When conditions are right, the East Wall will open
Ever wonder how much rope patrollers string up at resorts on an average day? Does your ski boot chafe your ankle, and no one seems to be able to tell you why? Want to know why your favorite trail hasn’t opened this year?
Submit your snowsport-related questions to The Weekly Ski Poll, and we’ll find the answers for you. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax at (970) 668-0755 (ATTN: Ski Poll) or call (970) 668-3998, ext. 237. Make sure to include your name, address and phone number. We’ll select a different
question each week and run the answer on Friday.
This week’s question: The East Wall at Arapahoe Basin hasn’t been open in a while. With all this new snow, will it be opening soon?
Answer: The East Wall has opened progressively later since the 1998-99 season and didn’t open at all last year.
In 1998-99, the terrain – accessible at “The Legend” only by hiking and traversing, but worth the work for snowsporters who love chutes and rock drops – opened Jan. 30. The next year, it opened Feb. 19, and the year after that, it opened March 8.
According to A-Basin spokeswoman Leigh Hierholzer, the ski area typically opens the East Wall when the mid-mountain base depth reaches 60 inches. A-Basin is currently reporting a 65-inch mid-mountain base, with more than three feet of new snow in the past 10 days.
“So, we have the snow,” Hierholzer said. “Now ski patrol has been working extremely hard this week to make it safe for the public with avalanche control work.”
Basin-goers can see (and hear) that work, as patrollers have initiated numerous slides. Hierholzer could not, however, give a firm date to open the terrain but said it would come soon.
“We want it open just as much as our skiers and boarders do – maybe even more,” she said. “Then we can go ski it.”
The bountiful snow has been good news and bad news for skiers and boarders with favorite trails at other ski areas, as well. The Windows, gladed terrain on the back of Keystone Mountain, opened two weeks ago and now has plenty of snowpack. In addition, the North and South bowls at Keystone are open. But some Outback areas at the resort are closed because of avalanche danger, according to Keystone spokesman Mike Lee.
At Copper Mountain, only 80 of the resort’s 2,450 acres are closed.
“The snow hasn’t allowed us to open any additional terrain. It’s just made what’s open better,” said Copper spokesman Ben Friedland. “We’ve had some delayed openings – sometimes we’ve closed some areas all day – but those are the steeper pitches. But when it does open, it’s going to be good.”
Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or email@example.com.
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