Loveland, CO 4-29-17

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Loveland, CO 4-29-17

Postby EMSC » Sat Apr 29, 2017 1:12 pm

Very, very cold at the top of chair 9 and the Ridge kitty today...
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Re: Loveland, CO 4-29-17

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon May 01, 2017 8:27 am

Looks nice. Any more details/pix from that day?
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Re: Loveland, CO 4-29-17

Postby EMSC » Mon May 01, 2017 1:32 pm

Well it had been snowing in Colo mtns for about 8-10 days with Abasin/Loveland picking up something like 2 feet over that time period and crucially with cold and snow each day meaning no warm-up to corn or slush. Friday night they picked up another 5" and it snowed all the way down the mtns and into Denver... eg a real $h!* show parking wise. Though I heard that Abasin was much worse with all the Epic passers over there.

While Chair 1 did have 2-3 minute lines at times, fortunately everything (Basin, not Valley) is still open. So no real crowding on-hill. It was interesting snow in that despite the ~2feet or so over time you'd watch a skier make 6 or 8 noiseless turns followed by scraaape as some parts of the re-frozen underlying snowpack were evident in random spots.

As for my ski day I hit 4 laps on lookers left of chair 1 finding some spots that had not been skied for 4-6 turns at a time. Following that up with a real powdery lap though Catwalk trees on my way up the mtn. I decided for Chair 4 to get me up to Chair 9 with some nice lower angle meadow skipping. With the most bizarre part of the day being that the wind was the opposite direction of the normal prevailing wind. So wind at your back going up Chairs 4 and 9. That part was quite pleasant.

Near the top I spotted that the Cat was running despite the poor visibility so I decided to give it a try. Given the cold day (probably topped out only in the mid-20's at the base) and strong wind coming from the east, my face quite literally froze making that traverse/hike; Wow. Skiing was to braille-ish on the upper portion of that run, but visibilty and some of the best snow of the day on the lower half. I decided to try a couple runs off 9 that would keep my face warmer for the next couple laps before heading in for lunch.

After a quick bite I lapped chair 1 again for several runs before performing a repeat of my earlier pattern back over to chair 9. Visibility was a bit better in the afternoon, and the winds less making it practically balmy by comparison for my second cat run - I caught the final cat of the day. Given the limited numbers that cat delivers, the skiing was not tracked out by any means only though a limited amount of terrain was open off of it. I hit one final lap on Chair 4 before pulling the plug about 3:15p.

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Part way down 1st cat run


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visibility off Chair 9


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Interesting view looking S to Chair 2 late in the afternoon
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Re: Loveland, CO 4-29-17

Postby egieszl » Tue May 02, 2017 10:12 am

I really don't understand why Loveland calls it quits after the first weekend of May every year? If snow conditions are good I think they should try to go through the end of the month. Aside from A-Basin all other ski areas have closed, so business volume can't be that bad that you must close.
2014-15 ski season stats- Vertical: 1,154,634, Days: 42, Lift rides: 729, Top day vertical: 45,444;
Total past nine seasons as of 1/22/16- Vertical: 10,344,359, Days: 407, Lift rides: 6,541;
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Re: Loveland, CO 4-29-17

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue May 02, 2017 10:57 am

A-Basin set it's record attendance day on May 10, 2015, the day we flew home after 2 days skiing there. At the beginning of that trip on Monday April 27, we were in A-Basin's overflow upper parking lot because its main lot was already full at 9AM.

While both of these were fresh snow days, yes there does seem to be room for Loveland to run longer.
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Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
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Re: Loveland, CO 4-29-17

Postby Marc_C » Tue May 02, 2017 2:19 pm

egieszl wrote:I really don't understand why Loveland calls it quits after the first weekend of May every year?

Since "The entirety of Loveland’s existing lift, trail, and infrastructure network is operated on National Forest System (NFS) lands that are administered under a special use permit (SUP) by the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest and Pawnee National Grassland (ARP).", could it have something to do with the terms of their operating permit?
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Re: Loveland, CO 4-29-17

Postby q » Wed May 03, 2017 2:10 am

Marc_C wrote:
egieszl wrote:I really don't understand why Loveland calls it quits after the first weekend of May every year?

Since "The entirety of Loveland’s existing lift, trail, and infrastructure network is operated on National Forest System (NFS) lands that are administered under a special use permit (SUP) by the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest and Pawnee National Grassland (ARP).", could it have something to do with the terms of their operating permit?


Discovery, with the exception of the Silver Chief lift, is located on Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and from what I gather its normal operating permit is up to the first Sunday in April. In the last 2 seasons our season has been extended to the 2nd Sunday in the month and my understanding is that they have paid for that privilege. Despite great conditions locals(lazy) appetite for skiing on anything other than a powder day by then has gone and a handful of us midweek in April have had the place to ourselves. I fear they may revert back in coming years but who knows.

Different scenario but there must be a point where costs of extending the season while not knowing what the weather will bring during that extended period means it might not be worth the gamble. Discovery as it happens has had better conditions after closing with a couple weeks of cold and snowy day.
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Re: Loveland, CO 4-29-17

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed May 03, 2017 1:05 pm

MarcC wrote:Since "The entirety of Loveland’s existing lift, trail, and infrastructure network is operated on National Forest System (NFS) lands that are administered under a special use permit (SUP) by the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest and Pawnee National Grassland (ARP).", could it have something to do with the terms of their operating permit?

99% of the time this is a completely bogus excuse. Most western ski areas close for economic reasons when their customers hang it up. This is particularly true in low population density regions when the destination visitors stop coming in early April. See Crested Butte, Telluride, Whitewater, Red Mt. as good examples.

And tseeb has justifiably ripped Kirkwood and Heavenly for closing April 16 and 30 this season when both had run deep into May in big years prior to Vail's takeover.

So no surprise it's true for Discovery. Discovery's region is so low density that even in the winter some areas are only open 4-5 days per week.

Alta is a good illustration of closing having zero to do with Forest Service regs. Alta tends to decide last minute whether there will be any bonus weekends past daily operation ending third weekend of April. Sometimes it's one weekend. In 2011 it was two. This year it's none because of the Supreme construction project.

Most of Mammoth is on Forest Service land too, and rumor now is it will spin lifts into August.

Meanwhile I've read that A-Basin set another new attendance record on Sunday. So yes I'm with egieszl on this one. The local demand seems to be there for Loveland to go longer.
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Re: Loveland, CO 4-29-17

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed May 03, 2017 2:25 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:The local demand seems to be there for Loveland to go longer.

If the "terms of the NFS operating permit" is a bogus excuse, how do you explain money-driven Americans leaving cash on the table?
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Re: Loveland, CO 4-29-17

Postby Marc_C » Wed May 03, 2017 2:36 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:
Tony Crocker wrote:The local demand seems to be there for Loveland to go longer.

If the "terms of the NFS operating permit" is a bogus excuse, how do you explain money-driven Americans leaving cash on the table?

Is the cash enough to offset operating expenses?
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Re: Loveland, CO 4-29-17

Postby EMSC » Wed May 03, 2017 2:54 pm

I think there are two primary drivers in the Loveland decision to close the first Sunday in may every year.

1) history. I suspect front range population (eg skier volume) was enough smaller in the past to mean that the economics of going past the 1st weekend in may didn't make any sense at all. 1st weekend of May is their traditional closing date for a very long time.
2) variability. While the conditions you see in this TR are pretty standard for late April/early May, the true winter conditions tend to peter out around when they currently close (in most years) so the economics can get highly variable after that. Probably some years would be great and some would cost more than they bring in.

I suspect that given the huge population gains in the front range in the past decade that either Loveland or someone else will figure out that the economics are likely to work out in their favor on average going forward. Winter Park extended the Mary Jane side lifts through Sun April 30 this year and, I suspect, did quite well at least on the weekends.
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Re: Loveland, CO 4-29-17

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed May 03, 2017 4:12 pm

Marc_C wrote:Is the cash enough to offset operating expenses?

Yes. Tony's "bogus excuse" claim seems to imply something more sinister than Adam Smith's invisible hand.
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Re: Loveland, CO 4-29-17

Postby tseeb » Wed May 03, 2017 8:01 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:And tseeb has justifiably ripped Kirkwood and Heavenly for closing April 16 and 30 this season when both had run deep into May in big years prior to Vail's takeover.


They are also ripping Vail on early closure of Heavenly and Kirkwood with 200" bases at https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/sho ... -epic-pass"

I received this today from Snowbrains about Squaw planning to run into Summer this Winter. I don't think they are doing this to lose money, but could be compensating for all the days they could (or did) not run (most) lifts this Winter

"Here's a look at our plan for the upcoming months following this record-breaking season:

May 2017: Alpine Meadows will operate Saturdays & Sundays from 8:30am-2pm through closing day on Sunday, May 14. Squaw Valley will operate daily from 9am-4pm through May 31.
June 2017: Squaw Valley will open for skiing and riding on Saturdays & Sundays in June. Hours to be determined, based on conditions.
July 1-4: Squaw Valley will operate daily for skiing, riding and activities. Hours to be determined, based on conditions.

Beyond July 4th

As conditions allow and the snow lasts, Squaw Valley is gearing up to operate the Shirley Lake Express chair on Saturday’s in July...or August! Our groomers will be working to relocate snow to the area to maintain snowpack and allow for summer skiing and riding. Basically, we plan to let you ski as long as the snow lasts! " Which is how it should be!
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Re: Loveland, CO 4-29-17

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed May 03, 2017 8:41 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:
Marc_C wrote:Is the cash enough to offset operating expenses?

Yes. Tony's "bogus excuse" claim seems to imply something more sinister than Adam Smith's invisible hand.

It's absolutely Adam Smith's invisible hand, but it's disingenuous to blame it on the Forest Service. Please spare us the marketing :bs: .

tseeb wrote:Squaw Valley will open for skiing and riding on Saturdays & Sundays in June. Hours to be determined, based on conditions.

I wouldn't bet much on this being any more than Shirley Lake as in July. That's very small potatoes compared to what's skiable at Mammoth. Alpine Meadows is a better late (and early!) season area than Squaw due to higher base elevation and more usable vertical. But under KSL Alpine is the stepchild because the big lodging base is at Squaw. Under independent management in the 1980's Alpine was the Tahoe area that routinely stayed open the latst, usually Memorial Day.

And no this doesn't offset Squaw being cheap about running lifts during the main ski season. Silverado is a substantial terrain pod and what other A-List ski area would close off that much terrain midweek in February/March?

I think EMSC has analyzed Loveland's situation spot-on. But surely someone is noticing these spring weekend junkshows at A-Basin becoming more common as the Front Range population base grows. Another factor is of course the Epic Pass. When the marginal cost of that A-Basin spring day ticket is zero, more people are going to show up.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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