Thursday, April 30, 2015

POW - Protect Our Winters

This past Saturday, POW (Protect Our Winters) worked with Clif Bar, Smartwool and RMU Skis (Rocky Mountain Underground) to support carpooling at Arapahoe Basin. The first few hundred carpoolers and bus riders received a pair of Smartwool socks and Clif Bars. RMU did a raffle for an especially sweet looking custom pair of "Rocky Mountain Underground" craft skis. Thanks to all four of these organizations for encouraging all of us to be better stewards of the environment. 

POW’s mission is to unite and actively engage the global snow sports community to lead the fight against climate change.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Columbine Spring

If you like skiing soft, spring groomers, Columbine and Larkspur in Montezuma Bowl are about as good they get right now. I dropped into the Bowl just about mid-day. The timing was perfect and the skiing was so smooth. I also found some really good skiing on Pali Face. The Black Mountain Lodge deck was not a terrible place to hang out either.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Today was a beautiful day, but it will be really hard to top yesterday. It was one of those magical, Spring powder days. Enjoy these Tim Finnigan photos.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Skiing Corner

I think the minute I finished yesterday's post, it stopped snowing. Oh well. I thought we were going to get more. That said, today's skiing is pretty incredible. This video of skiing Corner Chute says it all.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Another Sunday Stroll

We had 4 inches of new snow overnight. We had a little lull in the morning and about 10 AM it started snowing again. Kay and I were there almost first thing (10 minutes late). We took a few spins on the North Side and then she dragged me up the Willy's Staircase three times. We skied Willy's Wide, Snorkelnose, and Corner Chute. It was all good and Corner Chute was incredible. Soft, lightly tracked, bottomless. Pretty cool.

It is still snowing heavily. The forecast for tonight is still very promising. I think Monday morning is going to be the BIG POWDER DAY of this storm. I'll be there when Pali opens.

  A Sunday Stroll

Saturday, April 25, 2015

More Squalls

The Spring weather predictably continues in its unpredictable manner. The skiing was very nice today. It snowed heavily for a while which was immediately followed by sunshine while the next wave of snow is threatening. You gotta' love it. The forecast looks good into Monday. I am expecting at least a couple more powder days.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Spring Squalls and More Snow

We are in that spring pattern of unsettled weather. Over the last few days we have seen several afternoon squalls blow through the area. Yesterday morning we reported 2" of new snow that came in fast and hard Wednesday night. Sometimes these squalls surprise us with a few inches or more of snow. It looks like we might have a reasonable storm developing for Saturday night / Sunday / Monday. Let's keep an eye on this one. As these pictures indicate, the coverage and the skiing is still quite good.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Summit Stage

Summit County's local bus service, The Summit Stage is still running on weekends through Sunday, May 24.  That day happens to be Arapahoe Basin's "Festival of the Brewpubs."  Riding the bus is a great and easy way to get to The Basin and avoid traffic hassles. I am not sure if we will see traffic this weekend like we did last weekend, but riding The Stage is a great way to take the edge off those busiest of days.

The "Swan Mountain Flyer" route runs between Breckenridge, Keystone and A-Basin. Heading towards The Basin, the bus leaves Breckenridge Station at 20 minutes after the hour and starts at 7:20 AM.  Heading towards The Basin, the bus leaves River Run at Keystone on the hour and starts at 7:00 AM. Heading back down valley, the  bus leaves Arapahoe Basin 10 minutes after the hour and the last bus leaves at 5:10 PM.

There are so many reasons that riding The Stage is good. You can save fuel and money. You can be nice to the environment and cut your carbon footprint. You avoid parking problems on the busiest days. It is easy and relaxing. I encourage all of you to ride the bus every once in a while especially on busy days.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

8:01 PM And Snowing

There just might be a little treat in store tomorrow morning.

Happy Earth Day

Sha and Mike of our Sustainability Team have organized a fun evening in The 6th Alley tonight. Come join us at 6 PM. $25 gets you dinner and a beer and 4 movies, "A Winter North: Skiing the Sacred Headwaters,"  "I Am Red," "Hidden Rivers," and "Chasing Water." As you can tell, the theme is water. Proceeds from the event benefit Snowriders International (, a group of skiers and riders committed to promoting winter sports and protecting the environment.

You can find more details on our website. Don't miss the fun.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

June 7

Since it started snowing last Thursday, we have received 31" of new snow. I am planning on skiing June 7 and you should too.

So each year we make a plan and a budget for the season. That includes an opening and closing day and a whole lot more. For about the last decade we have been targeting the first Sunday of June for closing day. This year that happens to be June 7. Prior to this storm I was confident we would be open until June 7. After this storm there is very, very little doubt we will be open June 7. Who knows, if the snow is good and people keep skiing, we may stay open beyond June 7. Time will tell.

32 of the last 34 ski seasons we have been open in June. 6 of those 34 seasons we were open into July and in 1995 we stayed open until August 10. At the end of March our year to date snowfall was 92% of average. April snowfall has been good and we anticipate little trouble making June 7.

Our scheduled closing date is June 7.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Two More Hikes

This might sound a little repetitive, but my daughter dragged me out on The Wall for two more hikes today. We went through The North Pole Gate and hiked to the Narrow North Pole entrance. The ridgeline was rocky and you had to hike where you normally can traverse on skis. We dropped into East Vertical Cornice and it was just dreamy. Great skiing and totally the opposite of the rocky ridge top. We followed that with a Willy's hike and a Booger ski. Just perfect. I was too whooped and had to bail, but she did another Willy's hike and skied Corner Chute. She said I really blew it by bailing.

About The Parking - Tips For A Busy Day

Saturday was a big day at The Basin. It snowed most of the day. Many parts of the mountain, The East Wall, Lenawee Parks, North Glade and Columbine, have their best conditions of the season. The skiing was awesome and, literally, thousands of people had a very special day. Same on Sunday.

That said, more people showed up Saturday than we had parking for. To top that off, the highways were a mess with many delays causing lots of frustration for people. A few people left pissed. I feel bad for them and have a few travel tips that may really help.

In the spring, we sometimes have a day where we get a lot of new snow, the skiing is incredible, many or all other ski areas are closed, and more people show up than we have parking for. This happened Saturday and it happened last season May 11 (which was also an awesome ski day).

On really busy days, I encourage people to arrive early by 10:30 or 11:00 or wait until 1:00. I know that not everyone is an early riser. If you like to sleep in, do so. Drive into the mountains. There are plenty of great restaurants in Idaho Springs, Georgetown, Dillon, Silverthorne, and Keystone to have lunch. Show up at The Basin about 1:00, get a good parking spot, enjoy a great day of skiing (these days are always linked to great conditions), have an early dinner in The 6th Alley, and drive home after the traffic has lightened up.

Now you wouldn't show up at Red Rocks for a big concert without tickets, drop in a downtown Denver hotel on a busy Saturday night without a reservation, or expect great seats at a pivotal Broncos game without tickets. No, you'd plan ahead. On these great days at The Basin you should also plan ahead. You should arrive early or arrive late. On a really special Spring Day, you should plan ahead just like you would for a game, a concert, or a busy hotel.

The Basin is a truly wonderful place full of wonderful people, both guests and employee. With a little bit of planning, you can enjoy it just about any day of the year.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

No Doubt - Best Run Of The Season

What an incredible Busman's Holiday ski day. Kay and I started this powder day skiing with a couple of old, close friends, CeCe and Terry Pfeiffer. Terry preceded me as Patrol Director at The Basin in the mid-eighties. He is now the President of Winterplace Ski Resort in West Virginia. We took several beautiful runs in the North Glade, Standard, International zone. Good snow, good fun, good friends.

The East Wall opened mid-morning. The Ski Patrol did an A+ job managing the snow out there through this storm. Ski Patroller Nikos, AKA "Kos", set a staircase through deep snow in Willy's Wide. We joined a couple of other friends for a hike there and dropped into Booger. Without a doubt, the best run of the season for me. Deep, un-tracked, face shots, clean, and as good as it gets. Too bad I don't have the patience or the skill to be a good ski-action photographer. The run was so fantastic we hopped on Lenawee, hiked the Willy's staircase again, and dropped into Snorkelnose for double the fun. It was only "one of the best runs" of the season.

This storm has been extraordinary and we may have an additional week or two of unsettled weather.

8 +8 + 8 = 2 Feet

Yep, with 8 inches new this morning we have reported 2 feet of snow over the last 3 mornings. 8 inches Friday morning. 8 inches Saturday morning. 8 inches Sunday morning............And it is snowing right now. Today will be another good one.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I Think Today Was Even Better

With another 8 inches of new snow today, I think the skiing was even better. I have to be honest. I got tied up in the parking lots and didn't get to ski. The day was a mix of a little bit of sunshine and lots of additional snowfall. Kay took 3 good hikes on The Wall and said every turn had face shots. I look forward to the Sunday morning snow report and several more days of snowy weather.

Friday, April 17, 2015

And It Was Superb

It just dumped all morning long. The skiing was absolutely fantastic. With the Northeast winds, there were some surprises. The normal "go tos" like The Spine and The Face were scoured, but just about everything else on the North Side in the trees was awesome. A few other notable places with extremely high quality skiing were Lenawee Parks, Black Bear, and Long Chute. With all this new snow, all kinds of "Old A-Basin" folks were crawling out of the woodwork. Another really fun day to be here.

Snowing Heavily

This is a great start to the storm. 8 inches of new snow overnight, plus 1 more from yesterday morning. At dawn, I would classify the weather as blizzard conditions. Snow is expected to continue to fall until Monday. Leave that silly bike in the garage and grab some spring powder turns. Very, very often, some of the best powder days of the season happen in late April and early May. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015


The heavy snow is supposed to hit this evening. It has been snowing most of the day with a few sun breaks in there. We have had about 5 inches so far. The wind is blowing moderately out of the Northeast (a less common wind direction). We are seeing drifts in some unusual places. My fingers are crossed for tomorrow morning's snow report.

Successful Enduro

Turned out to be a great Enduro. The skiing was better than expected. There were plenty of happy participants. A 9-year old skied 57 runs.

The apres' ski event in The 6th Alley was a huge hit. The place was packed. The fund raising elements for Maddie and various cancer foundations were successful (not sure we have counted it all up yet). Maddie spoke to the crowd and there were not very many dry eyes when she was done. I think everyone there felt really good about being part of this community.

.............And it has started snowing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Leading Edge

Interesting storm coming our way. Today was a very warm and very good day of spring skiing at The Basin. After work, I skinned up High Noon and Griz Ridge to the Top of Pali. The blue skies were gone. The leading edge of the storm was over The Basin. It was windy and dark clouds were rolling in. Looking West I had that brooding sense of seriously changing weather. The forecast models are all over the place. We are going to get somewhere between a little and a whole lot of snow. I have emailed with meteorologists John Snook and Joel Gratz about the storm. I have read every forecast I can get my hands on. I even caught an interview on 9News with an NWS meteorologist about this storm. There is one common theme, "It is going to snow a lot...........somewhere." This should be very interesting for somebody. I hope it is us.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Enduro Party

Wednesday is the Arapahoe Basin Enduro. 35 two person teams will be out skiing laps on Pali from 7 AM to 5 PM. While a few of the fast teams are competitive with each other, most pairs are out there having a great time striving for personal bests.

The event is topped off with a rocking party in the A-Frame from 5 PM to 8 PM. Most Enduro participants will be in bed by about 6 PM, but the rest of us will be whooping it up. High Five will be singing and play. The F and B crew will be serving up a delicious Italian dinner. There will be a silent auction with all kinds of goodies. All proceeds go to Maddie Walton, a 23 year old A-Basin Guest Services employee that has been battling breast cancer the last year. Great fun for an even greater cause. Come join the fun.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Take A Look Around

Yesterday afternoon I was on the A-Frame deck talking to a few people that have been hanging around The Basin a long time. As you might expect, we were talking about our best runs of the day and how much fun we had. The kind of stuff that skiers talk about at the end of the day. One of women commented about just stopping for a minute and looking around and letting all the good stuff soak in. How true. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

North Pole Hiking

After taking a full lap around the ski area, The Spine, West Wall, Zuma Bowl, I found myself hiking the North Pole staircase. Good fun.  Most of the staircase is in pretty good shape. There a few holes that are tough to navigate. After getting to the top, I skied down the right side along the cliffs. Good snow and still full blown winter up there. I am starting to pay a little attention to this storm heading our way mid-week. Keep your eye on that one.