Monday, October 6, 2008

You Know What Happens in October

Winter has finally arrived at the Basin. Although we have had some snow patches up high since mid-September, last night was our first cold snowmaking weather. In addition to getting a couple of inches naturally, the snowmakers fired up the system and kicked off the snowmaking season. Attached is a photo I took this morning. Daily I am asked, "When are you opening?" Well the answer is "Just as soon as we can." We will be making snow every chance we get now. Keep your fingers crossed for cold, snowy weather. And of course, the RACE with Loveland is ON.

Recently, I have become a webcam fanatic. We just added a new one at Snow Plume Refuge. The view of the Upper Mountain and the East Wall is tremendous. Be sure to get on line and check it out. Lots of white stuff up there.

The tunnel and parking projects are going well. The parking addition should be substantially complete by the time we open. We expect the pedestrian tunnel to open about mid-November. Parking will be different this season. Be sure to check out the map my "Summer at A-Basin" blog. All of the Upper Parking Lots will be connected now. The old entrance to the High Noon Lot becomes exit only. All of the Upper Parking will be accessed at the old entrance to Last Chance Lot. I know changes are sometimes hard for you "seasoned" A-Basin veterans, but these changes will be good. There are a lot more parking spots, the flow will be smoother, and you won't have to walk on the highway anymore.

Well, the snowmakers will be here in a couple hours. Tonight should be cold. Keep your fingers crossed for cold and snowy weather. You know what happens in October. Here we go.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Summer at A-Basin

Hello Everyone. It has been quite a summer at Arapahoe Basin. First it was warm and dry, then it was grey and rainy, and finally last Saturday we had several inches of snow on the Summit. I am not sure if that was the last storm of last season or the first storm of this season. Anyway, that August white stuff lets us know it is time to start getting ready. I want to personally thank each and everyone one of you that came and experienced Montezuma Bowl last winter. It was certainly the biggest and most exciting project we have taken on.

Welcome to our new website. There are many e-improvements and I hope you will find it easier to navigate and loaded with more of the information you need. Let me know what you think!

New Arapahoe Basin features for the 2008/09 season include:

-2,000 square foot deck on the South Side of Black Mountain Lodge with great views and that classic Arapahoe Basin scene.
-Expansion of Arapahoe Sports in the A-Frame providing more room and more great Arapahoe Basin “stuff”.
-Snowmaking on Sundance making the early season beginner skiing and riding better sooner.
-Glading Eureka in Montezuma Bowl for better skiing and riding.
-500 additional feet of snowfences in Montezuma Bowl to better catch and manage snow.

Of course the biggest news for this summer is our parking and tunnel expansion. There will be nearly 300 more spaces this year than last. Some of it will be quite different for you old timers. High Noon, Last Chance, and the Highway Lots are all connected now and collectively call Upper Parking. The access to all of the Upper Parking will be through the old entrance to Last Chance. What had been the entrance to High Noon is now the Exit for the Upper Parking. This change not only helps us control traffic better, but it will help clear the severe congestion that happened around the entrance to High Noon.

Technically, our most challenging project is the new pedestrian tunnel connecting High Noon Lot to the Base Area. All of the pedestrian traffic that used to be on Highway 6 in this area should be eliminated. Those of you that head for the A-Frame upon arrival at the ski area will find parking in High Noon to be the preferred alternative. It will be a short, easy walk “UNDER THE HIGHWAY”. This is going to be cool.

The last big piece to this puzzle is our new shuttle buses. We have ordered two 30 person four wheel drive shuttle vehicles to get people from outer parking areas into the base area in a hurry. Attached is a map showing how the new parking, tunnel, and shuttles will work.

No doubt parking was a pain for all of us last year. I think these changes will help everyone. We are deeply committed to 1) providing enough parking for our guests, 2) creating a system that is easy to use, 3) Dramatically reducing problems on Highway 6, and 4) and most importantly, getting pedestrians off the highway.

Last year was great. I think this year will be even better. I look forward to getting the place open in a couple of months and seeing old friends. See you soon.

Here are some image of the new deck at Black Mountain Lodge:

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Closing Day

Well, it is June 8, 2008, closing day at Arapahoe Basin for the 2007/08 season. My day started with heavy snow falling about 7 AM. I spent the first 30 minutes shoveling 2" of new snow off the decks and walkways. What a great way to finish the season. The Early Riser Lot is just about full and the sun has popped out. After writing this, I am heading up the mountain to make the last turns of the season and have lunch at Black Mountain Lodge. I imagine I will finish the day with friends sharing a cold one on the A-Frame deck. Not a bad day.

This has been an amazing season. October 10, 2007 to June 8, 2008, 243 days, 8 months of skiing. Although the snow was a little slow starting, once it did get going, it never stopped. Opening Montezuma Bowl was the biggest and most exciting event at Arapahoe Basin in decades. This season had hundreds of great runs, but in my thoughts, there are a dozen epic powder lines in Zuma with face shots every turn. Thanks to all of you who came this season and were a part of exciting experience.

As always, I want to hear from you. Tell me what you like and don't like. We learn from everything you say. Whether your comments are about our people, grooming, lifts, food, the future, or the past, we want to know what you are thinking. Thanks again to all of you for a great season. We will spend the next week closing down and putting gear away. We have some great projects planned for the summer including parking additions, the pedestrian tunnel under the highway, a big deck on the South Side of Black Mountain Lodge, and snowmaking improvements on the Lower Mountain. We are investing substantially in our IT Systems and our website. I hope next season you will our website friendlier and easier to use, especially the e-store. Most of us here will enjoy the summer riding our biking, floating some rivers, enjoying outdoor music, and dozens of other summer activities. This past (8 month) winter has been fantastic. I hope you have enjoyed yourselves as much as we have enjoyed spreading the vibe of this extraordinary place. Keep in touch and it won't be long until we are firing up those snow guns. Take care.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Al's Blog February 26, 2008

We have had fifteen inches of snow over the last two days. Wow. I spent yesterday morning skiing Slalom Slope and Montezuma Bowl. I think those were the best snow conditions of the year. I was still getting face shots in North Chute at noon. Today might be even better. Incredible. We opened the East Wall for the first time about a week and half ago. The recent new snow will make the riding out there extraordinary. As I write this morning, I am listening to the avalanche crew on the radio as they develop their East Wall control plans. It is going to be good

Although our weekends have still been busy, the parking frenzy seems to have mellowed out a bit. I want to thank all of you that have been riding the Summit Stage. I have seen several full bus loads. Public transportation is good for all of us. Also thanks to all of you that are carpooling and getting here early.

I did get a fair bit of feedback the last few weeks. I certainly appreciate hearing from you. As I said before, I am hoping to hear your thoughts, both good and bad, about how we are doing. If you have ever found yourself wondering, “Why in the heck do they do it that way”, please ask. I look forward to seeing you up here soon. Remember personal days were designed with powder days in mind. Take care.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Al’s Blog

Alan Henceroth - COO and Vice President

Greetings from Arapahoe Basin

With all the events and activities going on around Arapahoe Basin the last few years, I thought starting a blog might give the Basin faithful a chance to ask me questions and give me feedback about how we are doing. The last year around here has been extremely exciting. In March we opened Black Mountain Lodge at Midway. More and more skiers and riders are finding their way up there and seem to be enjoying the great food and spectacular views. This season started October 10 when we were the first ski area in the country to open. The biggest news has been opening Montezuma Bowl January 11. The skiing back there has been great and with every inch of snow it will only get better.

The Good News

Our two recent big projects, Montezuma Bowl and Black Mountain Lodge, were designed to provide special opportunities for people and to really spread skiers and riders out and away from the base area. Although we have been extremely busy, the mountain has felt relatively quiet and people can find a table at lunchtime. Our biggest objective is to preserve that special feel people have when skiing and riding at The Basin. Mountain and Base Area wise, I think we are on track to spreading people out and keeping the quality of experience high.

The Bad News

Between 10:00 AM and Noon on Saturdays and Sundays, we have some parking problems. This past summer we added about 100 spots to the High Noon Lot. For next summer we are finalizing a plan to substantially add more parking spots, move pedestrians around more effectively and to get those pedestrians off the highway. For now however, I think we are going to have to deal with the challenges we face. I do have a few ideas you can do to help us deal with the parking issues.

-On Saturdays and Sundays try to avoid arriving between 10:00 AM and Noon. We have been filling the lots on those two days at about 10:30. The morning crowd starts leaving about Noon opening up plenty of spots. If you are not an early riser, enjoy the morning, go out for brunch and then come to the Basin for a great afternoon of un-crowded skiing.

-CARPOOL, CARPOOL, CARPOOL. All of our parking issues would go away with just a little bit of carpooling. Try to avoid one person per vehicle. It is good for the environment, it saves money, it helps I-70, and it frees up a lot of parking at The Basin. Anyone arriving in a vehicle with four or more people can get a $41 lift ticket at the Ticket Office. Go to

-If you are already in Summit County, take the Summit Stage and avoid all kinds of hassles. The Swan Mountain Flyer is a direct bus from Breckenridge, Farmer’s Corner, Summit Cove, and River Run at Keystone. Connections from other Summit County locations are possible. Go to for a detailed schedule.

A Special Thanks

As I find myself halfway through my twentieth year at Arapahoe Basin, I love the place more than ever. What makes it special is the extraordinary mountain setting and the incredible people, both employees and guests, that are here. Thanks to all of you for coming and creating the Arapahoe vibe. I look forward to hearing from you.