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.