Saturday, February 22, 2020

Waking Up

Nothing like those first rays of sunshine hitting the Top O' Pali and the top of Little Lenawee Peak.



Friday, February 21, 2020

More Perfect Days

We have had a couple of really, really beautiful days. The skiing is superb. The forecast for Saturday, "mostly sunny with a high near 30." The forecast for Sunday, "the snow could be heavy at times." Again, everywhere I went today to snow was fantastic. Glockenspiel Glade, Columbine, The Spine - such a treat. This is a very good set up, sunny Saturday, snowy Sunday. I love it. What a great weekend for skiing and riding.


Thursday, February 20, 2020

Willie's Wide Hiking

Hiking season has begun on the East Wall. The Willie's Wide staircase opened Wednesday. Hikers enjoyed a tour up to Borgy Rock. The hike is terrible, long, steep and painful. At the same time, many folks, including me, think hiking the Willie's Staircase, soaking in the view and skiing one of its chutes, is the best and most intense experience at The Basin.


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Four Lanes Of Grooming In Zuma

The Cat Drivers (Operators) had a big, big night in Montezuma Bowl. The winch cat was going to town. They laid down four big, wide lanes of corduroy in Long Chute, Larkspur, Columbine and Northern Spy. There was a great view of the grooming riding up Zuma Lift. Even better, the grooming was a great ski heading down.


Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Summit View

I don't know what to say, today was another stellar day at The Basin. We reported 3" of new snow, most of which fell overnight. The sun was out. The snow was soft. I took several great runs. For a Tuesday, it was a fairly busy day and I was skiing un-tracked snow in Pioneer Willy in the middle of the afternoon. The East Wall was skiing well and I think the Willie's Wide and North Pole hiking isn't too far away.


Monday, February 17, 2020

Skiing Obscure Places

Today was another fine powder day with 6" new this morning and 2" yesterday. The skiing was superb. I spent the morning checking out some of the more obscure places in the ski area. There were runs in Peaceful Valley, The Bald Spot, Elephant's Trunk, Black Forest and The Crags. These are places found around the edges of the ski area. The vertical might not be quite as big and the window of prime skiing might be a little shorter.  But, when the time is right, these zones can be outstanding. This morning was one of those times. They are rarely visited and on a powder day, they are the last to be skied up. They were soft and deep and lightly tracked today.

Heading Down Elephant's Trunk

Sunday, February 16, 2020

5th Steep Gully

It was another powder day Sunday. As expected, the crowds were light. We reported 2" of new snow in the morning and it snowed all day. There are a few inches of snow sitting on the Flaming A webcam image as I write. North Side, Steep Gullies, Beavers, Dorsey's Downhill, you name it, the skiing was awesome. The merriment in Marnie's at the end of the day, even better !!

Enjoying the  5th Steep Gully

Saturday, February 15, 2020

More East Wall News

The same portion of the Wall that was open yesterday, was opened again today at about the same time. The Snow Safety Team spent most of the day aggressively managing the northern half of The Wall. An early morning avalauncher session brought down substantial slides in TJ's Cornice, Hershey's and Birthday Chutes. The storm that is rolling in right now could be pretty good. Having these big slide events in a closed and managed setting significantly reduces our avalanche concern. Opening status through this next storm will be day to day and hour and hour depending on what weather events actually happen. Generally speaking, the slides and another storm bode well for quality East Wall skiing.


Friday, February 14, 2020

East Wall Opened Today

The East Wall opened today about 1:45. The Ski Patrol has been working on it for weeks. They triggered one pretty big slide on the right flank of Corner Chute shown in the pictures below. The Patrol opened the area below the traverse out to the Hot-Cold Closure below Corner Chute. Especially in the early East Wall season, the area tends to open and close as conditions change. Another storm is brewing for Sunday and Monday that could impact conditions and the open/closed status.

I squeezed in a couple runs. It was my kind of fun.





Retiring Pallavicini Lift

As many of you already know, this is final season for the Pallavicini Lift. The current chair was built by Lift Engineering (YAN) in 1978. At the time, putting that lift in the North Side terrain was a very big and bold move. It has been a great chairlift, but right now it is like owning a car with 400,000 miles. The machine is still humming right along, but eventually, like a car, it has to replaced. We will be trading in this 1978 YAN fixed grip double chairlift with a capacity of 1,200 people per hour for a 2020 Leitner Poma fixed grip double chairlift with a capacity of 1,200 people per hour. While there is a heck of an argument to build a much bigger lift here, there is also an argument to replace Pali with the same type of lift. The Pali Lift and terrain work so well, we didn't want to mess with that little chunk of paradise. Looking back to 1978, I think Jon Reveal, Bob Maynard and John Rutter knew what they were doing when they built Pali.

So the next question is always, "What are we doing with the chairs?"  Well, we are going to sell about 100 of them. The majority them will be offered in a lottery sometime in May. The lottery will be very similar to the lottery we did for Norway a couple of years ago. Lottery details will be available in the coming weeks.

We are going to auction four of the chairs. The first chair will be auctioned at the Enduro Party April 8 in the 6th Alley. The second chair will be auctioned at the Pali Party, a going away dinner for the Pallavicini Chairlift April 25 at Black Mountain Lodge. The final two chairs will be auctioned online in May. All proceeds from the four Pallavicini chair auctions will be donated to the Summit Foundation, FIRC (Family and Intercultural Resource Center), Summit Community Care Clinic and a couple of A-Basin employees going through some significant medical challenges this season.

Pallavicini is an incredible chairlift. It is my favorite chairlift, anywhere. The new lift will be just as good and the spirit and culture and vibe of Pali will be as strong as ever.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Saturday Sunday Blackouts

Unfortunately for the Ikon Base Passholders, their passes are going to be blacked out this Saturday and Sunday. While the rest of the Colorado ski world is experiencing a busy holiday weekend, A-Basin will likely be churning along with a modest number of skiers. By holiday standards, it might even be quiet. With the recent 4 feet of snow, the blackout days and the looming East Wall opening, I think it is going to be one heck of a weekend.

There may be a decent storm shaping up for Sunday and Monday.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

East Wall Status

So a lot of work has been done on the East Wall. Today a crew worked its way down Willie's Wide. Yesterday morning there was extensive work done with the avalauncher. A team slogged their way up the Tree Chutes and made a big impact there and in the Y Chutes. Previously teams have been in North Pole and on the Traverse.  It is still too early to pick an opening date. There is definitely enough snow, especially below the traverse. Let's see how work progresses the next few days. Keep one eye on The Wall....................always.


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Day Turned Out Nicely

I took this photo about 1 PM on The Face today. 

Al's To Do List:
    -Check with Ski Patrol on East Wall status


Road Open - A-Basin Open

US Highway 6 is open and Arapahoe Basin is open. A CDOT front loader and an A-Basin front loader and snowcat punched a nice hole through the avalanche debris pile. While the last few days have been the best storm skiing of the season, today will definitely be the best sunny day skiing of the season. Thanks for your patience. Mother Nature can be a little tough sometimes, but she has delivered a beauty to us today.



A-Basin Operations Today

Despite the Widowmaker avalanche, we are actually having a beautiful morning. We have the Lift, Ski Patrol and Snow Cat crews on site working to open the ski area. While some of our employees are on the other side of the slide, we have enough people here to get the ski area ready. Once the highway does open, Arapahoe Basin will be open for normal operations. We will keep you posted on timing.

It is a beautiful morning up here. With 3" of new snow in today's report, we are at 46" over the last 5 days. The skiing is pretty darn good.


Widowmaker Slide

This morning CDOT was conducting avalanche mitigation work on the Widowmaker. Using a helicopter, CDOT deployed an explosive on the path creating an avalanche that deposited 6-8 feet of snow on US Highway 6 approximately one mile west of Arapahoe Basin. The highway is closed at this time. Crews from both CDOT and Arapahoe Basin are working to clear the highway. Exact time for the highway to re-open is unclear, but I estimate we are looking at a couple hours. I will keep posted as more information becomes available.






CDOT Avalanche Work

CDOT is conducting avalanche mitigation work on The Professor, Widowmaker and Grizzly Bowl. Right now the highway is closed. As soon as we get updated information, we will post it online. Stay tuned.


Monday, February 10, 2020

9" This Morning Makes 43" In 4 Days

This has been quite a storm......and we are not quite done yet. It snowed much of the day again today. There are a few inches of snow sitting by the Flaming A right now. Everywhere I went today the skiing was excellent, deep, deep powder. Even though we were busy for a Monday, I was still finding new snow in the middle of the afternoon. The mini hike up to Long Chute delivered all kinds of great skiing in the MGD zone, Jump and Elephant's Trunk. Tuesday should be a breathtaking sunny day. This storm was special.




Sunday, February 9, 2020

3 Feet - 3 Days

Actually, it is 34 inches in 3 days, but I was rounding. 5" of snow of fell after we closed the lifts yesterday and there is snow in the forecast for much of the day. It keeps getting better.


Saturday, February 8, 2020

Typical 15" Powder Day

Today was just your typical 15" (29" in 2 days) Saturday powder day. Some grey skies turned into sunny skies. We had a good turnout of skiers and riders. I did a little shoveling. I parked a few cars. Skied the 4th Steep Gully with the Ikon Pass POW "Road Icons Crew." I spent a wonderful hour with Alex, Tay, Thor and Johnny. They are a team with great spirit on a tour of  some of the best resorts in North America. After leaving them I had a little charcuterie and a latte at Il Rifugio. I spent another hour with various staff members debriefing on the day. In an hour Kay and I will hike up to Black Mountain Lodge for the Pacific Rim Moonlight Dinner. After hiking down and getting a good night's sleep we are going to have to spend Sunday skiing powder at The Basin. That's right, Sunday will be another powder day.

Arapahoe Basin is a pretty good place to hang out (and work).


15" Today - 29" In 2 Days


Friday, February 7, 2020

Big Snow Today

It was one heck of a day. It never stopped snowing. It never stopped blowing. We did have wind closures on the Upper Mountain. Pali Lift ran until early afternoon, but we shut her down due to winds. Those skiers and riders that enjoyed Black Mountain Express all day and Pali in the morning, had an amazing time. The bumps on Standard and Lower International were fully blown in. The skiing was soft and sweet.

Tomorrow looks to be really nice. It will be breezy, but way less than today. The sun will be out. The mountain is in phenomenal shape. Saturday night, the snow train might start running again.


Big Day Ahead - This Is Good


14" New This Morning


Thursday, February 6, 2020

Piling Up

It has been snowing all day and the intensity really picked up in the afternoon. It is pretty breezy. We have a few inches of snow piled up already. The forecast has been ramped up even further. The skiing is outstanding. Afternoon runs in the 3rd Alley, Face, Spine, North Glade and Standard were incredible. This is already exceptional and it is going to be way better. The next few days are going to be the kind of days you don't want to miss. It appears we are in one of those very memorable storm events. Take a deep breath. Leave home early. Drive very carefully. Don't miss this one.

......AND CARPOOL


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

This Could Be Good

So.......this storm appears to be shaping up. Starting tonight and going all the way to Friday night, the forecasts are starting to show a pretty good chance for a lot of snow. Some of you know, I am a little superstitious about getting excited from a big forecast. I am going to try and stay as calm as I can, but I am going to be watching this one very, very closely. This could be really good.


Sunday, February 2, 2020

Another Fun Sunday

Good skiing everywhere I went today. The Alleys, Waterfall, The Spine, Slalom Slope, North Glade and especially The Steep Gullies. There was a perfect wind blowing and buffing out the usual places. Monday and Monday night we should see some snowfall. Later in the week, we might see even more snowfall. I think the wind has prepped us well for the coming storms. It just keeps getting better.







Saturday, February 1, 2020

Blown Away

I have worked here for a while, but I never tire of how cool this place can. Today I was particularly blown away by the scene at Black Mountain Lodge. The deck was full with people having fun. The mountain was just being itself, a very cool and special place. Enjoy the pictures.