Arapahoe Basin, CO Conditions Report: Beautiful Weather and Low Tide

Ryan Flynn | | Conditions ReportConditions Report
Beautiful weather yesterday at Arapahoe Basin

This report is from Friday 8th January 2020 and brought to you by 10 Barrel Brewing

Arapahoe Basin has started to open up more terrain over the last couple of weeks. Knowing that there was the option to ski some real bumps and steeps, my friend Ryan and I took a trip up to Arapahoe Basin yesterday. We were treated to some beautiful blue-bird skies as seen above. The snow was chalky and soft in spots as a recent storm dropped roughly 4 inches across most of the surrounding mountains. With the recently replaced Pallavicini chair and Beavers Chair now running were got straight into it.

Since my friend and I had not been to the A-basin since Lenawee opened up we were excited to ski some runs made of real snow. The skiing was surprisingly pretty great for what was open. We found the best snow off of Lenawee where West Gully and Lenawee Parks had the best coverage. Sharks were still peaking up here and there so be careful off-piste unless you are fine with some ptex repairs. A lot of the runs not yet open on the upper mountain are starting to look a lot better than a few weeks ago. Ski patrol has made some noticeable packing and snow cuts across most of these and I think we are only one more good storm cycle away from their opening.

We also skied a lot of Pallavicini as it is both our favorite lift in Colorado. Pali Face and Slalom Slope were skiing great. Again sharks were still present, especially on the lower 3rd of Pali Face where some saplings and bushes are still peeking above the snow.

View from Lenawee lift looking towards the West Wall and Slalom Slope. Pallivicini can be seen on the top of Slalom Slope.
Top of Pallivicini looking towards tree chutes and Shit for Brains.

While riding the lifts we started to notice the very apparent avalanche danger that currently exists in much of Colorado. A deep persistent slab has formed like usual and has triggered some big avalanches within sight of A-basin. The evidence of instability is clearly evident right now so be extra careful traveling in the backcountry!

Multiple large avalanches were clearly visible North of A-basin near Loveland Pass. Photo taken from Pallivicini.

Colorado is currently not having the best of starts in terms of snowfall this winter. Most of the state’s river basins are below normal snowpack levels as of today. The chart below shows the snowpack across Colorado as a percentage of the median. Much of the central and northern parts of the state are between 20-25% below normal where the south is doing roughly normal for this time of year. Sadly, the current short-term forecast is looking pretty dry. There is some growing optimism in a stormy period around the end of the month so make sure to do your nightly snow dances!

Overall, I cannot complain about being able to ski the real steeps, even if they have less than normal snow. It was a fantastic day at Arapahoe Basin and looking forward to getting up again real soon (hopefully with snow falling instead of blue skies).

Colorado snowpack on Jan 5th, 2021. Credit: United States Department of Agriculture

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2 thoughts on “Arapahoe Basin, CO Conditions Report: Beautiful Weather and Low Tide

  1. You’re a kook for describing trees as sharks and lack of snow as low tide, stick to snow lingo gaper

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