Arapahoe Basin Ski Area COO hopes new Beavers lift will open annually by mid-December, Christmas |

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area COO hopes new Beavers lift will open annually by mid-December, Christmas

New carriers -- or chairs -- are seen on the new Beavers quad chairlift at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area on Sunday.
Courtesy Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

It was a big weekend of installation at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, as chairs began spinning on the new 1,500-foot-elevation-gain Beavers lift. It is most likely slated to open sometime in December.

On his blog Sunday, A-Basin chief operating officer Alan Henceroth said the ski area initially wanted the new chairlift to be completed by mid-October, but it’ll most likely be finished by the end of the first week of November.

That said, Henceroth elaborated on just when the ski area at the Continental Divide hopes to open the Beavers lift each year moving forward.

“Through The Beavers planning process,” Henceroth wrote on his blog, “we thought the lift would open about the same time as Pali (Pallavicini) Lift or maybe 1-2 storms after Pali Lift opened. That said, on an average year, we hope the lift will be open between mid-December and Xmas. If we get the lift completed by November 7, that gives us plenty of time to reach our projected opening.”

Henceroth added that the above-tree-line intermediate Loafer trail in the new Beavers terrain section at A-Basin has received a surprising amount of snow considering the fluctuating conditions through October.

“Our snowfences have caught a tremendous amount of snow,” Henceroth continued. “The trail work, especially that done by the spider hoe and masticator, has come out much smoother than we expected. Over the next couple of months we will actually get this lift open and really find out how close our opening projections were.”

The new quad lift will serve 339 acres of A-Basin’s 468-acre terrain expansion into The Beavers and Steep Gullies. The double-black-diamond Steep Gullies terrain will not be serviced by this lift and requires a 30-minute hike.

On Saturday and Sunday, A-Basin crews placed the new carriers — aka chairs — on the under-construction Beavers lift throughout the day. That portion of the work followed the completion of the installation and splicing of the Beavers chairlift’s rope.

Early season terrain

In terms of new terrain opening up with this week’s forecasted storms, Henceroth on Friday wrote that A-Basin’s intermediate, lower-mountain Ramrod trail would most likely open next — perhaps very soon.

“We are still waiting for either, that one really cold night or several kinda cold nights,” Henceroth said of Ramrod’s open. “In the meantime, every spare fan gun is being moved to the Upper Mountain. As soon as Ramrod is ready, we will be firing away on Lenawee Face and Dercum’s Gulch.”

The warm weather from last week that lingered into this week helped with the ski area’s snowmaking in terms of melting much of the snow on south-facing terrain early last week. Henceroth also said last week the warm weather had not impacted any of the snow where ski area crews have been working on terrain.

That said, the warm weather did prevent A-Basin from making snow several days last week. Henceroth clarified that wasn’t unusual, but rather “just typical October weather.”

“Some great nights for snowmaking and some not so great nights for snowmaking,” he wrote. “So, we need the night time temperatures to drop about 5 more degrees and we will get this snowmaking operation cranking again.”

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