day is coming.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Fall Arrived

The calendar now says it is Fall. We have known that for a little while. It has snowed a couple of times. We have made our first snow. All the flowers have fallen off. There is a morning chill each day. The heat in my house kicked on. And the aspens are starting to turn. They are a little behind schedule though. I did find this beautiful grove riding my bike through Frisco this morning.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Snowmaking This Morning

We turned 'em on this morning. The wet bulb temperature dropped below 28 F. This isn't a big snowmaking session, but it is a snowmaking session. Getting the system going is a small step, but a very important step. We like to test the gear and work out any kinks. These actions are important to help us be ready when the really cold temperatures come.

.............And everybody likes a little snow.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

New Trail Open

I just took a couple of laps on our newly opened downhill mountain bike trail. Way fun. The IMBA crew did a brilliant job designing and building this one. So this is kind of  a first taste. Over the next couple of summers we plan on building several additional trails for hiking and biking. Eventually, riders will be able to ride a full loop to the Summit and down on all purpose built bike trails. I get so excited just thinking about.

For now, come check out this first phase. Ride up the Argentine North Fork Trail and down the new one. It is a couple of miles with a 330' ascent and descent. Do it as a warm up loop for the Lenawee Trail or come do it multiple times for a good ride.

It will be available for use until snowmaking or natural snow close it down.

Friday, September 20, 2019

A-Basin Single Chair

I did a post similar to this a few years ago.

The first two chairlifts at A-Basin were roughly in the location of Black Mountain Express and the former location of Norway Lift. Both of these lifts were single chairs.

I would love to get my hands on one of the original single chairs, restore that chair and display it in a prominent place somewhere at The Basin. If you happen to know where one of these chairs might be, please let me know. I would love to be able to share it with the A-Basin faithful.


Thursday, September 19, 2019

End of Summer

Our regular Summer activities are over. We had a fun closing weekend with Oktoberfest. With the exception of a couple weddings, we are very focused on finishing up our Summer projects and getting ready to open for skiing. For now, the mountain remains open for hiking and biking and disc golf. The forecast for the next week looks mostly like highs about 60 F and lows pushing 30 F. As soon as the temperature consistently drops below 28 F (wet bulb) we will fire up the snow guns. Until then, you have about a week or two, feel free to get out and about and enjoy the hill.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

A-Basin Guitar Tattoo

I saw all kinds of cool things at Oktoberfest including this A-Basin, reflection in a lake, guitar tattoo. Pretty cool.

Saturday, September 14, 2019


We scored. The day was perfect. The food was great. The Austrian Guys were awesome. A gorgeous day in the mountain, high spirits and German beer, food and music............. you can't go wrong. The day was a treat.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Wildlife Safe Passages

Louis and I went on a very interesting field trip today up on Vail Pass. It was led by a consortium of people known as Summit County Safe Passages. Staff from USFS, CDOT, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, A-Basin, Summit County, Eagle County, Denver Zoo and Rocky Mountain Wild attended. The group's mission is "Making Summit County Roads Safer for Wildlife and People."

Much like was done to Highway 9 north of Silverthorne, this group is looking for ways, like wildlife underpasses and overpasses, to reduce vehicle/wildlife collisions and improve wildlife habitat and connectivity. Both sides of the I-70 are rich with just about every kind of wildlife (elk, deer, moose, mountain lions, black bears, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, etc.) found in the Colorado mountains. 

The project is currently in its early design phase. It will likely take several years to fully complete the design, secure the funding and build the structures. Locally, we will be hearing more and more about Safe Passages in the coming weeks, months and years. 

To learn more about the organization and to learn how to help and support Summit County Safe Passages go to: