Monday, December 31, 2018

Top of Pali

An atypical, although very cool, view of the Top of Pali. 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Basin View

Just another great view out in the Beavers.

The Knolls

Here is a nice picture looking down into The Knolls (and a whole lot of other terrain). The cat drivers have begun dozing and grooming a path that will ultimately connect with Norway and Dercum's Gulch. It beautiful and sweet skiing line that we call Dorsey's Downhill, named after ace cat driver Gerry Dorsey.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Glockenspiel Glade

Glockenspiel Glade is rapidly becoming a fan favorite in the Beavers. Starting just at timberline west of Loafer, the trail has some very nicely spaced trees on north facing terrain. While never terribly steep, it does have some fun and rolling pitches. Good snow and good terrain.

When we say Glockenspiel, a few of you think of a xylophone type musical instrument. I know the A-Basin old-timers are thinking of something different. Glockenspiel Glade was the original name of Powderkeg. When Ralston Purina bought the place in 1978, the name was changed. With the Beavers, we tried to bring back some of that original nomenclature.

Zuma Cornice and Loafer Entrances

One of the real treats of the new lift and terrain is enjoying new vantage points. Each time I ride The Beavers Lift I seem to catch something new. Being 30 feet up in the air gives us a perspective that we haven't seen before. I particularly enjoy this view looking down the entrances to Zuma Cornice and Loafer.

Friday, December 28, 2018


The Solarium is the depression wedged between the top of Lenawee Lift, the top of Zuma Lift and the Lazy J Rope Tow. It is a naturally occurring hole that catches a whole lot of snow. Above the tow, there is a cornice that the patrollers "kick" during and after storm events. The snowcat drivers frequently farm snow out of its eastern side. In early Summer, there can be a small pond of water in the lowest point. From just about anywhere along its rim, the view is pretty nice.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

New Goggles

After 40 years, Gentling finally bought some new goggles.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Micro Hike - Long Chute

Long Chute has been skiing exceptionally well with very soft, carve-able snow. Upon unloading either the Lazy J or Zuma Chairlift, skiers and riders can hike 5 minutes to the top of Long Chute. With the exception of the Upper East Wall, this is the highest starting point for any of our trails. It also has one of our longest, most consistent fall lines. ..........On top of that, it is a really fun ski.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Happy Holidays

All of us at The Basin would like to wish everyone that skis, rides, hangs out here or dreams of hanging out here, a very Happy Holiday.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Steady Light Snow

We have had a steady, light snowfall all day. I got skiing for a couple of  hours and found good snow on Loafer, Davis, Alex and Max. With the new snow falling and with just the right wind, each run the conditions got better and better. It couldn't have been a nicer day to usher in the holidays.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Never Tired

From the top of the little hike to Long Chute is a view I never get tired of.
The skiing is so nice just about everywhere.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Castor to Beaver Bowl

We have had 8 inches of snow over the last four mornings. The skiing is very nice and we have more unsettled weather heading our way. I found some very good snow just about everywhere including  Castor. I had to snatch this image from Castor looking at Bailey Brothers and up to Beaver Bowl.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Sunrise Over The Basin

This morning we had a beautiful sunrise over The Basin. The good news is that someone shared this awesome photo from an early morning tour just Northwest of the ski area. The bad news is that I wasn't on the tour. Beautiful image.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Independence Mountain

Wednesday was a pretty rough weather day. We had big winds all day long that caused Upper Mountain lift closures. Today was beautiful with clear skies and 3 inches of new snow. I found the skiing in East Zuma Bowl to be exceptionally good. I never tire of this view of Independence Mountain.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

New Carpool and Pay Parking Plan

Saturday we will be rolling out our new Carpool and Pay Parking Plan. The plan goes into effect weekends and holidays for the remainder of the season. Most of us realize that parking can be a challenge on busy days. There really isn't room to expand parking at A-Basin, but by increasing bus ridership and getting more people to carpool, we can definitely make an impact on parking. While we have been rewarding carpooling for a few years now, the new plan does even more to address our challenges. Already on weekends, our employees have to carpool, ride the Summit Stage or catch the employee shuttle from the Tango Lot four miles away.

Beginning Saturday, December 22, the eastern 200 spaces in Early Riser Lot will be available for free for vehicles with 4 or more people or for any other vehicle for $20. We have a total of 1,950 parking spaces and 1,750 of them will not be impacted by the new plan. The free carpool or pay parking spots account for about 10% of our parking.

No doubt a few people will be upset with us. Our real objective is not to make money from pay parking. Our real objective is to get everyone that wants to visit A-Basin a chance to visit A-Basin. Getting turned away is no fun. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, ride the Summit Stage or carpool.

Thanks.   Al

Monday, December 17, 2018

East Wall Avalauncher Tower

Back in July I did a post about removing the "Old 105 Tower." It has found its third home. Its first home was a chairlift, although I am not sure which one. It possibly came from old Lenawee Chair when it was retrofitted about 1980. The tower was added to the East Wall Avalauncher Tower. For good safety reasons these days, snow safety workers need to fire the avalauncher from behind a blast shield. The double tower set up gives them a chance to work more efficiently. Staff can go from the blast shield to avalauncher directly, eliminating up climbing and down climbing for every single shot. The benefit is less time walking and climbing and more time actually doing avalanche work.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

East Wall Stuff

Also, for several weeks, the Ski Patrol has been working the East Wall. This involves lots of shots from the avalauncher and routes in the North Pole and Tree Chutes regions. Yesterday, they traveled out the East Wall Traverse pocket and slab hunting. Their work has resulted in several avalanches. The East Wall typically opens when the mid-mountain base is somewhere around 50 inches. That can vary a bit depending on snow, wind and avalanche conditions.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Steep Gullies Update

The Ski Patrol has been hard at in The Steep Gullies for more than a month now. That involves a lot of work with the Explosive Delivery System (trams) as well as lots of other explosive work, ski cutting and ski packing. The lower elevations are filling in. The highest, steepest areas are still kind of thin. It looks likes we have about a week of fair weather with some possible storm activity heading our way for the holidays. The team will be very focused here in the coming weeks.

Dave Camara Photo

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Blue Guys

You might see a pack of employees in blue jackets chasing around one or two patrollers. This is the 2018-19 class of rookie patrollers. Over the last couple of seasons, we have been bumping up the size of our patrol in preparation for The Beavers and Steep Gullies. You might see these guys learning how to run toboggans, evacuate chairlifts, put up rope closures or move snowfences around. Most of them have previous ski patrol experience elsewhere or have worked in other departments at The Basin. Take a moment to welcome and get to know the new team members.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Brisk and Blue

What a day. Not a cloud in the sky. Good, good snow and pretty darn chilly. Just what the day should be like as we approach the first day of winter.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Good Wind

The "Good Wind" was blowing Tuesday. As any tried and true A-Basin die-hard knows, there are certain winds that are very kind to A-Basin. They fill in areas with soft and flat, buffed out snow. I think it is like skiing on velvet. Some areas favored by these winds are Dragon and The Knolls. Marmot, in The Beavers, was filling in yesterday.  My particular favorite buffed out run is, of course, The Spine. I love the "Good Wind".

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Military Pass

Arapahoe Basin's Principal Founder and first President, Larry Jump, was a 10th Mountain Division soldier serving in Europe and the Aleutians during World War II. We proudly support our Armed Services and right now are offering a smoking, hot deal on Military Passes. All active duty service members, their dependents and veterans are eligible for an A-Basin Military Pass for $99. Eligible people need to bring a military pass or proof of military service to get this deal.

The $99 price is valid through January 7, 2019. Beginning January 8, 2019, the price goes up to $159.

Earlier this season Vail also offered a $99 Military Pass for their resorts. While we have a cooperative agreement with Vail on many pass products, their military pass offer was outside of our agreement. I know some people thought that product was good at A-Basin. Unfortunately, it wasn't. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Monday, December 10, 2018

From Tower 15

Riding The Beavers Lift provides some new and very different vistas. One of my favorites is, as we near the top while riding, the East Wall and Black Mountain provide a stunning view.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Beaver Bowl

It was a beautiful, brisk day skiing at The Basin. I found great snow on the Front Side on Pali, North Glade and Standard / Lower International. Found the same on Durrance in Montezuma Bowl and in Beaver Bowl in The Beavers. Again, we had another pretty busy day, but outside of the base area and Black Mountain Lodge, the place felt like a ghost town.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Best Part of A-Basin

The best part of The Basin is all the good friends you have made through the years.

Friday, December 7, 2018

What A Day !!!!

What a day !!!! I am not sure it could have been much better. With Zuma opening, all of our chairlifts are open for the season. The skiing was just fantastic. On top of groomed terrain in the central corridor, MGD opened right off the bat and we had some limited skiing in West Zuma. There were many, many happy faces, on guests and employees.

To make it even better, I wandered over to Pali and then The Beavers about noon and then back to Zuma again. We had a fairly busy day for a Friday and there were no lift lines. Having all the lifts open really spread people out.

To top that off, our new kitchen opened today (more on that in a later post).

Oh yeah, The Spine and Rock Garden were just about perfect.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Zuma Opens Friday

You heard it. Montezuma Bowl will open mid-morning Friday. To start with, you will be able to ski Columbine, much of Larkspur, Independence and The Fourteeners. As the day progresses, MGD should open up. After that, who knows, there could be a surprise or two.What a great start. This morning's un-forecasted 4" of new snow will really buff things out. Since we first opened the Bowl in January 2008, this will be its earliest opening date.

The "Surprises" are what I like.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Skiing Marmot

I found some exceptional snow in Marmot today. Packed nicely and very soft, the turns were sweet. Just below timberline I cut left to the bottom corner of Beaver Bowl. There, I found one of our new picnic decks. Not a bad place to catch your breath, eat a sandwich, chat with friends or soak in the view.

Looking at the webcams this evenings, it looks like we have 3 or 4 inches of new snow since closing. The morning should deliver some very nice skiing. Towards the end of the day Thursday, look for an update on the Montezuma Bowl opening.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

West Zuma and MGD

We continue to have Ski Patrol and Snow Cat teams all over Montezuma Bowl. In the photos, you can see extensive ski cutting. The snow in West Zuma and MGD is quite good. If we can stay on task, we hope to have our work buttoned up in the next couple of days. It is quite possible we could see some limited openings in West Zuma and MGD in addition to the conventional openings of Columbine and Larkspur.

MGD is Max, Groswold and Durrance, three of the A-Basin original founding members. The other two founding members were Jump and Schauffler who both have trails named after them in West Zuma.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Loafer and Davis and Grooming

It has been a great first week in The Beavers. I know a number of you have really had a good time. Some of you have been dis-satisfied with how difficult Loafer and Davis are and that they have moguls. The snowcats have now traveled both trails top to bottom. As we get more and more snow, the cats will be able to travel Loafer and Davis more and more and there will be less and less moguls.

Loafer and Davis are much like our blue trails West Wall, Norway, Lenawee Parks and Dragon. When we open those trails initially, the snow is not groomed and moguls form. Right now there is a particularly tricky mogul stretch on Norway. With more snow, we start grooming those areas and eventually they become regularly groomed. Often mogul lines exist adjacent to the groomed areas. It is OK to have moguls on blue trails. Dragon is rarely groomed and has bumps all season long. While both longer, Loafer and Davis are not any more difficult than the other trails mentioned above.

No doubt, because of their length, Loafer and Davis offer challenges. If you don't like them now, wait for more snow, check our grooming report and give them a try one morning after they have been groomed.

Davis after grooming

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Montezuma Progress

I took a few laps in Montezuma Bowl today. These pictures tell the whole story. The place looks great. The snowcats have created a good tilled surface all the way to the top of the Columbine Step (last little steep pitch on Columbine). Within a night or two they should be to the bottom of the lift. The crew will keep plugging away back there. We might even see a little snow tomorrow to help us out.