Spring at Arapahoe Basin, Day 7

On the seventh day of skiing, Arapahoe Basin gave to me, 3 inches of fresh snow! Unfortunately not quite near the upper range of 8 inches that was forecast but at least it wasn’t busy all day and I never had to wait in a line. Overall yet another fantastic day of skiing and the last of this trip and season! Hopefully by the 2021/2022 season all the pandemic related changes will no longer be necessary.

I went up the mountain today right after they started letting people onto the lifts. Not quite first chair but close enough. Other than some grooming, ski area staff, and uphill access people, the snow was untouched and beautiful! And the sun was shining as it would throughout the day.

The first trip back down to mid-mountain was excellent! I did one trail that was mostly fresh snow atop terrain that was last groomed the previous morning, and continued on another that was groomed a bit before it stopped snowing.

Luckily it wasn’t very busy at all so the new snow as well as groomed trails lasted longer than on a busy day. This sequence of photos shows the condition of the snow through time. There’s a few natural places to photograph from as well as some scenes I particularly enjoy so I tend to photograph them all the time!

Gallery: https://gallery.thesun.arfycat.com/Galleries/USA/Colorado/Rocky-Mountains-2021-04/Arapahoe-Basin/Day-7

Spring at Arapahoe Basin, Day 6

It took the snow a little bit to warm up this morning at Arapahoe Basin. The sky was partly cloudy and alternated from cool and dark to warm and toasty. But after two or so hours the snow softened up on the upper half of the front side of the mountain. It ended up being a nice spring day! Up to 8 inches of snow is predicted for tonight. Hopefully it will happen!

On weekdays, the Black Mountain Express and Lenawee Mountain lifts open at the same time. Thus, it is possible to go to the top right away, switching lifts at mid-mountain. The sequence of photos above shows some of the scenery along the way.

The wind was pretty strong at the top during a few points today resulting in slowing being blown everywhere and limiting visibility by a little. There were also occasionally small snow whirlwinds that formed in a particular place by the Lenawee lift though I wasn’t able to photograph it.

The snow was a bit worse than yesterday but there were significantly less people so it was an overall positive! Much like yesterday, I skied most of the groomed front side blues. As always, lots of pretty mountain scenery to be seen on the slopes!

As always, lots of pretty scenery from the lift!

Gallery: https://gallery.thesun.arfycat.com/Galleries/USA/Colorado/Rocky-Mountains-2021-04/Arapahoe-Basin/Day-6/

Spring at Arapahoe Basin, Day 5

The snow was a bit crunchy today at Arapahoe Basin as the recent snow was packed down. A few small areas became icy as well but overall it was still a great time! The weather was pretty mixed from a clear sky to complete overcast but no snow at all. It wasn’t too cold or windy by mountain standards.

Some of the best views are from the very top of the Lenawee, Beavers, and Zuma lifts. There are more mountains in all directions as well as the higher portions of A-Basin that must be hiked to reach. Must be amazing up there but that is way beyond me!

Today, I did most of the groomed blue runs on the front side that accessible via the Lenawee lift and aren’t named West Wall. The snow was packed down pretty hard in the morning but it was still easy to ski on. And it wasn’t very busy with minimal lines developing in late morning.

Some of the best views are from the lifts. And there’s lots of time to look around! These photos are from the Black Mountain Express and Lenawee Mountain lifts.

Gallery: https://gallery.thesun.arfycat.com/Galleries/USA/Colorado/Rocky-Mountains-2021-04/Arapahoe-Basin/Day-5

Spring at Arapahoe Basin, Day 4

Today was a weekend day and with 6″ of new snow in the last two days it ended up being pretty busy. While it wasn’t that bad around opening time, the lines consistently increased in length throughout the morning. Parking ultimately reached capacity today. The weather also ran through the full spectrum from a beautiful cloudless sky to full overcast with light snow. The snow on the ground was a bit hard and crunchy in the early morning but got nicer as it softened up. It was definitely better than the conditions prior to the recent snowfall!

The above photos are from the Black Mountain Express, a high speed detachable quad lift that goes from the base area to mid-mountain. For most of its path, it travels above the well named Exhibition, a black diamond trail infested with some serious looking moguls! It’s always fun to see people skiing down below. Later on, things level out as it approaches mid-mountain as you are treated to a spectacular view of the upper half!

The lower half of the front side has a variety of trails ranging from easy, or what qualifies for easy at A-Basin, to difficult with moguls as well as some short tree runs. I’ve never done anything involving moguls or trees!

The Lenawee Mountain Lift is a triple that runs from mid-mountain to the almost the very top. The views from this lift are spectacular, particularly once you clear the tree line which happens relatively quickly. The lift isn’t very fast so you have lots of time to rest, enjoy the scenery, and people watch as you can see many trails down below!

It’s impossible to tell from these photos without pixel peeping but early on in the morning, there were many ice crystals in the air that were reflecting sunlight. A very cool effect that is very apparent in real life but unfortunately doesn’t really show up well in photography.

A-Basin’s maps are a bit confusing at times, particularly above the tree line. I think I did West Gully for the first time today. I basically just followed the groomed snow down! Part of this trail is visible from the Lenawee Lift and looks a bit intimidating. And it does look rather steep from above but it really wasn’t that bad. Though my assessment would likely change if it wasn’t freshly groomed!

The upper half of the mountain has many blues and a range of difficulties. A great place to be! And the views are as awesome as the skiing, particularly from the very top.

Gallery: https://gallery.thesun.arfycat.com/Galleries/USA/Colorado/Rocky-Mountains-2021-04/Arapahoe-Basin/Day-4/

Sapphire Point

After leaving Loveland Pass, we headed to nearby Sapphire Point. This spot always looks fabulous with fresh snow! Luckily, there was still plenty of it on the trees although some of the ground was bare. We walked on the short trail that loops around a fire scarred hill. The new trees that have been planted in the revegetation area are doing quite well! The surface of Lake Dillon, visible down below from many points along the trail, is still mostly frozen. Due to the weather, we unfortunately weren’t able to see Breck in the distance.

Gallery: https://gallery.thesun.arfycat.com/Galleries/USA/Colorado/Rocky-Mountains-2021-04/Sapphire-Point/

Loveland Pass

We headed up to Loveland Pass in the early afternoon to see how it looked today after some fresh snow. The pass looked pretty treacherous early in the morning on COtrip but looked much better in the afternoon. And it was!

North

Looking to the north, all the trees were covered in snow and the distant mountains were enshrouded in clouds. This is a very popular backcountry ski and boarding spot and today was no exception!

South

Looking to the south towards Arapahoe Basin, visibility was rather limited! It was still actively snowing there at the time.

Artillery

This sign isn’t unique to this location but its in a nice spot and is convenient to photograph!

Gallery: https://gallery.thesun.arfycat.com/Galleries/USA/Colorado/Rocky-Mountains-2021-04/Loveland-Pass

Spring at Arapahoe Basin, Day 3

It snowed 5 inches since yesterday! Everything was coated in beautiful fresh snow. It seemed like there might be some blue sky in the morning but it ended up just getting cloudier with the snow resuming!

The difference in weather is apparent when looking at these two scenes! In the morning, it seemed like the sky might clear despite the forecast calling for more snow. It became quickly apparent that the sky was not going to clear! By around noon, everything was illuminated evenly which made it quite difficult to see any sort of texture on the snow.

The last two days, there was almost no one at the base area in the morning. Just a few skis on the rack and no one really lining up in advance. Today, it felt a bit like a regular winter weekend day though still with substantially less people. There were a few lines to get on the lifts today but it really wasn’t bad at all, a few minutes when it was busiest.

The trees looked amazing today! They looked about as good as they do after a good storm. It definitely makes for a pretty landscape to ski in. And probably through at well through I have no experience with that!

With the fresh snow, I decided to hit the Zuma Bowl after doing a run down the front side. I took the easiest way down as that’s about my limit. The top third or so was a few inches of nice snow and ice underneath. The remaining two thirds was pretty variable. Overall, I’m glad I haven’t degraded since last season!

I spent most of my time on the front side of the mountain. The fresh snow helped quite a bit! These photographs are ordered by time, making the difference in weather and lighting quite apparent.

Gallery: https://gallery.thesun.arfycat.com/Galleries/USA/Colorado/Rocky-Mountains-2021-04/Arapahoe-Basin/Day-3

Spring at Arapahoe Basin, Day 2

Another nice morning at Arapahoe Basin! It started out with a mostly clear sky and the occasional cloud here and there. Later on, around noon, clouds started rolling in. The forecast is calling for snow starting in the afternoon. Hopefully there will be some accumulation to refresh what’s currently on the ground! The conditions were decent today for spring though it got rather slushy later on in the lower third of the mountain.

I brought the telephoto lens today. I only carry one lens at a time while skiing so that it all fits in one small bag. The photos are quite different from the wide angle that I used yesterday!

Some distant mountain views taken from A-Basin. Some amazing scenery to be seen from just about everywhere!

While the mountains along the horizon are beautiful, its nice to look down once in awhile as well! Most of these are from the upper quarter or so of the mountain.

Breckenridge, Keystone, and Lake Dillon are visible to the west from the top of the Beavers lift. Keystone is closed for the season but Breck is still open.

Close up views of Arapahoe Basin from the front side of the mountain! Quite a few of these are from the Lenawee lift as the ride up gives quite a bit of time for photography! The remainder are at places where it is safe and convenient to stop.

Spring at Arapahoe Basin

It was a gorgeous day today at Arapahoe Basin with a few inches of snow that fell recently and a mostly clear sky. The temperatures were below freezing but the sun is incredibly powerful when you’re at 11,000+ feet!

It wasn’t busy at all today with no lines to be seen, anywhere, even while getting lunch at the Black Mountain Lodge. Covid-19 precautions were obeyed and it never felt unsafe.

While I did go all the way to the top today, I did stay on the front side of the mountain. That was good enough for today as the last time I skied was on 3/14/2020, the last day of the regular 2019/2020 season due to the start of the pandemic. It was a tad rough but everything still feels familiar! Unfortunately, I’ve obviously lost my acclimation to the altitude here.

The photos below are more or less ordered by elevation from lowest to highest. Although my GPS track for today does have altitudes for each point, I’m not sure how accurate they are. I ended up just eyeballing them based on location.

Local Cherry Blossoms, The End

There aren’t very many cherry blossoms left today, on the 16th day since they bloomed. Most of the branches are without any petals and the few that are remaining aren’t so great looking, particularly when compared to when they were fresh. Cherry blossom season is over!

One of the few examples of branches that still have some petals left. These blossoms were high up in a tree, the lower branches were mostly without petals.

A few examples of cherry blossoms that were close to the ground. There aren’t really any large clusters left anymore. Just a few flowers here and there. Some do still have all five petals though!

The cherry blossom petals have mostly finished accumulating on the ground as there isn’t much left to drop! Now, the remaining portions of the flowers are falling to the ground.