Friday, September 30, 2022

And then there was snow...

 We had a light dusting today.  The forecast looks snowy for the next couple of days.  Things are starting to change.

The Wall is Growing

 I posted a photo a week or so ago of Pat and the new wall.  This was the update of the wall today. We are seeing progress. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

More Biking....

 Okay, I know you guys all want to hear about snow making but we are not there quite yet.  We need it to get a little colder. I promise you I will let you know as soon as we start making snow. 

In the mean time lets keep talking about the Beavers Loop Trail.  I think this might be my new favorite trail. Today, I did a post work ride and I don't think I will ever get tired of a sunset from the top of the mountain. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

This Bike Trail is Fun

 The New Beavers Loop trail is fun. I love the views in the winter from along where this bike trails goes but the fall views are just as good.  I am not sure how long this will be open before we fully transition to winter but if you haven't tried it yet, get out there this week.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

BMX Bullwheel Bearings

Consistently, our Lift Maintenance team is doing lots and lots of work on all of our chairlifts. Certain checks are done each day at start up. Then there is a morning check and an afternoon check. Each week there are certain checks and procedures that are completed. Others are done monthly, semi-annually and annually. And then there are the big projects at 10-20-year intervals or longer. We are doing one of those procedures at the top of Black Mountain Express right now. The bullwheel bearings are being replaced. The lift has to be de-tensioned and the bullwheel is lowered to a place where the bearings can be replaced. This one is a very big process.


Monday, September 26, 2022


Whenever we do a project with ground disturbance, we have to rehabilitate the site. This week we had a team of professionals hydroseeding the top of Lenawee Express. They spray a mix of water, seeds and fertilizer. This mix will stick to the ground through the winter and some of those seeds will germinate next summer after the snow melts.


Sunday, September 25, 2022

Hazel, Helicopter And A Moose

As she always does, Hazel Miller put on a spectacular show. Fantastic fun for all. In a typical A-Basin fashion, it was a happening day. The helicopter was flying towers in the morning slightly overlapping the concert. The Beavers Loop mountain bike trail had its grand debut in the afternoon. If that wasn't enough, right in the middle of Hazel's show, a huge bull moose sauntered through the base area. Only at The Basin.


Testing, testing...

 Last night we tested the snow guns.  Do you know what that means? We are one step closer to skiing and riding.  

Looking Like A Chairlift

The helicopter came today. It flew all the towers and cross arms. And it is looks like we have a chairlift.


Saturday, September 24, 2022

Beavers Loop Open

The Beavers Loop mountain bike trail is now open. I know many of you have been really looking  forward to this. Mountain bikers can enjoy this new segment from the Summit to Black Mountain Lodge. The trail built by IMBA Trail Solutions and the A-Basin Trails crew gives riders a chance to enjoy a bottom to top to bottom loop.

The trail will be open until snowfall or snowmaking closes it. You are going to love it.

Tower 15

Looking down the Lenawee Express lift line at the Tower 15 foundation. We should see a tower here soon.


Friday, September 23, 2022

The Back Fill and Wall

The back fill and the wall continue to progress at the bottom of Lenawee Express.


Thursday, September 22, 2022

Hazel Miller

A-Basin, fall colors and Hazel Miller. Saturday, Colorado music legend, Hazel Miller will help us close out the final summer weekend. Despite the current stormy weather, the forecast is calling a sunny, Fall weekend. Again, this is the last weekend for the VF and AAP. As always, come for a hike or a bike ride or some disc golf or, simply, enjoy the 6th Alley deck. 

And then we have to get ready for ski season.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Norway Wetland Rehabilitation

We are working on a wetland mitigation/re-creation project at the bottom of old Norway Lift. Working with the Forest Service and a contracted ecologist, we developed a plan to create new wetlands and rehabilitate uplands. The project involved excavation and regrading. We imported some very rich compost material. We planted about a thousand wetland and upland plants. Later this week, much of the area with be hydroseeded. To access the old lift, there was a short road that crossed the creek in two culverts. Those culverts were removed and the stream banks will be rehabilitated. About half of the road was decommissioned and re-veged.

It will be cool to watch this area grow over the next few years.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

State Of The Basin - Looking Towards Ski Season

On March 4 I did a blog post on the State of the Basin. So much of our plan the last few years has been to reduce the number of skiers and improve the quality of the experience. I thought I would take a minute to update how the remainder of last season went and what we can look forward to in the upcoming season.

We had a strong finish to last season. Visiting with our guests and reading our guest surveys, it seemed like most people really enjoyed their time here. We hosted 63% of the visits that we had hosted in our peak season, 2018-19. The reduced visitation has converted to reduced lift lines and improved parking and allowed us to focus on delivering incredible guest experiences. 

With a daily comfortable carrying capacity of 4,140 skiers, we had five days with over 4,000 skiers. This translated to a few more hours of challenging parking, but overall, we had a fantastic finish to the season.  Consistent to years and decades of the past, Spring powder days, once the other resorts have closed, can be busy and bus ridership and carpooling disappear. Those kind of days are disproportionately challenging on parking. Our busiest day of the season was May 21 when we reported 16 inches of new snow. As you can imagine, the skiing and riding that day was phenomenal and the parking and highway travel was not quite phenomenal.

Looking forward to this coming season, the Lenawee Express 6-passenger detachable chairlift is an exciting addition to our lift fleet. This addresses our one bottleneck and converts a 9 minute lift ride to a 4 minute lift ride. And, it will be a sweet ride. Towards the Summit, the Steilhang Hut and Il Rifugio restaurants will be open. Steilhang is new and Il Refugio has been expanded and remodeled. Serving German sausages and charcuterie, the mountain dining experience will be outstanding.

Taking care of our guest is job # 1. As I have stated earlier, our daily goal will be to just reach and not exceed our comfortable carrying capacity. Our team intends to keep the A-Basin ski experience one of the best in the country. There are a few parts of the season, particularly the Fall and the holidays, that were a little soft with visitation. We will be working to increase visits there with the addition of Fall products and the elimination of the Ikon Base Pass black outs. Mostly importantly, we are focused on keeping the daily skier numbers just right.

We have very high expectations looking forward to the 2022-23 season. My fingers are crossed that we have exited the most difficult part of the COVID era. Our mountain, our facilities and our employees have never been better. Our commitment to fewer skiers and better experiences is unwavering. This could be the best season ever.

Remember, lift tickets are only available online, season passes will sell out and carpool on powder days, especially Spring, weekend powder days.

Monday, September 19, 2022

The Wall And More

The Wall at the bottom of Lenawee Express is growing.

Anyone involved in construction recently knows that this "supply chain" stuff is real. The lift building business is no exception. Luckily, this week we received several major shipments and are expecting more next week. Over the next 2-3 weeks, we will see three major developments. One, the top terminal should be substantially completed. Two, the lift towers will be flown into place. And three, the wall building, back-filling and grading at the bottom terminal should be substantially complete. Before you know, this will look like a chairlift.


Sunday, September 18, 2022

Large Piece Of Concrete

The last of the Lenawee Express major concrete work is complete. The forms have been stripped. The back fill will continue. Take note of just how huge this piece of concrete is. Once the lift is completed, skiers will only see the top one or two feet of concrete. So much of the lift construction are these foundations and most people never see them.


Saturday, September 17, 2022

Sunday Oktoberfest

Today's Oktoberfest celebration has been a hit. The dancing, the songs, the games, the bratwurst, the bier, all fabulous. The celebration continues for another day Sunday. Pre-sales that day are a bit lighter so if you are looking for a slightly quieter experience, come on up. Lots of people riding bikes, throwing discs and climbing the VF and AAP. Definitely a fun time.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Lift Building Fun

Yesterday, while it was snowing, the lift crew had a heck of a day pouring concrete and building a chairlift.


Thursday, September 15, 2022

Snowing On The Summit

 It is a little stormy up on The Summit.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Aerial Adventure Park & Via Ferrata - Two More Weekends

Summer is winding down in the Aerial Adventure Park (AAP) and on the Via Ferrata (VF). These activities will be open for two more 3-day weekends, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The AAP is fun for anyone with an adventurous spirit. Bring your friends and family and enjoy climbing high in the forest. The VF is more challenging out on the rock, but equally fun. Don't let the Summer slip by without enjoying these climbing adventures.  Come on up and savor those last days of summer. You might even catch Oktoberfest or the September 24 Hazel Miller concert. For more details check out Aerial Adventure Park and Via Ferrata.

After these two weekends, we will seriously shift into preparing for winter. The Snowmaking Manager, Bill LeClair, already has his game face on.


Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Fan Guns Out

The snowmakers have put the fan guns out on High Noon. In the next couple weeks they will be placing hydrants, snowmaking hose and power cords. Monday they did Summer Test Number One pumping water up to mid-mountain. It all worked well. Snowmaking systems are interesting and complicated. Snowmaking and power lines are spread for miles across the mountain. Additionally, there are pump stations and the actual fan guns. Most of the equipment exists in a very rough and rugged environment. On top of that, the system sits idle for nine months of the year. The snowmaking crew spends the summer testing and maintaining all of their gear.

They do all this in preparation for that special night two or three weeks from now when the wet bulb temperature drops below 26F and they "FIRE UP" for the snowmaking season.


Monday, September 12, 2022

Two Days Of Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest has been such a great event that we are hosting it for two days this Fall. This is my favorite event of the "No Winter" season. I even bought my own lederhosen. Saturday or Sunday come up for the morning for a hike, a bike, a round of disc golf or a free chairlift ride. Starting at noon each day there will be all kinds of great food, beer, live music and dancing.   For all the details and to register go A-Basin Oktoberfest.


Sunday, September 11, 2022

Tower Guns Installed

We had a good fly day Wednesday. The four new tower guns on High Noon were set. The helicopter also did a little bit of Lenawee Express work as well as delivering some equipment high on the Via Ferrata route.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Cirque Series

Today was the annual Cirque Series running race. 500 athletes started in the base area and ascended to the top of Radical where they hopped on the Beavers Loop Trail. While that trail is not quite finished and ready for bikes, it was acceptable for this tough, gnarly adventure. Runners continued to the Summit and then climbed all the way to the top of Little Lenawee Peak. From there a rapid descent took them all the way back to the base area. Amazingly, the first place finisher completed the course in 1 hour and 8 minutes. Very fun day up here.


Monday, September 5, 2022

Dillon Amphitheater

Dillon has an incredible amphitheater. On the edge of the lake with the Gore and Ten Mile Ranges in the background, it is hard to beat this setting. The shows there range from sold out national acts to free local concerts. We went to one of each this weekend. Saturday night Shakey Graves entertained a sold out crowd with his unique Americana blend of blues, folk, country and rock and roll. Sunday night the "Summit Musicians Relief Fund" hosted a show to aid local musicians in need. A number of local bands entertained the crowd including A-Basin favorites High Five, Old Herman and Hobo Village.

Summit County is such a fantastic place to live and spend time that I have to pinch myself. We get to enjoy these fantastic shows in an idyllic setting. While listening to the music, I also gaze at the mountains and I remember the peaks I have stood on top of and ponder the ones that hope to stand on soon. We are lucky.