Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Surprise Powder Day

It is always fun to beat the snow forecast. We reported 5" of new snow this morning and showers continued for several hours. The sun even came out for a bit. The skiing was superb. I hung around the bottom of Pali for a while and people were enjoying the heck out of the snow. After the Ski Patrol completed some avalanche work, there was an excellent session out on The Wall.


Monday, March 29, 2021

Season Passes

So, we are headed into some old and some new ground next season. What is old ground is that we are willing to make significant operating changes that will improve the skiing and riding experience. What is new ground is that we are going limit season pass sales and we are going to require that all lift tickets be purchased in advance and online and the daily number of tickets sold will be limited. 

For this COVID season we limited season pass sales and sold out of passes in November. For the 2021-22 season we are actually going to sell 10% fewer unrestricted passes than we did during the COVID season. We announced this change and started selling season passes March 12. As of today, we have sold 36% of our unrestricted season pass inventory. Passes are selling at a much faster rate than I expected. On April 16 we plan on raising the price of an “Adult Unrestricted Season Pass” from $519 to $599. The renewal rate for 2020-21 Season Pass holders is valid only thru April 15 or while supplies last. 

I have very high confidence that we are going to sell out of the unrestricted passes. I just don’t know when that is going to happen. It is very possible that we sell out before the April 16 price increase. This post may seem like a pushy sales pitch. That is not the intention. It is a transparent effort is to let you know that unrestricted pass sales are limited and we are running out fast. If you want to buy an Arapahoe Basin unrestricted season pass, you should buy it now. 

Our neighbors have announced a plan to drastically cut season pass prices in an effort to sell more passes. We are pricing and limiting our season pass inventory in order to sell fewer passes. Depending on what factors are important to your season pass purchase (price, the mountain itself, the skiing experience, the culture, the vibe, etc), your choices for purchase have never been more clear.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Snorkel Door

The picture says it all.


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Another Fine Day

And today is another fine day at The Basin. We have had snow flurries off and on after reporting 2 inches of new snow this morning. I was able to get out and enjoy The Spine, Davis, Schauffler and a few other good ones. As you can imagine, the skiing is excellent.


Friday, March 26, 2021

Never Get Tired

I spent the morning doing a "check out the product" tour. I rode all the lifts - a couple of them a few times. Literally, I found really good skiing everywhere I went, Bailey Brothers, Digger, Long Chute, Northern Spy, East Gully and loads more. As I started down Long Chute a little squall moved in and I found a line of powder that had, somehow, been missed by everyone else.  The tour was very successful.  I never get tired of this place or the work benefits.


Saturday, March 20, 2021


These last three days have been just perfect Spring weather. The East Wall has really come alive, including the hiking. Montezuma Bowl has been classic south facing Spring skiing. It has been nearly perfect. And the forecast, tonight thru Wednesday, SNOW.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Sometimes There Is Nothing Better.......

Sometimes there is nothing better than a bluebird day following a powder day at The Basin. Yesterday morning, about 9:30, I unloaded Pali and slid to the West Wall Saddle. My jaw pretty much dropped. With the bright sun just poking over the East Wall, the deep blue skies and the new snow,  the place was nothing short of stunning. I simply stopped and stared for a long, long time. We are lucky.


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

East Wall Open

The East Wall did open today. That included the North Pole gate and below the traverse out to Corner Chute. While I did not get up there myself, I heard the skiing was pretty darn good. The sun was out this morning and it is snowing nicely right now.


Monday, March 15, 2021

And Again

Yesterday was so good that we repeated it again today. We skied usual North Side runs and a few spins in the Steep Gullies. So good again. We also checked out some fun stuff in Lenawee Parks.

This storm event is good for the East Wall. It has been open for a few very limited directed skiing sessions already. I slipped in one run below the Traverse under Willie's on Saturday. The recent snow has been favorable for the Wall. The Snow Safety Team continues to be very active out there. With unsettled weather in the forecast the next several days, I see the East Wall in our future soon.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Incredible Day

It might not have been the Snow-pocalypse that was forecast, but the skiing Sunday was an A+ kind of day. We only had 4 inches of snow at report time, but it snowed all day long we received another 8 or so on top of that. At least very locally, the roads were passable. A decent number of people found their way to the ski area and it seemed like all had a great time. We only rode Pali Lift, skiing all the usual places plus a good 3-lap session in the Steep Gullies (which were deep).

Everyone is still masked up in the busier places, but we caught up with a lot of friends in the Pali maze and at the top. It was really fun. Personally and socially I look forward to the COVID era being over because I miss my Sunday afternoons in Marnie's.

Friday, March 12, 2021

2021-22 Season - What To Expect

We have experienced a tumultuous and uproarious few years at Arapahoe Basin. From major expansions to pass partner changes to 4th of July skiing to the pandemic, we have not slowed down for a second. It has been challenging, fun, difficult, crazy and weird all at the same time. 

Throughout it all, we have focused on making the A-Basin experience the best it could possibly be. While we are constantly changing the “stuff” at The Legend, we strive to preserve our culture and vibe. Our first major step was to design, construct and implement The Beavers / Steep Gullies expansion. We added a big chairlift and nearly 500 acres of exciting groomers, gladed runs and dramatic chutes. We offered more terrain and spread the crowd out even further. We left the Epic Pass. The Basin simply wasn’t big enough to handle that many pass holders. We joined the Ikon Pass. The spirit of A-Basin was in sync with Ikon resorts and they had fewer pass holders and days were restricted. 

Moving forward to the 2021-22 season, we are taking more major steps to preserve the culture and vibe. COVID forced us to learn in a few months what probably would have taken us five years to learn otherwise. Next season we are going to continue to restrict our pass and ticket visits. While reservations will not be required for our season pass holders, we are going to limit the number of passes that we sell. In fact, we are going to sell 10% fewer unrestricted passes next season than we did this season. On top of that, we will continue to limit the number of lift tickets sold each day and all tickets must be purchased online and in advance. No lift tickets will be sold on site. We anticipate selling out of weekend lift tickets on a regular basis. 

So why are we doing this? There are many factors, like a friendly and knowledgeable staff, a spectacular mountain and excellent facilities, that go into to making Arapahoe Basin special. We also think a critical factor for a successful day is keeping crowd size down and skiers and riders spread out. For decades, a key strategy for us was to keep adding more and more skiers. That is no longer the case. We are actively working to reduce the number of skiers on weekends and holidays. We have learned so much since COVID forced us to hit a daily target of skier numbers. Next season we will continue a similar strategy. Our target will be to have a “comfortable” level of skiers each day. Our ticket inventories and pricing will directly reward midweek skiing over weekend skiing. By knowing how many people to expect each day, we can do a better job running the place. We will measure success by reducing parking challenges, keeping lift lines and other service lines short and by observing smiling skier faces. 

This is a big, big change. We are ready for this change. We know our skiers and riders want to preserve the A-Basin culture and vibe. We know they want to cherish and enjoy this stunning place. There are many great resorts in the world, but there is no place quite like Arapahoe Basin. By making these changes we plan on keeping it that way.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Clouds Are Moving In

The clouds are definitely moving in. I think the next few days are going to be very, very interesting with a whole lot going on.  I suggest that you stay tuned to a lot of places. Keep up with arapahoebasin.com and Al's Blog. Be sure and watch the news. Keep checking opensnow.com. You may want to keep your eye on the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Especially, stay tuned to CDOT. It is going to snow a lot somewhere, we just aren't sure where yet.


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Another Nice Day

It was another nice day. We reported 4 inches of new snow. There were showers off and on throughout the day. I made a few turns in the late afternoon and enjoyed the Lower Mountain. For March it was a pretty quiet day. We might see a few more inches by the morning. I like it.


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

East Wall

The East Wall is looking a lot better and we just might see some snow this week. If it snows, we might have something to talk about.


Monday, March 8, 2021

Bluebird Backcountry

A few years ago Jeff Woodward and Erik Lambert reached out to me to discuss their idea of creating a ski area without chairlifts. It seemed like a crazy vision, but these guys were full of passion, ideas and enthusiasm. It was very clear they were smart, creative and driven. Since then we have talked, emailed and met a few times. They asked dozens, if not hundreds, of questions about what it was like to manage A-Basin. I was not surprised to see they created the revolutionary Bluebird Backcountry, a ski area without lifts.

Yesterday, Kay and I went skiing there. We had a great time. The area is located on Bear Mountain between Kremmling and Steamboat. The mountain is mostly north facing and has a very cool layout with one side, West Bowl, having a bit gentler terrain and the other side, Bear Mountain, being bigger and steeper. We climbed both sides and took a total of three skin/ski laps over four hours ascending 2,100 vertical feet. On a nearly perfect, windless, bluebird (yes, I use that term a lot) day, we enjoyed lunch on the summit of Bear Mountain. The snow and terrain were excellent. The "Lost in the Woodwards" skin track through the aspens was our favorite. In West Bowl there was a geodesic dome tent / warming hut called "The Perch" that served up bacon. Brilliant.

I think the area appeals to anyone that wants to wander around the hills on their skis or snowboard. It is especially great for people entering the backcountry scene. Not only is there beginner friendly terrain, but they offer equipment rentals and a wide variety of lessons, clinics, women's clinics and avalanche courses. The vibe of the place is welcoming and incredible. The employees were authentically friendly and helpful. We had fun catching up with two of my old ski patrol buddies from 30 years ago, Pat Ahern and Bob Tierney, who are patrolling the mountain.

While COVID may be holding them back a little bit, they have a comfortable base area set up for after ski socializing. When we visit next season, we look forward to hanging around the campfire, sharing a beverage, maybe listening to a little music and re-telling the day's adventures. Jeff and Erik have built something very special. They have a great team. Our visit was wonderful. In my mind Bluebird Backcountry is a big success and offers an experience many are looking for. I encourage you to check it out, bluebirdbackcountry.com.

As we left that afternoon, a bald eagle flew right over us.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

More Ikon Reservations

The bluebird days have made for some very beautiful mornings.

We have recently added even more Ikon Reservations for every day (including Saturdays) in March and April. If you are an Ikon Pass holder trying to squeeze in a few more days, be sure and check it out. If the reservations are full on a day you want to ski, be sure and make a last minute check. There are almost always last minute cancellations.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Snowing On Pali

There is something about riding Pali in a snowstorm that absolutely makes my day.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Longer Days

The days are noticeably longer. I had an enjoyable after work skin with blue skies the entire time. No headlamp and no darkness. Today was another warm, perfect bluebird day. Despite the warm day, the temperature dropped quickly, during my skin, as soon as I was in the shade. I found myself digging in my pack for a hat to cover my ears and a warmer pair of gloves. New snow is forecast for tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 2, 2021


And it was another stellar day. Perfect blue skies and the ideal temperature for skiing. The skiing down Dragon is always a treat. Heading north off the Summit down Humbug into Dragon and into Middle or East Gully is one of the sweetest runs off Lenawee Lift. The view of Black Mountain and the East Wall isn't bad either.


Monday, March 1, 2021

North America Bowl

Enjoying a bluebird mountain tour this afternoon, I had to stop on Columbine and enjoy the view of Independence Mountain (our Independence trail is named after it). Take a close look at the far right side of the ridge. With a little imagination, you can pick out the shape of North America outlined by the trees.