Avalanche Danger Keeps A-Basin From Opening

Colorado has been getting absolutely hammered with snow. There has been such a steady dumping the past few days that resort operations are being affected across the state. Monarch Mountain did not open yesterday because U.S. 50 shut down. Crested Butte closed Monday afternoon. Yesterday, Arapahoe Basin closed due to avalanche danger on Loveland Pass. A-Basin didn't open this morning, either.

c-dot-loveland-pass-a-basin

Update from A-Basin’s Instagram page at roughly 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, January 10 – “Good news – CDOT is reopening US 6 from Keystone to A-Basin! A-Basin will be open until 4:00 p.m. with 2 lifts and limited skier services. See arapahoebasin.com for more details. POWDER DAY!”

Here's what the Denver Post had to say about this morning’s A-basin closure:

“Arapahoe Basin remained closed on Wednesday morning because of work to mitigate avalanche danger on nearby Loveland Pass. The ski area says it is prepared to get its lifts running when U.S. 6 reopens, however, the Colorado Department of Transportation warned it would be a while before motorists will be allowed back onto the route.

"We are still on standby," Al Henceroth, A-Basin's chief operating officer, wrote on his blog Wednesday. "Our patrollers, snowcat drivers, lift mechanics and lift operators are on the hill doing all the work necessary to get the ski area open."

He added:  "It is still snowing heavily. Mitigation efforts are being slowed by the snowfall and the limited visibility. At this time we do not know when the highway will open."

In a tweet, CDOT said the mitigation work would begin at daybreak and that Loveland Pass would "remain closed for an extended period." It was not clear when the road would be back open.

Avalanche danger is extremely high in the mountains and state transportation workers have been stretched thin trying to mitigate the risk. Up to two more feet of snow is expected in the high country before the weekend.

"The breadth of this storm and how many areas are in avalanche danger, it's pretty atypical," Mike Lewis, deputy executive director of CDOT, said Tuesday afternoon. "This is sort of everywhere. It definitely stretches the resources."

Skiers, snowboarders and employees were evacuated from the Summit County ski area on Tuesday afternoon because of the avalanche threat posed by the pass.

On Twitter, the resort posted: "If you have a question about refunds, please be patient. We will post details as soon as we have them and will help you out."

A-Basin reported 9 inches of new snow overnight and 35 inches of powder in the past three days. The ski area is one of three to shut down this week because of snow-related issues. Other resorts on Tuesday were forced to limit the operations of some lifts because of high winds.

Monarch Mountain did not open on Tuesday — its second closure in six days — after the Chaffee County ski area received more than a foot and a half of snow in 24 hours, shutting down U.S. 50. It was planning to open on Wednesday.

On Monday afternoon, Crested Butte Mountain Resort closed after more than a foot of snow fell throughout the day. Last week saw Crested Butte Mountain Resort harvest a state-leading 47 inches from a hydrological hammerdrop. It reopened on Tuesday.”