Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Christmas Eve Ring Story

A couple of our instructors, Liz and Craig, were enjoying Christmas Eve at The Basin. Skiing their go-to run, Alex, Craig stopped, took off his glove and shook the snow out of it. Later in the day, while riding Lenawee Lift, Craig realized his wedding ring was missing. Over the next several days, they visited Alex with no luck finding the ring. It snowed more. Finally, they returned December 29 with a metal detector. After numerous false hopes, they finally had a positive beep. Scratching through the snow an inch at a time, they, miraculously found the ring. That is a "one in a million" kind of story. Wow.

Monday, March 30, 2020

The Hairpin

Sometimes I just have to drive up to the hairpin and check out The Basin.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Two Year Old Beavers Photo

I stumbled on this photo this afternoon. A little interesting. It is from two winters ago, after Loafer, Davis and the lift line were cut, but before the lift was installed. On the left is looking up the Beavers lift line and on the right is looking up Loafer.

Friday, March 27, 2020


A number of our people in HR, Accounting and Marketing are able to work at home. With the Governor's most recent Executive Order, we are pretty limited with what we can do at The Basin. Our activities are the basics of what it takes to protect and maintain our assets. We are keeping our utilities up and running. We are doing some basic snow removal. We are doing some lift work and taking care of our equipment.

As it snows, we are doing some grooming. We are still going to give re-opening our very best shot and we want the snow to be in good shape when we do. The cats are not out everyday, but when it snows, the drivers and operators are trying to cover as much ground as possible.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Good News At The Top Of Pali

I have some very fun news from the Friday night before we shut down. A-Basin regulars Quinn, Matt and Billy went for a sunset skin to the top of Pali. With Billy functioning as an Officiant and Master of Ceremonies, Matt, along with two cans of Vermont beer and a ring, proposed to Quinn and she accepted. With their A-Basin logo wear and uphill passes prominently displayed, the event was a beautiful affair. Congratulations. 

I am sure Billy looked good too.

You may recognize and Matt and Quinn from the Taos post last month.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Goats

The goats are taking care of the place for us.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Backside

Here is a view of the backside of The Basin. From center to left you see The Notches, Little Lenawee Peak, top of Zuma Lift and West Zuma. Almost dead center is Lenawee Mountain with Maid of Orleans slide path running down to Peru Creek. Center to right is Chihuahua Gulch and Torreys and Grays Peaks.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Pali Chair by McKenzie Hart

Check out the wonderful article by McKenzie Hart in Mountain Town Magazine.

Pali Chair by McKenzie Hart

Friday, March 20, 2020

Impacts of COVID-19

The COVID-19 Pandemic has been an unprecedented event, a kind never seen in our lifetimes. The outbreak has brought the local, national and world economies to their knees. More and more of us have a friend or relative or know of someone who has fallen ill. This event is tragic and its impact on the world is enormous.

This is a horrible time for Colorado. Governor Polis has extended his Executive Order to keep ski areas closed through April 6. There is no clear indication of when the ski area will re-open. It seems likely that we are still weeks away. While we have every intention of re-opening The Basin, we have no idea when that will be.

I am very sad to say that we will be letting all 430 of our seasonal full-time and part-time employees go effective April 1. Affected employees will receive two weeks of pay based on what they were scheduled to work after March 14, a $.50 bonus for each hour worked this season and all of their accrued PTO. For full-time seasonal employees who have health insurance through us, the ski area will pay their monthly health insurance premiums for May and June. We strongly encourage each employee to closely track developing government and Arapahoe Basin assistance programs for those feeling financial and/or personal hardship from the pandemic.

Beginning April 1, our 70 full-time year-round employees will go down to ¾ time with the ability to augment their compensation through PTO.

Employees are encouraged to view the FAQ page with more details through their Paylocity Portal.

I am saddened by the chain of events surrounding COVID-19. We value and cherish all the efforts of every employee at Arapahoe Basin.  We wish healthiness to all through these troubling times.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Updated Executive Order

Last night Governor Polis extended his Executive Order keeping Colorado resorts closed through April 6, 2020.  Executive Order.  This was not a surprise. Following the news and updates from the State of Colorado and Summit County governments, it is very clear that we are a ways from approaching normalcy. I was glad to see the Governor only add two more weeks to the closure. We can manage this crisis in smaller bites. He can always extend the closure if necessary. And, sooner or later, we are going the get Arapahoe Basin open again.

The forecast calls for heavy snow today. It has just begun and is very windy up here now. It is good to know the mountain is still here and snow is still falling.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Too Quiet

It is weirdly quiet and I don't like it. I can't wait until this mess is over.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Our Employees

This closure has been especially difficult on our employees. A few of our people can work from home, but most of our work isn't really focused that way. Some people are working. The rest of them are standing by...............waiting. I know a few of them slipped off to the desert for a bit. Some of them are back country skiing. All are trying to figure it out. The uncertainty is trying. In the rush of Saturday's events, we chose to pay everyone for whatever they were schedule to work this week. We are working intensely trying to figure out our plan for week 2.

Normally, I might say, "hug a liftie." Don't do that, but take a minute to share some good vibes towards those Basin folks that try and make your ski days a little better.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Uphill Access Closed

Well, we tried. We had one good day of uphill skiing. Several hundred people showed up. Everyone that I spoke to, loved it and thanked me. Unfortunately, Governor Polis has asked that Summit County residents and visitors "...minimize their contact with other people" and "...only go out for necessities."  Throughout this challenging time, we have followed the lead of health department and other government officials. We feel strongly that we need to support the Governor in an effort slow the spread COVID-19.

We will be closing uphill access this evening until further notice. Thanks to everyone that enjoyed a good day here. 

Saturday, March 14, 2020

COVID-19 Closure

This evening Governor Polis, by Executive Order, directed all downhill ski resorts in Colorado to suspend operations from March 15 through March 22. Governor Polis Executive Order

We support the governor making this very difficult decision. While some folks encouraged us to close, hundreds, if not thousands, of people have asked us to stay open. We tried our very best to be creative and modify operations to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. I know that many of you want to be here and many of you had a great week skiing here. This closure saddens me deeply. Unfortunately, it is time to close.

We have every intention of re-opening. The very best skiing at A-Basin is yet to come. As soon as it makes sense to re-open, we will re-open. It is unclear when that will be. I plan on sharing several East Wall hikes and skis with many of you this spring.

Uphill Access will be open to Uphill Pass holders. All rules still apply. Remember the East Wall, Beavers and Steep Gullies are closed to uphill users. Other closures may be in place.

This is a brutally difficult time for Colorado, the nation and the world. We need to work collectively to get through it.


A-Basin Will Be Closed Sunday

Arapahoe Basin will be closed starting tomorrow, Sunday, March 15 for an undetermined amount of time. I will make a detailed post later this evening. 

I feel like the person in this photo.

March 14 COVID-19 Update

The news of the COVID-19 outbreak remains front and center for all of us. The situation is dynamic and rapidly changing. As always, the safety and well-being of our guests and employees is our greatest concern. We continue to follow guidance from federal, state and local authorities and are in close contact with them.

The culture of skiing and snowboarding is inherently social. While one side of an Arapahoe Basin visit is very social, gathering with friends and family, making new friends and sharing a meal or drink, the other side of a visit is a very low-density affair, skiing and riding across our 1,428 acres. We would like our guests to focus more on the low-density skiing and riding.

To promote social distancing, we are putting in place the following measures over the next 48 hours:

- We are significantly reducing Food and Beverage operations. Limited offerings and menus will be available.
- All Guest Services issues will be handled through lift ticket sales windows.
- The number of people allowed in our Rental Shop will be limited.
- Snowsports for both kids and adults (lessons) will be focused primarily outside and classes will be limited to a half day.
- We will not be operating our parking lot shuttles or using overflow parking.
- We have cancelled all scheduled events through April 8. If you are signed up for an event, you will be receiving an email regarding refunds and other options.

We are also strongly recommending the following actions by our guests to help us at this time:

- People at high risk for COVID-19 (people who are over 60, already sick, or who have underlying health conditions) should visit another time.
- Guests should reduce their time inside. While we realize people need to use the restrooms, warm up, grab a snack or purchase equipment, we encourage everyone to minimize their time indoors.
- We are encouraging guests to ride lifts with their friends and family only.
- We are encouraging guests to bring their own lunch and drinks and eat outside or at their car.

This is a very challenging time. Again, the safety and well-being of our guests and employees is our greatest concern. Please make informed and educated decisions about skiing and COVID-19. We want to keep this great experience going and need your help and cooperation to do so.

Please call us at 888-ARAPAHOE or email us at abasin@a-basin.net if you need to change your plans.

Looking Down Valley

Enjoy this afternoon view looking down valley.

Friday, March 13, 2020

March 13 COVID-19 Update

One of our employees that was answering phones in the Call Center last Saturday has become ill.  That employees has seen a physician and the physician has prescribed a COVID-19 test. The test is scheduled for today. We have been told that getting test results takes at least 72 hours.

We have been in direct communication with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Following their recommendations and in an abundance of caution, we are taking the following precautions. The employee and the four employees that worked directly with the employee are in self quarantine until we get the test results. The area where the employee worked was cleaned immediately after we became aware of the illness. As part of a larger effort, the Call Center and adjoining offices are being comprehensively cleaned a second time today. Further efforts include increased cleaning across the ski area especially in the Kids Center and Food and Beverage operations. We anticipate the Call Center and all ski area operations to be open Saturday.

We will continue to update this message as new information becomes available.  For additional information about Colorado skiing and COVID-19 check out Colorado Ski Country USA.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Another Great Aerial Photo

I love these photos people periodically send me. This one came in this week.

Today was a beauty. We are forecast to see a bit of snow tomorrow. We just might be skiing a little powder Friday afternoon and Saturday morning followed by partly to mostly sunny skies for the weekend.

March 12 COVID-19 Update

As of yesterday the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was reporting 33 cases of COVID-19 in Colorado. Those cases are spread across Colorado, both in the mountains and in the Front Range. There has still only been one case reported in Summit County. This situation is very dynamic and these numbers will change. Local information can be found at Summit County Government.

We continue to work very closely with state and local authorities addressing COVID-19. Yesterday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis advised, "...travellers over 60 or with chronic health issues should avoid unnecessary travel to the high country areas with the outbreaks,..." He also advised those same people, "...not to attend large congregations of people." We support the Governor's recommendations, thinking they are complimentary to and in sync with CDC guidelines, CDC COVID-19 Information. We encourage everyone to follow these guidelines with a special emphasis on personal hygiene. People in the high risk categories identified by the Governor, should consider re-scheduling their visits.

Arapahoe Basin will continue to be open for ski area operations through our expected closing date in June. Guest and employee wellness is our greatest concern. No specific risk has been identified at Arapahoe Basin. The COVID-19 situation is rapidly developing and changing. Please take the time to read and understand this illness. We encourage everyone to make thoughtful and educated decisions regarding COVID-19. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Top of Pali Circa 1980

George Wood sent me this photo of his family enjoying the top of Pali circa 1980.

Monday, March 9, 2020

The Door

Ahhhhh, a journey through the Snorkel Door. Yesterday, my wife and daughter dragged me up the big hike in Willie's Wide. After a brief stop at Borgy Rock we plodded up to the top of the staircase. From there we headed north on the traverse and dropped through the door.  The entrance was fairly difficult to negotiate. We had a choice of several lines and found some soft protected snow in Booger.  It was a beautiful ski. Another good March storm or two with good winds and the Upper East Wall will be in prime shape. There are not many ski area experiences like this one.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Forest Service

Most of Arapahoe Basin is located in the White River National Forest. We have a long term Special Use Permit with the Forest Service to operate the ski area. We work closely with them to follow all the rules, regulations and laws related to operating a business on public land. We pay a fee to the federal government based on our revenues. Thursday, Tony C and I had the honor of touring several USFS staff members including the Forest Supervisor, District Ranger and Winter Sports Specialists. We skied The Beavers and spent a lot of time discussing how that project went. It is a pleasure working with these guys with an objective of delivering so much fun stuff to you.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Getting Close To Spring

It was an "almost spring" kind of week. Most of the days have been bluebird gorgeous. We had some watery spots show up in the parking lots. There was a little bit of slush in Lower Montezuma Bowl. I saw three shirtless guys skiing on Sundance. Tomorrow we go to Daylight Savings Time. And tomorrow we have a little snow in the forecast. Getting close to Spring.

Friday, March 6, 2020

2 Days At Silverton

2020-21 Arapahoe Basin season passes are now on sale. In addition to unlimited skiing at The Basin, 3 days of skiing at Taos and 3 days of skiing at Monarch, 2020-21 Arapahoe Basin pass holders will get 2 days of skiing at Silverton during their unguided season in March and April. One of those days can be used for the unguided season in 2020. The other day can be used for the unguided season in 2021. To fully understand Silverton's unguided and guided programs go to their website, Silverton.

I think Silverton's snowy big mountain unique character is a perfect compliment to Taos' southwestern Bavarian charm, Monarch's Colorado, comfortable, local feel and Arapahoe Basin's special culture and vibe. These are four great mountains.

To learn more about or to purchase A-Basin passes, check our website,  Arapahoe Basin.



There has been one case of COVID-19 confirmed in Summit County.  Specific information can be found at Summit County Government.

We have been working closely with Summit County and the State of Colorado governments and are following their recommendations. There has been no specific risk identified at Arapahoe Basin. Our greatest concern is for the safety and well being of our guests and our employees. While the risk of contracting this disease is low, we strongly encourage everyone to educate themselves on COVID-19 and use preventive measures recommended by the Center For Disease Control (CDC). Information can be found at CDC Coronavirus Information.

Arapahoe Basin will continue to be open for normal ski area operations. We hope you will take the time to read and understand this illness. Thank you for being part of A-Basin.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Why You Should Ski This Week

I think this photo pretty well explains why you should ski this week. Conditions are excellent. Sunshine is forecast through Saturday and snow is forecast for Sunday. What more could someone ask for? This is a good week to be at The Basin.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

State of the Basin - Numbers and Comments

A year ago we started on a journey to change things up at Arapahoe Basin. While our actions had many objectives, two of those objectives really stand out. First, we wanted to reduce crowding, hosting 20% fewer skiers in 2019-20 than we did in 2018-19. Second, by reducing the crowding, we wanted to offer a much higher quality guest experience. 

By every measure, we have improved the guest experience. Both face to face interaction and survey data tell us that people clearly are having a better time this season.

Regarding guest visitation, it has been a story of two seasons. We were slow from opening through MLK weekend. Starting on MLK Monday, visitation has picked up substantially, but still much less than last season. Here are the facts.

Season To Date (STD) skiers through January 2020 were 39% less than STD skiers through January 2019.

STD skiers through February 2020 were 35% less than STD skiers through February 2019.

Month To Date (MTD) skiers in February 2020 were 20% less than MTD skiers in February 2019, almost exactly what we planned and budgeted for that month.

STD Ikon and Mountain Collective skiers through February 2020 were 69% less than Epic skiers through February 2019.

MTD Ikon and Mountain Collective skiers in February were 51% less than Epic Skiers in February 2019.

Visitation from Ikon and Mountain Collective has been much less than visitation from Epic.

Looking at individual days, we have been open for 142 days through February this season. Only 6 of those 142 days were busier this season than last. A notable day was Saturday, February 22. It was our busiest day of the season so far. Last season there were 6 days busier than that Saturday.

Since MLK Day, weekends have definitely picked up. Sundays are still very pleasant with only one day needing overflow parking. Saturdays have been busier requiring overflow parking all days except MLK Saturday (Ikon was blacked out). 

We certainly have influence in shaping how business flows for the season. Individual days are sometimes very hard to manage to. Often the biggest days are driven by very short term weather events. Saturday, February 22 was a near perfect, warm bluebird day with great skiing. Those are the kind of days when everyone wants to go skiing. The flip side of Saturday was three days later Tuesday, February 25. The temperature never got above 0 F. It was cold and bitter and very, very slow. Would I have liked to transfer 800 of Saturday's skiers to Tuesday? Of course the answer is yes, but that is not really possible.  People ski more when the weather is favorable and they ski more when they have free time on weekends, especially Saturdays. 

Even though weekends this year are much slower than last year, I still suggest arriving early or late. Avoid late morning arrivals. Carpool. Ride the Summit Stage. With just a little pre-planning, it is very easy to avoid the busier times.

Looking forward, if March, April and May could be similar to February we would be ecstatic. We have some work to do early season. Next Fall we will be generating some new products and promotions to help the early season pick up.

This season is nothing like last season. The numbers speak for themselves. The experience is way up. The skier days are way down. Ikon, Mountain Collective, Taos and Monarch are great partners. We aren't quite where we want to be yet, but we are heading in the right direction. It has been an awesome season and Spring looks very promising.

I look forward to your comments.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Tramway Board

All nine of our lifts at Arapahoe Basin are licensed and regulated by the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board. Each Fall we go through a rigorous, scheduled licensing inspection reviewing all of our equipment and record keeping. The inspector pokes, prods, twists and turns just about everything he can get his hands on. He spends a great deal of time reviewing all of our maintenance records making sure we have all of things done that we are supposed to have done. Once we successfully get through that process, the state issues us a one year license for each lift.

One or more times during the season, we have an unscheduled, unannounced inspection of all nine lifts again. We don't know when it will happen until the inspector arrives that day. This time the inspector will do much of what he did in the fall as well as spending time with our lift operators, lift mechanics and ski patrollers. This inspection focuses on staff, staff training, systems and procedures. While the whole process can be kind of challenging, it is a great system that keeps all of us on our toes. It serves the people that ride the lifts well and it serves the people that own and operate the lifts well.

Today was our unannounced, unscheduled inspection.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Camel Speed Skiing

A few weeks ago I received a very cool package and letter in the mail from David Guenther. David had spent time working and hanging out at Keystone and A-Basin in the 1980's. That had been a very fun time in his life. He sent me this Camel Speed Skiing hat from 1984. David and I spoke on the phone. We shared some common friends and we shared a few good laughs.

The 1984 Camel Speed Skiing event occurred in April on the East Wall. While hindered by heavy snowfall and avalanches, the event stirs extraordinary memories for those that were around that year. It was my fun first year in Summit County. I was skiing every day at The Basin and working as a busboy and waiter at a restaurant down on Keystone Lake. The event featured local legend and former World Speed Skiing record holder CJ Mueller. For a great write up on the event and a cool picture of CJ click on the link below. It was also the end of an era when events like this were sponsored by cigarette companies.