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Here is my TR on a great day yesterday visiting an old favorite just over Loveland Pass as you come in from the East.

Arrived at 8:15 AM parking on first row and greeted by the ICE carving depicting Arapahoe Basins 60 years of service. Looked to be a great crisp bright day with the specs for Friday reading:

Snow Report as of Friday, December 22 at 5:24 AM
New Snowfall
Last 24 Hours: 1.00 inches
Last 3 days: 13 inches
Midway Snow Depth: 37 inches
Summit Snow Depth: 40 inches
Conditions: Powder/Packed Powder
Current Weather
Temperature at 8:00am: 14 F
Forecast: Afternoon Snow Showers
Percentage Of Terrain Open 91%
Number of Trails Open 45
Number of Acres Open 448
Number of Lifts Open 5 out of 6
East wall

Started up Exhibition Lift finding Norway closed (low volume anticipated) then off to Lenawee lift. Upper East Wall exposed and closed with Lower traverse possible finding some powder from Wednesdays 10” skiing back to Lenawee. Made a couple of loops and worked back over to Pallavicini lift to catch Wildcat, Nose, North and South Chutes, Slalom Slope and Powder Keg before the sun decomposed the tracked up powder. Nice runs slicing up the remainder of Wednesdays dump. 7 or 8 loops of that routine also cutting through the trees of Challenger, No Name and My Chute before a mid morning coffee and energy bar. Good snow coverage and good runs in the sun for everything portside of Pal lift with no complaints.

By 11:00 AM still no lift lines Exhibition or Pal. The only holdup still remains Basins antiquated bar code readers. The guys and gals must practically stand on you to get a low audible read, primarily the only reason things slow a bit. There were no issues with Lenawee lift as there was little obstacle impeding your entry onto the chair which was spinning at highest velocity all day long carrying all too infrequent guests. I’m betting also that more “guests” will be boot unbuckled at the new Black Mountain Lodge just portside of Exhibition termination. This place is supposed to be opened for spring skiing 2007. I watch a snow cat with a pallet fork attachment on the front carrying the huge cooking grill and exhaust vent (something you don’t see being moved often on a slope) and kicked off the ski’s and looked inside the new place to pick up some hints on tile grouting and wallboard mudding. The other addition to A-Basin was shown to me by a patrolman who took me over top pointing out where the new chair for the Montezuma Bowl will be placed opening up another 1350 vertical feet and 410 new acres. The chair will off load just east of Lenawee’s. Certainly will miss the years of solitude of that backside offered but will welcome the lift back up when ready for the ’07-’08 season.

After the morning quick break I ran back over to Lenawee running down everything below Snow Plume. I completely lost track of my loop count. Absolutely wide open with powder scraps, packed and hard conditions all fast. Very well marked rock exposures avoided any nasty’s and worked turns till legs burned and hydration and fuel meter blew the lunch whistle. I went down to the Jeep and picked up a sandwich while watching a snow squirrel try to make off with someone’s wool cap. I was thinking that cap would make him a great warm bed and the envy of the forest.

After lunch leaving the grasp of the grill smoke and the high decibel level of "Jimi Hendrix" I went up top Pal to pick up a cell signal (best solid signal at the patrol supply shed) and called Mrs. Don to see if she had secured a flight from Boston to Denver. No such luck yet as she also gave me raspberries for having fun without her. The remainder of the day was spent solely on Pal and everything starboard. All kinds of powder to be first tracked if you worked a little harder through East Ave and Timber Glades and further off at 2nd and 3rd Alley. Patrol was vigilant of marker busters and I witness a “pass pull” of some dude who I saw earlier pull the same stunt. They were waiting for him 40 yards below his prior entry point. I’m sure this guy was visiting and on his last day as he was just too belligerently obvious. Idiot!

The Spine, Pali Face and David’s Run became my primary targets working some broken heavy and bumps. Really a must to carefully check out the your line on these runs as some obvious narrows were beginning to expose some rock head as I did take a few cheese graters and 3 shots to the rails. Nothing with the rails that quick on slope work with the pocket diamond did not fix nicely. I must admit all these hits were anticipated as they came upon my favorite line (and obviously others) of David’s run including a narrow drop that I just couldn’t avoid as it is too much fun. Yes I know, don’t walk into the light, but I could not help myself.

Stayed on top and used only the Snow Plume warming hut for a quick break now and then. Bright sun and 22 degrees turned to overcast and 10 degrees by 1:30 with no wind. However, I was comfortable all day with no adding or subtracting of layers.

I ran it till the gas left the tank and the predicted afternoon storm cloud cover exceeded my 25 VLT lens ability to discern proper depth perception. OK, I’ll cut the crap. I about lost my lunch on an unanticipated drop on the West Alley that caught me completely by surprise and really rang my bell…YUP…time to go home. Packed it up by 4:15 PM and practically never touched my break pedal until home at Highlands Ranch. Great skiing, no traffic on slopes or road, Great day.

So when you visit you must wish happy 60th to Arapahoe Basin and bring another wool cap for the snow squirrel.

Good Skiing!