Thursday, September 24, 2020

Pali Chair and Wind Vane Auction

So one of our favorite events of the year is the Enduro. It has been a great fundraiser for a good cause and it is loads of fun. The COVID-19 closure prevented us from  holding the event that had been scheduled for April. This Saturday, September 26 at 2 PM, we are going to host the Enduro Apres Ski Party at the Dillon Amphitheater. Tickets will be very limited. Everyone will be practicing physical distancing and wearing masks. There is going to be a little music. There is going to be a live auction for a Pali Chair and the Pali Wind Vane and other goodies.

We are hosting this event to help two of our employees. Guest Services and Sustainability guru Sha Miklas' son, Jonah, is in a tough battle with Cerebral ALD. Black Mountain Lodge fixture Rob Miller went to the doctor for a cold and ended up having emergency open-heart surgery. All proceeds to go Jonah and Rob.

For details and to buy tickets go to Enduro Party  

Did I mention we would be auctioning off a Pali Chair?

Don't forget your mask.


 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Snowmaking Equipment

I don't see any good snowmaking weather out there for a least a week. That doesn't mean the snowmakers haven't been busy. Most of the fan guns have been set on High Noon. The reservoir is full. The snowmaking pipes have been filled. Water has been run to the Summit. Electrical lines and fixtures have been tested. Training begins later this week. There has been a little frost each morning at my house.

While it isn't time yet, it won't be long...........


 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Via Ferrata Commissioning

Friday we went through the field portion of our commissioning process with the Forest Service engineering staff. Our engineer, Joe Gmuender, flew in from Nevada. He, along with the Adventure Partners builders, broke out the dynamometer and did all kinds of pulling and yanking and testing. Our Mountain Patrol had to demonstrate rescue abilities on a cliff face. A large gang of us climbed to the summit of Lenawee Pinnacle. All along the way, there was Q and A and hearty discussions. We still have several administrative tasks to complete with the Forest Service and the State, but physically, the Via Ferrata is complete.

We all shared a spectacular, long, fun and exhausting day. This is a one of a kind experience.






 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Lift Towers

All of the lift towers are now on site. Most of them are rigged for flying. We hope to see the helicopter here early next week. We are still waiting to see how we exactly fit into the chopper schedule. Three towers have been set without the helicopter (Molly Hogan Towers 1 and 2 and Pali Tower 1). The remaining 11 towers will be set with the helicopter.



From inside the Molly Hogan motor room.
 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Not Your Usual Day At The Basin

I climbed the Via Ferrata today for the first time since its completion. It was so dramatic and so much fun. Having the safety cable the entire route is very comforting. Steel rungs offer a sense of security. That said, a lot of the journey is actually climbing on the rock. Mike Friedman, the designer and builder, guided us up and down the rock ridge between Willie's Wide and North Pole. That took us four hours plus drive and hiking time.

We are still designing exactly what our tours will look like. We will likely have a longer tour that offers the possibility of getting to the Summit and a shorter tour that focuses on climbing lower on the rock. These tours will both be very challenging and adventurous and for people that are fairly fit. They won't be great for people afraid of high places.



 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

D-REP: Fight for Life

The 2020 Breck Film Festival will be hosting a world premier documentary, D-REP: Fight for Life.  Dave and Amanda Repsher have been long time friends of Arapahoe Basin and many of our staff members. Dave was a River Guide, Copper Mountain Ski Patroller, Paramedic and Flight for Life Flight Nurse. In 2015, Dave was involved in a fiery helicopter crash in Frisco. The documentary is the story of Dave and Amanda's journey from their active mountain lifestyle, to coping with horrific burns, to being miraculous survivors.

The film can be seen at a Breckenridge drive-in this Sunday night or virtually online at home. Details can be found at the links below. Check out this amazing and inspiring story.

Drive-In

Live Virtual Event





Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Guide Training

So the Via Ferrata is essentially complete. There may be a few nuts and bolts to finish up, but for all practical purposes, it is complete. Guide training has begun. We have a team scrambling all over the rock. Adventure Partners is sharing years of savvy wisdom. Our commissioning session with the Forest Service and the State of Colorado is later this week. There are administrative tasks to be completed. I am getting major thumbs up from the A-Basin group that has been on the climb. I will be out there a couple days this week.

We can't wait to share this.



 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Ikon Pass Reservations

Beginning November 9, reservations will be required at A-Basin for Ikon Pass holders. Reservations are not required before November 9. We encourage and want to see Ikon Pass folks this winter. This action is being done to manage COVID-19 conditions. We want to spread out visitation and to make sure that no single day sees too many people. Ikon Pass Friends and Family tickets will still be available although we have not yet finalized the fulfillment method.

Overall, there is plenty of room for Ikon Pass visitors. For most days, the reservation system will be a non-issue. We are concerned about those 20-30 mostly weekend days after the first of the year that are our busiest days of the season. We are really trying to migrate visits away from those days.

The Ikon Pass is a tremendous part of The Basin experience. We value all the Ikon Pass guests that visit and we want to get them on the hill. Some might think we are doing this to single out Ikon Pass holders in a negative way. That simply is not true. The Ikon Pass community is large and we just need to be careful that not too many people show up at the same time.

We are really focused on the safety of our guests and our employees in the COVID era. With just a little bit of planning, I think we can do that and keep everybody skiing and riding. I am looking forward to a great season. For complete details on the Ikon Pass reservation system, ikonpass.com/reservations.



Sunday, September 13, 2020

Marmot Deck

I went for a little wander out in The Beavers this afternoon. Found myself enjoying the view from the Marmot Deck. Actually, the picnic deck is where the right side of Beaver Bowl and left side of Marmot come together. There is still snow clinging to the North facing pitches, but as you can see,  most of the snow has melted off the south facing slopes. Beautiful out there today. Saw a few deer, saw some elk tracks and heard something big banging around in the woods, but never saw it.


 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

East Wall Snow

East Wall snow as seen from inside Black Mountain Lodge.


 

Friday, September 11, 2020

Via Ferrata Update

Last week Patio did a Via Ferrata tour with the crew from Adventure Partners (the team building it). He was impressed. The route travels on some beautiful sections of rock. At all times, guests and guides are clipped in to the cable. They climb up (and down) using either the rock or the rungs that have been installed to aid climbing. This will be a dramatic and very challenging type of visit to A-Basin.

Adventure Parnters is putting the finishing touches on their work. If the next couple days of work are successful and if the weather improves, as forecast, we should be doing our commissioning with the Forest Service and the State of Colorado late next week. High on the East Wall, reaching over 12,900 feet above sea level, this will be a one of kind gem. Not for the faint of heart, there is a certain kind of person that is totally going to love this.






 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Season Passes and Lift Tickets - 2020-21 Season

It has been a wild and crazy six months since the March 14 ski area closure. Frankly, I never imagined our economy would get shut down the way it did. Throughout that time, we never lost sight of taking care of our employees and guests and re-opening and delivering the skiing and riding that all of us love. While there are still details to be worked out, I am excited to announce the core of our operating plan for the 2020-21 Season.

Working closely with County, State and Federal officials, we have designed a plan to protect our guests and employees, provide excellent skiing and riding and reduce peak visitation days to allow for physical distancing.  Of course, all plans are subject to change pending future developments. Highlights of our plan include:

-Reservations will not be required for Arapahoe Basin Season Pass and Any Day Pass holders. The number of passes sold will be limited.

-Ikon and Mountain Collective Pass holders are welcome and are encouraged to ski and ride A-Basin. Access details are still to be determined.

-Lift tickets will be available every day. Arapahoe Basin will require all lift tickets to be purchased in advance, online through our website. The number of tickets sold each day will be variable to reduce peak visitation periods.

-A complete listing of other plan elements (face coverings, physical distancing, parking, lifts, etc.) can be found on our website. 2020-21 Season Details

The responsibility for skiing and riding safely through COVID times falls on all of us. We all need to wear our masks and maintain physical distances at the appropriate times and places. We may be making voluntary requests to have skiers and riders avoid peak visitation periods. If you can ski weekdays instead of weekends, please do so. If you can ski in the afternoon instead of the morning, please do so. We are all in this together.

Some of our services may look a little different, but skiing and riding will be the core of our winter experience. I look forward to seeing all of you with skis or snowboards on your feet!




Wednesday, September 9, 2020

September 9

While I don't think the mountain is ski-able, the snow looks pretty good for September 9. Now, most of this snow will melt. There may be a touch that stays on Pali or high on the East Wall. This weekend looks to be sunny with highs near 60. We still have two more weekends of summer operations to go. So keep September 12, 13 and September 19, 20 on your calendar for a little action in the Aerial Adventure Park, 6th Alley and Arapahoe Sports. You can also enjoy enjoy some disc golf, hiking or biking at The Basin. Let's enjoy this quick burst of winter as we slide into Fall.



Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Snow - Ski Season Planning

Yesterday was smoky. It was hot. We were in a red flag fire warning period. Today, it is snowing. The temperature at the Top of Pali is 17 F. I had to wear Sorels to work. Colorado !!!

We are still neck deep in ski season planning. I totally understand that people want answers right now on a few key topic areas. We are working very closely with our local community leaders. I think we are going to have something that the A-Basin faithful will really like. We just have to work though a few more details with stake holders. Being patient and getting it right in September will pay huge dividends once ski season arrives.



 

RFID Gates

The RFID Gates have arrived. The IT team from Ski Data is here programming and setting up the equipment. For now, everything is in the A-Frame. This week we will pour the foundations to support the gantries that hold the gates. We are still waiting on shipping for those gantries. As I have mentioned before, there will be gates at Black Mountain Express, Molly Hogan, Pallavicini and Lenawee.


 

Monday, September 7, 2020

Pali House

The exterior of the Top Of Pali Lift Operator House is complete. Inside, the insulation needs to be finished (the old had none), the wiring needs to be completed and the propane line and heater needs to be connected. This very small building will be much more comfortable for the operator. Did I mention the view?



 

Sunday, September 6, 2020

A Different View

A hiker shared this image of The Basin from the Continental Divide N-NW of the resort.



 

 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Snowmaking Reservoir

Our snowmaking reservoir is just about full. Our strategy for snowmaking is to, during and just before snowmaking season, divert water from the stream at a very slow rate to the snowmaking reservoir. That way there is never any big impact on the stream from big diversions. Our snowmaking system pumps water from the reservoir up through our pipeline system to hydrants to hoses and to snowmaking fan guns.

It looks like we are going to have some snow and very cold temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday. That will be followed by a return to more seasonal temperatures. It is just a little too early start making snow. Although it is tempting.


 

Friday, September 4, 2020

A Touch Of Gold

We are starting to see a touch of gold out there. Some of the willows and aspen are changing. The mornings have been brisk with temperatures in the low 30's. The days are noticeably shorter. We have had a couple dustings of white stuff. The afternoons are still warm, but Fall is in the air.


 

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Like A Chairlift

Minus towers, wire rope, chairs and final grading, Molly Hogan is starting to look like a chairlift.


 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Top Pali Lift Operator House

The Lift Operator House for the Top of Pali is tiny. In general, one of the bigger challenges of replacing Pallavacini is dealing with what a tight little spot the "Center of the Universe" actually is. Squeezing in the lift house was no exception to this challenge. Instead of using a manufactured building like we did at the other three locations, we designed and built this structure to make the best of the little bitty, but very cool spot. The employee that works here has a pretty good view.

With contractors, there always seems to be a dog in the picture.



 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Tiny Village

Our village of tiny buildings will be moved on to the hill later this week. The Lift Operator houses for the top and bottom of Molly Hogan and the bottom of Pallavicini have been in the Early Riser Lot for several weeks. The buildings were manufactured in Grand Junction and shipped to A-Basin. Our team installed the shingles, siding, and wainscoting to match other contemporary buildings at the resort. The foundations for these buildings are ready. Using a very large crane, the buildings will be set in place later this week.

The Top of Pali lift op house is being custom built on site.


 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Friday, August 28, 2020

The Journey

The journey to the Top of Pali has begun.



 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Clear

With all the fires around the West, it has been a bit smoky. I think today was the clearest, most beautiful day in the last few weeks. Maybe the recent rain showers tapped the fires down a bit. Maybe the wind is from the right direction. Maybe the slightly cooler temperatures settled the fires down. Whatever the reason, today was awesome.



 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Wheels Up - Bike Trail Update

Last Summer we built Wheels Up, a mile of flowy, fun downhill bike trail on the lower half of the Lower Mountain. A number of you checked it out in September and October. It was a blast. Our intention was to finish the trail and have a great downhill ride from Black Mountain Lodge to the Base Area. When the COVID-19 closure hit and we had to re-think our capital projects, this was one we pushed off to Summer 2021.

To complicate matters a little more, Wheels Up feeds right into the Pallavicini and Molly Hogan construction projects so it has been closed for the Summer. Our intention next summer is to re-open what we have already built and to finish Wheels Up to Black Mountain Lodge.

Over the next couple summers we have plans to build a loop on the Upper Mountain also. The trails have already been designed and laid out by Joey Klein of IMBA Trail Solutions. Combining both the Upper and Lower Mountain trails, we will have a really special 12-13 mile loop with about 1700' of climbing and descding. The descent will be spectacular crossing The Beavers, Pallavicini and North Glade. It will be cool.



 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Bit Of Rain

We finally had a bit of rain this afternoon and evening. We can sure use it.  Fire fighters across the state can really use the rain to slow things down. I think tomorrow afternoon's forecast call for even more rain. Bring it on.

 

Monday, August 24, 2020

Top Terminal Steel

We have some steel set at the top of Pali. The bullwheel is next.


 

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Tower 6 New Pali

All the concrete work is done for the new Pallavicini Lift. This photo is of the Tower 6 foundation. Just below this foundation is site of old Tower 9 at the top of Turbo. The new lift has fewer towers than the old. For some reason, when Yan built lifts, he counted the bottom terminal as Tower 1 and the first actual tower as Tower 2.


Saturday, August 22, 2020

A Change On Blog Comments

I will be making a change to the blog today. The comment section will be removed, but there will be a direct email link to me. More than ever, I want to hear your questions and comments. Via email, I think we can do this more productively. The blog does go automatically to the Arapahoe Basin Facebook page. If you still want to make public comments, you can do it there. Thanks. I look forward to hearing from you.



Friday, August 21, 2020

Low Country Boil

Low Country Boil.  Beautiful. Gulf shrimp. Chesapeake Bay blue crab. Kielbasa. Olathe corn. Lenawee and Black Mountains for a backdrop. Lucky.

 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Half Moon Trail - Open

The Half Moon Trail is open for your hiking pleasures. No bikes on this trail - hiking only. The trail starts from the Argentine North Fork Trail just below Black Mountain Lodge at tree line. It is beautiful. The first part is very easy and wanders through meadows and forest with stunning views of the East Wall and the Upper Mountain. A quarter mile into it, the trail gets a little steeper as it winds its way to Half Moon Vista. The views from there are extraordinary. Eventually, we will build a trail from the Vista to the west connecting to the Upper Summer Road and future Trail #5.

A perfect 2-3 hours - ride Black Mountain Express, do a round trip hike to Half Moon Vista, eat lunch at Black Mountain Lodge or The 6th Alley.

 View from Half Moon Vista