Arapahoe Basin Ski Area closes Pali, Zuma, Beavers lifts for season; COO elaborates on condensed June operations |

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area closes Pali, Zuma, Beavers lifts for season; COO elaborates on condensed June operations

A snowboarder eyes the descent on the front-side of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area during a snowstorm last month.
Courtesy Katherine Fuller, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

In advance of its weekends-only season extension through at least June 21-23, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area announced on social media on Sunday that the only lift-serviced terrain offered for the remainder of the season will be skiing and riding off of the Black Mountain Express and Lenawee Mountain lifts.

A-Basin will be open Fridays-through-Sundays for three consecutive weekends into summer: June 7-9, 14-16 and 21-23, at least. A-Basin on Sunday reported a 69-inch base with spring conditions.

Also this weekend, A-Basin’s chief operating officer Alan Henceroth described in a blog post on Saturday why the ski area at the Continental Divide will shift to a three-day per week schedule rather than seven days a week after this weekend.

Henceroth said the ski area will decrease to three days per week to try to match operations to business levels.

“While folks still skiing and riding are incredibly passionate about this sport, there are not quite as many of them still making turns in June,” Henceroth said. “Many of our employees are moving on to their summer jobs. With fewer visitors in summer, we have found that by consolidating our business into those three days it works out better for both the business and the employees. I certainly appreciate that many of you wish we were skiing seven days a week.”

Henceroth also said that during A-Basin’s closed days through June 23, the ski area’s snowcat crew will be busy, including work opening waterbars — a way for controlling runoff — and managing snow. Henceroth said each week the ski area’s crew will have snow torn up for a few days before putting it back together by the time chairs start spinning again each Friday.

“We anticipate water to really start flowing in places,” Henceroth said.

Due to the weekly work the ski area’s crews will be conducting with the ski area’s remaining snowpack, Henceroth said A-Basin’s uphill access will be closed Monday through Thursday. The COO added that if conditions are still good, uphill access will reopen Friday.

In a blog post on Monday, Henceroth pointed to an data that showed the ski area’s snowpack is 290% of normal as of Sunday.

“It doesn’t mean the snowpack is huge,” Henceroth said on his blog, “it means it hasn’t really started melting yet.”

The COO then pointed to data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) that shows the river nearby the ski area, the Snake River, is well below its long term median. That said, Henceroth said in recent days the Snake River’s flow has really started to jump, a sign the ski area’s melting of snowpack is speeding up.

Henceroth then pointed to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecast for A-Basin for early this week.

“Each day we should see high temperatures in the upper 50’s  (I suspect maybe higher),” the COO said on his blog. “The Snake River flow will continue to rise and, before too long, will be well above its long term median. I am ecstatic that Pali, Beavers and Zuma Lifts were all still open today, June 2. That is much later than I ever would have guessed. Looking at these diagrams, I think our timing for consolidating operations to 3 days a week with Black Mountain Express and Lenawee Mountain Lifts is pretty good.”

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