Saturday, April 30, 2016

8 Inches, Music and a Big Base

What a great way to close out April. The storm finally delivered with 8 very nice inches of snow and a very kind and gentle wind. Personally, I got a little tied up in the parking lots this morning, but mountain reports described outstanding skiing especially on the Upper East Wall and Montezuma Bowl. The mid mountain base was 80 inches deep this morning, the biggest of the season. Coral Creek delivered an excellent afternoon music session on our new stage and the place was crawling with happy people.

It was a very big day and there was a couple of hours when the parking was full. Thanks to all of you that patiently made it up. As always, my typical weekend message is to carpool or take the Summit Stage and ARRIVE EARLY OR LATE. Thanks for a beautiful day everyone.

You know, there are a couple of storms brewing for the first week of May.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Willy's Staircase - Booger

While the storm hasn't quite played out with as much snow as we expected, the skiing is still improving by the hour. It has been snowing at a light to medium rate all day. I just did a hike up the Willy's Staircase and traversed through the Snorkel Door over to Booger. Excellent. It was probably 5 or 6 inches deep in there with a super consistent and soft surface underneath leading to very sweet turns. Let's keep our fingers crossed for a strong finish to this storm

Thursday, April 28, 2016

From A Green Skier's Perspective

I enjoyed a quick after work skin up Lower Sundance and Upper Wrangler to Black Mountain Lodge. Cruising up those green trails there are some particularly dramatic views of Black and Lenawee Mountains. Always a joy to take in.

Have you looked at the forecast? The big snow may be starting tonight.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Adding Up

The April snowfall is starting to add up. With 37 inches of snow since April 16 and 7 inches the last four mornings, conditions are steadily improving. The forecast Thursday through Saturday is looking pretty good and it is snowing right now. I see some more very good East Wall hiking sessions in our future as well as a lot of plain old good Colorado spring skiing.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Weekend Sunrise

The new webcam on the Summit continues to generate fantastic images. Here is Saturday's sunrise at 6:06 AM.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Polynesian Luau Randonee Dinner

Last night we hosted a full house for the first ever Polynesian Luau Randonee Dinner at Black Mountain Lodge. Guests endured an intense Spring squall as they trekked their way up the Lower Mountain. At some point the squall passed and the sun popped out. Only to be followed by another intense squall upon arrival at BML.

Inside everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner with pork and tuna and lots of good stuff. Throughout the evening Polynesian dancers entertained the crowd. Immediately after dessert, the party moved outside for an excitting fire dance on the deck. There was a smile on every face. By this time the skies had cleared and the moon was preparing to crest the East Wall. Walking down the hill, we enjoyed brilliant moonlight on The Professor, Loveland Pass and the No Name region. And you thought you had seen everything at The Basin. I think Chef Rybak is going to have to do this one again.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Willy's Wide

The Willy's Wide hike is drawing a lot of attention these days. The bottom image shows several people climbing the staircase. The views along the way and at the top are  exceptional. The skiing down isn't too bad either. The trail is named after former University of Denver Ski Team Coach, A-Basin Ski School Director, and Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame member Willy Schaeffler.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Norway and a Carpool Reminder

I am not sure if Norway can look better than this. Again, kudos to the Snowcat Drivers.

I have another weekend carpool reminder. Sporadically through the season we will have a few very busy days. We had one last Sunday. Even on these big days, the mountain is still not that busy, but the parking can be limited. So, I  encourage folks on the weekends to carpool or ride the Summit Stage. The Stage will continue to run Saturdays and Sundays through May 29. On these days, I encourage people to arrive before 11 AM or after 1 PM.

And, tomorrow, Saturday, April 23, A-Basin is partnering with POW (Protect Our Winters) in the "Smart Wool for Smart Riders" program. The first 200 cars to arrive with three or more people in them will get a free pair of Smart Wool socks for each passenger. So, carpool, reduce parking challenges, get a free pair of socks and be kind to Mother Nature.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Early Avalanche Days - Dale Gallagher

Dale Gallagher was a pioneer and prominent US Forest Snow Ranger in the early days of ski area development. Dale Atkins shared this photo of Dale G taken February 5, 1961 by a Denver Post photographer. The image shows Dale G teaching an avalanche course at A-Basin. I had the pleasure of meeting Dale G a few times back in the late 80's shortly before he passed away. He was a wonderfully kind gentleman and spoke glowingly of his times at A-Basin in the 60's. His stories of early avalanche work were particularly fascinating. Much of the basic knowledge and understanding of avalanche mitigation was learned (often the hard way) by folks like him. We owe Dale Gallagher and his peers from that era so much.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Upper East Wall

Life is pretty good when you have two feet of new snow and the Upper East Wall is open.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

25 Inches So Far

This has been an extraordinary Spring storm. Yes, we received 25 inches of new snow the last two days. I know Saturday was rough for some people. I apologize to everyone that had planned to be here that day and was not able to enjoy the snow.

This morning we did open all lifts and most of the terrain. The skiing was tremendous, especially in those places favored by the storm. The Ski Patrol is hard at work getting the East Wall ready. Most importantly, this snow is really setting us up for an EVEN better (and longer) spring.  Great, great, great news.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

15 Inches and One Seriously Windy Day

We don't see days like this very often. The great news was 15 inches of snow at report time and lots more that followed. The bad news was heinous winds, too windy to open most of the day. Black Mountain Express was open for the last hour and fifteen minutes. Here is a picture of the Ski Patrol in the morning.We have every intention of opening at normal times tomorrow. We will see what Mother Nature brings. She can be tough sometimes.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Enduro photos from Dave Camara

Dave Camara has generously uploaded all of his professional photos from the Enduro to be shared with the greater A-Basin community. Please give him a shout out if you post these on your social media pages.

The photos are here:

We think we raised over $20,000 so far and we're still accepting donations on our website ( The vintage Pallavicini trail sign was a big auction item, selling for $2,400.

Some select photos:

 Deadhead Ed's 27th Enduro.

Zuma Grooming

The grooming in Montezuma Bowl is in absolutely top form. It is amazing how much work the Cat Drivers have done back there since December. This annual project starts with catching snow piles with snow fences and having the Cat Drivers push and connect the piles. The piles turn into paths and the paths turn into ski trails. This past week, Columbine and Larkspur were buffed and smooth and the trails were wide, wide, wide. The Drivers work at night and we don't see them that much, but they are a critical link to creating these tremendous ski trails.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

And They're Off.........

2016 Enduro - Dave and Amanda, this one is for you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


The Enduro, A-Basin's grueling 10 hour ski event, is tomorrow. All proceeds from this year's event will go to Dave Repsher and his family. Dave is a flight paramedic and Copper Mountain ski patroller. He was critically injured in last summer's Flight for Life helicopter crash and remains hospitalized. Come enjoy this fun event and put a few bucks towards a good cause.

While participation slots in the event itself sold out within a few hours, there are other ways to be a part of the Enduro. You can just come watch. You can participate in the new Enduro Light, a non-competitive, easy, less intensive ski tour of A-Basin. You will get a chance to find hidden secrets and fun facts about The Basin. You can register for this on our website.

Lastly, come to the Apres Ski Party in the A-Frame. Food and cheer will go alongside an extensive silent auction and a great party. Hope you can make it.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Final Rando Race

Tonight we held our final Randonee (or ski mountaineering) Race of the season. 32 athletes headed up the hill just after the lifts closed. The course had lots of ups and down and criss-crossed around the mountain. Participants ranged from hard core endurance athletes to recreationist enjoying a snow showery evening on the hill. Our Rando Race Series through the season has been successful and full of fun.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Colorado Ski Patrol Convention

Today Arapahoe Basin hosted the annual Colorado Ski Patrol Convention. A few hundred patrollers from around the state gathered for some good fun, a few serious sidebars and lots of (mostly) friendly competition. There were GS Races, toboggan races, obstacle courses, bamboo throwing contests and East Wall staircase races. Chef Rybak cooked them up sausages, shrimp and crayfish. There were even free mullet haircuts. While A-Basin is just getting rolling, most patrollers around the state are either done or almost done for the season. All of us owe this group a big thank you for another fine winter. They make everyday happen at all of our ski areas. 

I think they had fun.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Basin Faces

Maybe the best helmet ever.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Beer Maker's Dinner - Sierra Nevada

Friday, April 15 Chef Rybak and crew are hosting their final "6th Alley Supper Club" dinner of the season. This one happens to be a Sierra Nevada Beer Maker's Dinner. Chris will be working closely with the brewers pairing his dishes with select Sierra Nevada beers. The menu includes goat cheese stuffed peppers, fresh Alaskan halibut ceviche with avocado, braised bison short ribs and toasted coconut s'mores whoopie pie. Beer tasting includes "Otra Vez" Gose Style Ale, Bourbon Barrel Aged Narwhal and more. Don't miss this one. Reservations can be made on our website.