Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Different Sort of View

Had the day off yesterday and went for a hike from Loveland Pass.  Heading West on the Divide, there are some really nice views of The Basin, including a good view of The Beavers.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween Costume Party

Ramrod - Lenawee - Great Day

We opened Ramrod this morning.  I skied it a few times first thing this morning.  Really nice.  It is always good to spread people around a bit.  The snowmakers fired up on Lenawee Traverse last night.  That is the trail between Black Mountain Lodge and the bottom of Lenawee Mountain Lift.  I also walked up to Tower 7 Norway lift to get a lay of the land up there.  It was pretty white.  Most of the snowmaking equipment is in the right place now.  We will just keep plugging away until we can get Lenawee Lift open.

It was a bit overcast in the morning, but this afternoon the sun popped out and the place is beautiful.

Friday, October 26, 2012

6" From The Storm

This is an absolutely incredible day.  6" out of the storm, 4" this morning and 2" yesterday morning.  The sun keeps poking through. Lots of smiling faces.  We had a great last snowmaking night on Ramrod.  The snowmakers just got all of the equipment off the trail.  The cat drivers will have great time tonight pushing out those piles.  Saturday, you can look forward to skiing and riding Ramrod.  It is going to be a beautiful weekend.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Photo Op

Here is a photo taken from the hairpin about 12:30 today.

Ramrod - Saturday

There is a blizzard happening on Ramrod.  The snowmaking there is outstanding today. We are going to make snow there one more night to capitalize on these cold temps.  Friday and Friday night we will take the equipment off Ramrod. Friday night both Gerry and Scott are working and they will do major dozing job pushing the Ramrod piles. 

Ramrod will open for the public Saturday with some beautiful corduroy.

The crew has starting mobilizing snowmaking equipment on Lenawee Face and Dercum's Gulch.  Those trails along with Lenawee Mountain Lift are the next step.

And it is snowing right now.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Big Change Coming

It was just starting to snow when I left The Basin this afternoon.  The forecast is for a few inches of snow and really cold temps.  Snow is always good and let's hope the cold give us the opportunity to finish snowmaking on Ramrod.  This ought to be a good weekend.  Ramrod will likely be open, the sun should pop out, and we will have lots of people having fun.  Did I mention more snow and more terrain?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Master Development Plan - Accepted

The White River National Forest has accepted Arapahoe Basin's 2012 Master Development Plan (MDP).  The plan, in its entirety, can be viewed on our website at the link below.  The new plan consolidates information from previous plans and introduces new proposed projects including a zipline tour, a surface lift to access Montezuma Bowl, increased snowmaking reservoir storage, and lift served skiing in The Beavers. 

Please remember that acceptance of the MDP does NOT approve any of these projects.  Quoting myself, "Acceptance simply means we have a pretty good plan that appears consistent with the appropriate rules, regulations, laws, and policies."  In the coming months we will initiate the environmental analysis and approval process.  That process includes completion of an Environmental Impact Statement.  A-Basin stakeholders will have the opportunity to review the proposal and be a part of the public process.

I encourage you to read the entire document.  It is long and loaded with information.  Just reading bits and pieces will not give you the full picture.  Like always, I want to hear from those people affected by the plan.  Please share your thoughts and ideas  I want to hear all your comments, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Going Off

The High Divide Terrain Park has been very popular since opening.  Every time I slide by there, a ton of people are hanging out,  visiting with each other, and riding our 6 rails and boxes.  It is so important for us to have a Park scene here in the begginning of the season.  There ae so many riders that enjoy hanging out there.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ramrod Snowmaking

Sideslipped my way down Ramrod this afternoon.  We have made some decent snow there.  Thursday and Friday nights we had good snowmaking condtions.  Saturday night was OK.  The forecast the next 3 nights also looks OK for snowmaking.  Starting Wednesday night, we may see a very positive change.  It looks like some moisture and very cold weather.  That forecast has me optimistic for opening Ramrod by ________________.

Reflective Thoughts on Cell Coverage

I am not surprised there was so much interest and comment on the cell phone/wifi topic.  Over the years I have received lots of comments about our lack of cell coverage.  The majority of that feedback encouraged us to get cell coverage, but a chunk of the feedback relished not having coverage.  It strongly reminds me that A-Basin can be a lot of different things to different people.  When we talk about our culture or our vision at the ski area, the word "freedom" comes up a lot.  On the cell phone topic, freedom can really mean different things.  For some people, spending a day at the Basin is good because they have the freedom to get away from their phone.  Some people have to or want to stay in contact and cell coverage allows them to ski and still stay connected.  Others just like coverage to find their family and friends.  There is no right and wrong here.  That is just the way it is.  Being next to a major US Highway, we have always known cell coverage was coming.  Now it is almost here.  I know I won't carry my phone everywhere I go, but I certainly will carry at times.  In the end I hope this addition helps the people that want coverage and doesn't annoy the people that don't.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cell Phone / Wifi Update

The story of cell phones and wifi at A-Basin is long.  I will try and give the Reader's Digest version in a few paragraphs.

Right now there is very limited cell phone coverage at the ski area and our wifi ability is weak.  None of the cell carriers has a tower close by.  The hard communication line buried in the US Highway 6 shoulder is at its capacity.  The installation of a "backyard" cell system is not possible due to the hard line capacity issue.  Our wifi system is limited by the hard  line capacity.  That is why the wifi sometimes works and sometimes doesn't.  Any cell phone implementation requires a million or multi-million dollar investment. For years the cell carriers have looked at the area for increased coverage.  The question of having cell coverage here has never been "if", it has been "when."

So, ATT finally made the plunge and is installing cell phone repeaters at both the A-Frame and Black Mountain Lodge.  Additionally, they are installing a substantial repeater that connects to the communication infrastructure downvalley, overcoming the hard line capacity issues.  While I don't know exactly when, we should have ATT cell coverage at A-Basin sometime this season.  A major benefit to this program is that with the new repeater connecting downvalley, our overall capacity to communicate will grow VERY DRAMATICALLY.  Once the new cell phone system is online, we should have the ability to dramatically expand our wifi system.

The Hughes dishes you may have noticed have been around for about 3 years and they are part of the current wifi system.  I hope when the whole new system is working that they can go away.

Lastly, regarding RFID.  We would like to install RFID, but have a couple of very large challenges.  One, it is very expensive and two, there are significant technical challenges integrating our proposed RFID with Vail's RFID system.  While we are working on RFID and want to install it, I am not optimistic about a quick resolution.  Keep that pass available, sorry.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Aerial Photos

Enjoy these images of The Basin taken last week.  They were shot from the Flight for Life helicopter.

Skiing Ramrod

The snowmaking on Ramrod last night and this morning was awesome.  Cold with light winds.  About 11 PM last night I stopped at the hairpin above the ski area to check out the view.  Very cool watching all the snowguns working away.  We have 18 fan guns.  2 of those guns are permanently mounted on towers on High Noon.  The other 16 are portable.  We do not have any air/water guns or air compressors.  Opening High Noon we are able to use all 18 guns.  As the season progresses and water is less available, we use less guns.  Last night we were focused on Ramrod only and had 11 guns working.  As we move to the Upper Mountain, we will use 10-16 guns per evening depending on water availability, temps, priorities, wind, etc.

Oh yeah, that is Ben Moton, Lift Operations Manager.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ramrod - Next Moves

Snowmaking last night had a split focus.  About half of the equipment was on High Noon, putting the finishing touches on that trail.  The other half of the equipment has been moved to Ramrod.  Starting tonight, all of the snowmaking energy will be focused on Ramrod and the base area. Our next major goal is to have two trails accessible from Black Mountain Express.  Once Ramrod is open, we will move our focus to Dercum's Gulch and Lenawee Face opening the Lenawee Mountain Chairlift.

Thanks to everyone that joined us yesterday.  That was a very nice start to the season.