Saturday, October 31, 2020

East Wall

I never get tired of looking at the East Wall, especially with a dusting of Fall snow.

Word on the street is that the snow at Wolf Creek is excellent. I know of at least one person that said "best opening day ever." Kudos to Davey and Roseanne Pitcher for kicking off the Colorado ski season.

I think we will be making snow tonight.


Thursday, October 29, 2020

Pali Webcam

Pali Webcam shot from last week.


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Moonrise to Sunset

A very nice photo shared by Chris Nelson.


Zuma Cam

Monday morning, Zuma Cam 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Snowmaking Update

This past storm was very good for us. Colorado's drought, however, has impacted snowmaking. Our ability to make snow is driven by many factors including streamflow. The higher the streamflow, the more water we have for snowmaking. The lower the streamflow, the less water we have for snowmaking. Following a dry Summer and Fall, our snowmaking is moving a little slower than most of you want to see. With the recent snow and sunny days forecast all week, we are seeing a big jump in streamflows. On top of that, our restrictions on diverting water are more favorable for snowmaking in November and December. After a good snwomaking start earlier this month, the last week has been kind of slow. We anticipate a good bump in snowmaking later this week and through November.


Monday, October 26, 2020

Good To Us

This storm was very good to us.


Sunday, October 25, 2020

To Summit County Residents

Like much of the rest of the country, COVID rates are going up in Summit County. Over the last two weeks, Summit's cumulative rate of cases was the 6th highest in Colorado. If this rate doesn't go down over the next two weeks, more severe restrictions will be put in place, hampering our ability to ski, work and enjoy life. 

Conventional wisdom tells us that these cases are being brought in by outside tourists. Turns out that is almost completely false. Contact tracing has told us Summit County residents are spreading COVID to other Summit County residents. Nearly all of this is happening through socialization - an evening party, drinks after work, hanging too close with too many people. Many of the transmissions have occurred in the late evening, after partying, when peoples' guards are down. If we want to enjoy winter in Summit County, we are going to have to turn things around quickly. Keep your face coverings on. Maintain your physical distances. Keep your groups small. The time to act is now.


Saturday, October 24, 2020

Approved To Open

Since last Spring, we have worked diligently on our opening plan for the 2020-21 Ski Season. That has involved numerous discussions with all kinds of stakeholders. That means Zoom call after Zoom call after Zoom call. We worked very closely with Summit County and State of Colorado governments to develop a safe and appropriate operating plan. This involved a lot of listening and a lot of exploration as to ways The Basin can be opened. Over the last week, the State has released its guidance for ski area operations. We submitted our proposed operation plan to both the State and the County. I am pleased to say that on Friday, we were notified that our plan meets the Guidance for Colorado Ski Areas. We have received clearance to open the ski area this season.

Details about operations can be found at COVID-19 Operations.  Opening in the COVID-19 era involves a lot work for A-Basin staff. It also involves the need for appropriate behavior by our guests. In essence, we all have to minimize our exposure to others. We need to wear our face coverings, maintain our distances and keep our groups small. At its most basic level, this is not that complicated. If we are all a little more careful and a little conscientious, we can ski and ride with minimal exposure to COVID-19 transmission. Every one of us has to do their part for us to enjoy the ski season.

Friday night Summit County issued a new public health order. The most notable impact to Arapahoe Basin is the reduction of indoor group sizes from 10 people down to 6 people from 2 different households. We will be making this change in our dining and other retail outlets.

With an excellent weekend forecast for snowmaking and natural snowfall, the outlook for opening just got a little brighter. We do not have an opening day set yet, but the outlook is definitely a little brighter.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

East Troublesome Fire

This afternoon our A-Basin Divide cam caught this photo capturing smoke from the East Troublesome Fire. On the left side of the photo, just above Loveland Pass, you can see the smoke. This is a very dire situation for our friends and neighbors to the North. The town of Grand Lake was forced to evacuate yesterday. Today, an evacuation order was issued for Estes Park residents Please send all your good thoughts to the residents and rescuers caught up in this disaster.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Another Weekend

We won't be open for skiing this weekend, but the Ticket Office, The 6th Alley and Arapahoe Sports will be open again Saturday and Sunday. The Ticket Office is actually open seven days a week. So come on up, pick up your new RFID pass, grab a bite, check out all the groovy stuff at Arapahoe Sports and watch the snow fall.

We just might have a pretty good storm heading our way this weekend. Stay tuned for weather updates.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Pallavicini Acceptance Test

The Pallavicini acceptance test has been going on the last couple of days. There were a few little items caught in the test and those will all be fixed. Like on Molly Hogan, the engineers loaded up the lift with water to simulate a load of people. Again, they stopped, started and slowed the lift. They did everything they could to trick and outsmart the lift. The lift won. 

The Ski Patrol had to show that they were proficient at evacuating the lift. They were dressed up in harnesses and other gear and sliding down the wire rope and lowering "volunteers" to the ground. It was fun.

Check out this VIDEO produced by Ian Zinner and starring Louis Skowyra.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Ski Magazine

Nice article in Ski Magazine.


Saturday, October 17, 2020

Friday, October 16, 2020

Passes, 6th Alley and Arapahoe Sports

With the RFID gates, we also had to get all new pass printers. That involves getting other hardware and lots of software work. We are now printing 20-21 passes. While we won't be open for skiing this weekend, you can pick up your new pass at Guest Services. The 6th Alley and Arapahoe Sports will be also open Saturday and Sunday. Guest Services will be open 7 days a week. 

We are trying to avoid a huge group of people showing up at once after opening to pick up their passes.  Come on up, get your pass, grab a bite and a beer and snag your favorite A-Basin schwag.

Friday afternoon on High Noon

Thursday, October 15, 2020

From The Hairpin

If you are a regular blog reader, you know I frequently post photos from the hairpin turn on Highway 6 above The Basin. This is a place I often go to see an overview of how things are looking at the resort. In the winter I can tell where the skiers are. In the summer I can often review the status of construction projects. When I was there in the late morning today, I could tell the snowmakers had a good night and were having a good day. I could tell the Leitner Poma guys had the new Pali Lift spinning. I could tell I need to remind a few people about our dog leash policy (I can do that one almost every day).

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Any Day Passes

Enjoy this image from the Top of Pali this afternoon.

Our Any Day Passes can be purchased for any 3, 4 or 5 days of the ski season. The days have no restrictions and reservations are not required. If you are still on the fence about what to buy this season and don't want a season pass, this is about the best deal around. Tomorrow, Thursday, October 15 is the last day at current prices. Again, best deal around.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Chairs On - Lift Spinning

All the chairs were attached to the Pallavicini wire rope over the last few days. For several hours this afternoon, the lift was turning. While there is still of a lot of technical fine tuning to be done, it is fair to say that we have a chairlift now. As of today, the acceptance test is scheduled for Monday.


Monday, October 12, 2020

Good Snow and a Great Night

The natural snowfall mostly stopped by early evening yesterday. The temperature dropped with an overnight wet bulb low of 15 F. The snowmakers had all the fan guns spinning. Most of the guns are still running now. We are not sure how warm the day will be, but tonight looks cold again. Our earlier snowmaking efforts were mostly for testing and training. Last night was the real deal.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Good Snow

On a forecast of 0-1", we received several inches of snow this afternoon. On top of that, it's cold out there. The snowmaking system is up and running this evening. It looks like we may have a few more snowmaking windows this week. The snow is a big help. Sunny days this week should melt some of that snow, particularly on south facing slopes. That melted snow will raise stream flow levels providing more water for snowmaking. This weather event is very good for us.

Take a close look at the photo below. Pali's new RFID gates can be seen on the far left. New Pali carriers (the actual chairs) can be seen on the far right.


Friday, October 9, 2020


The Molly Hogan acceptance test went just the way we wanted it to, completely uneventfully. The engineers found a few things to fix and finish like a phone that wasn't working, a couple door knobs that needed adjustment, switches that needed to be moved slightly and a few other small things. The next steps involve getting those items right, doing some administrative work and applying to the Colorado Passenger Tramways Safety Board for a license.

They engineers were happy. They even smiled.


Thursday, October 8, 2020

Molly Hogan Acceptance Test

Tomorrow we will do the Molly Hogan Acceptance Test (Load Test). There will be pocket protector type engineers crawling all over the place physically inspecting the lift. They will load each chair with boxes of water to simulate a fully loaded chairlift. They will check every possible way to start, stop and slow the lift. They will toggle all the buttons and controls in every sequence they can imagine. They will check to make sure that everything is working the way it is supposed to.

The Pali splice happened today. The Leitner Poma crew will put the chairs on next and finish with all of that lift's controls. We hope to load test that lift next week.


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Rope Is In Place

The wire rope is in place on Pali. The rope is still de-tensioned in anticipation of the splice. The rope splicing sensei arrives Thursday and will begin connecting the two rope ends. Once that is complete, the chairs will be attached. Within a week, the New Pallavicini will look like a chairlift.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Wire Rope Next

The new Pallavicini is definitely taking shape. The towers and terminals are complete. The communication (com line) is set. The pilot line is in place. That line is a small cable set manually where the wire rope will eventually be. The wire rope or haul rope will be attached to the pilot line. The motor will turn and slowly, the pilot line will pull the wire rope into place. We hope to see the rope splice occur later this week with the possibility of chairs on line by the weekend.


Sunday, October 4, 2020

Early Snowmaking

Last week we ran the snowmaking system for the first time this season. Often, the very early sessions are a combination of equipment testing and staff training. It is often hard to know whether this first effort will really amount to much actual snow. This week's effort was no different than most years. We worked out a few bugs and our snowmakers had some great practice. The real objective is to have staff and gear completely ready for when it really does get cold. Then we make some very serious snow. I am happy to have a few "practice rounds."


Thursday, October 1, 2020

RFID Gantries

 Our RFID gantries have arrived for Lenawee, Pali, and Black Mountain Express.  These will be the gates you enter through to get your pass scanned. We will be installing these at the lifts in the next couple of weeks. The best news about this new system is no more cold hands.