Arapahoe Basin Ski Area to re-open Saturday after closure Thursday, Friday due to dangerous conditions |

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area to re-open Saturday after closure Thursday, Friday due to dangerous conditions

Members of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area's ski patrol assess terrain and snow conditions at the ski area on Thursday.
Courtesy Katherine Fuller, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

UPDATE Friday 2:45 p.m.: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area chief operating officer Alan Henceroth announced on his blog that the ski area will re-open Saturday morning for regularly-scheduled hours.

“After minimal slide activity on The Professor, our Snow Safety Team moved on to the Widowmaker,” Henceroth said of the ski area’s avalanche mitigation efforts. “The last big shot of the day triggered a large slide on the Widowmaker depositing a significant amount of snow and timber on Highway 6. Currently, we have snowcats, loaders and plows working to clear the highway. This is not a small task. Staff will work well into evening clearing the road.

UPDATE Friday 11:30 a.m.: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area chief operating officer Alan Henceroth says to look for an announcement regarding opening back up by 1 p.m. Friday.

UPDATE Friday 11:30 a.m.: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area chief operating officer Alan Henceroth says to look for an announcement regarding opening back up by 1 p.m. Friday.

UPDATE Friday 9 a.m.: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is currently conducting ongoing avalanche mitigation work to open up as soon as possible, though spinning the ski area’s lifts today is not a guarantee.

A-Basin chief operating officer Alan Henceroth posted to his blog early Friday morning that A-Basin’s snow safety leaders have been working through the night with the state’s Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC). Henceroth said the ski area secured additional resources to help manage the avalanche concerns along Highway 6.

As of Friday morning, the ski area COO said several staff members from the two state agencies were working with the ski area’s Snow Safety Team delivering explosives to the areas of avalanche concern.

“The teams are in the field now and the work continues,” Henceroth said. “I know that the anxiety and excitement to go skiing is growing in the Arapahoe Basin clan. Getting the additional resources and putting today’s plan into place was a very big and positive step on the path to re-opening. We will update our message by noon today.”

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area chief operating officer Alan Henceroth announced on his blog Thursday afternoon that the ski area won’t open Friday morning and may open later in the day on Friday, though that, too, is uncertain.

Henceroth added that the ski area plans to provide another update by 9 a.m. Friday.

“We will have to see how the avalanche mitigation work goes,” Henceroth said. “There is substantial work planned for the morning. It absolutely pains me to say this but, PLEASE stay away until we can get this situation resolved.

“This is a time of great uncertainty,” Henceroth added. “We have wildly changing weather and snowpack conditions. This afternoon we saw a couple more large slides on the East Wall — TJ’s and Jet Chute. The Professor and Widowmaker are still critical and unresolved concerns. I realize that some people want to know an exact time when things are going to happen. Unfortunately, we are working on Mother Nature’s terms right now. While she is really delivering the goods with these storms, she isn’t always easy to work with.”

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: Copper Mountain Resort opened for the day moments ago, spinning one lift, the American Eagle in Center Village. Copper added in a statement on its social media channels that it expects its Excelerator and Super Bee lifts to open some time this afternoon. Copper said in the statement it’s most likely those will be the only three lifts running today.

UPDATE 11:15 a.m.: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area chief operating officer Alan Hencroth just released an extended statement on his blog specific to the avalanche activity his ski area is currently experiencing and has experienced in recent days. A-Basin is closed Thursday due to the avalanche danger.

Henceroth said though the ski area has seen avalanche activity in the ski area’s East Wall / Humbug Chutes area, A-Basin hasn’t seen too many other avalanches within the ski area. He made it clear, though, that avalanche danger and mitigation work persists as ski area crews still need to travel into other areas.

“Our major concerns are the avalanche paths that threaten the highway and the base area, specifically The Professor and the Widowmaker,” Henceroth said. “CDOT did shoot The Professor this morning without results. There was a large natural slide out of Grizzly Bowl that touched the highway just above the CDOT Barn.

“We do have teams working on the mountain,” Henceroth continued. “The Ski Patrollers are running their avalanche routes. The Lift Crew is digging out the chairlifts and getting them going. Snow plows and snowcats are trying to keep travel lanes open. The Base Area crew is shoveling and shoveling and shoveling trying to un-bury the buildings.”

Henceroth also said in the blog post that the ski area had received a brief lull in snowfall this morning, though it has picked back up again since.

“We may see several more inches by morning,” Henceroth said. “At this time, no one in our leadership circle is comfortable opening the highway and the parking lots. We continue to work very closely with CDOT. There is no chance we will open today. Our avalanche mitigation efforts are continuing. Stay tuned for more updates about tomorrow.”

UPDATE 9:50 a.m.: Highway 91 and I-70 between Frisco and Copper Mountain is now open. However, the resort remains closed at this time.

UPDATE 9:15 a.m.: Copper Mountain Resort posted that its team members at the resort are working on avalanche mitigation and digging out lifts. “We anticipate getting the American Eagle open first but we do not have an estimated time.”

Keystone Resort announced on its social channels the resort is open, but are currently only running the River Run Gondola, Summit Express and Argentine chairlifts. “We will open additional chairlifts and portions of the mountain throughout the day as able.”

Original story:

The overnight snow storm has wreaked havoc not only in Summit County’s backcountry, but across the county’s ski resorts and ski areas as well.

Breckenridge Ski Resort announced shortly before 8:30 a.m., that its upper mountain lifts and terrain would be closed today due to avalanche danger. Breckenridge later added that lower-mountain lifts may be delayed past their scheduled 8:30 a.m. opening.

At Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, A-Basin chief operating officer Alan Henceroth announced on his blog just after 8 a.m. Thursday morning that the ski area will not open for the day.

“Due to extreme avalanche concerns,” Henceroth said on the blog, “A-Basin and Highway 6 over Loveland Pass will not be opening today. We are working closely with CDOT to manage this challenging situation.”

Copper Mountain is on a delayed opening after an avalanche near the Conoco in Copper Mountain that ruptured a natural-gas line.

“In the early morning of March 7, an avalanche behind the Conoco station in Copper Mountain ruptured a natural gas line,” Copper Mountain spokeswoman Taylor Prather said in a statement Thursday morning. “There were no Copper Mountain staff on-site and the Conoco at Copper Mountain will be closed as Excel crews repair the line. Copper Mountain Resort operations are not affected by the gas leak, however due to road closures in the surrounding area as a result of significant snowfall overnight, opening will be delayed.”

With that, though, there is also some good news with Summit County’s ski resorts and ski areas on Thursday, as the resorts are reporting some of the highest overnight snowfall totals in recent memory.

At both of Vail Resorts’ Summit County properties, Breckenridge and Keystone Resort, snow stake cameras showed 17 inches as of early Thursday morning, with more forecast through the day.

Breckenridge reported that it anticipates to receive another 5-9 inches through the day.

Over at A-Basin near the Continental Divide, the ski area reported 14 inches of fresh snow as of about 6:30 a.m.

And at A-Basin’s sister ski area along the Continental Divide, at Loveland Ski Area in Clear Creek County, the new snowfall reached the top of Loveland’s snow stake camera.

Pow Chicka Pow Pow

Posted by Loveland Ski Area on Thursday, March 7, 2019

As of 8 a.m., Copper Mountain had yet to announce snow stake totals.

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