by: tjkotula - 17th February 2013

  • 4
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced/Expert
  • 4All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 2Family Friendly
  • Aprés Ski
  • Terrain Park
  • Overall Value
Challenging Terrain
Lack of Express Lifts

Full review

Like the title says, it's a true skier's mountain. A Basin is right on the divide, so the weather is often windy and snowy. The terrain on any of the upper lifts is tough stuff. The largely ungroomed blues off the Lenawee and Norway lifts will challenge any solid intermediate, especially if you're used to the immaculately-groomed blue and "black" cruisers of the Midwest and East. The experts (and, no doubt, some wannabe experts) head over to the Pali lift for the majority of A Basin's legendary suicidal steeps and chutes. Montezuma Bowl was not open when we skied there on 2/10/2013, and in fact opened for the first time all season the following day. It seems that the Monte lift and terrain are infrequently open during lean snow years, which is a shame. Some will disagree, but this place really could use just one more high-speed quad on the front side, perhaps replacing the Lenawee lift. Frills are starting to creep in just a bit, as there is a relatively new mid-mountain cafeteria with a pricey bar and BBQ menu, but for the most part A Basin is still about as minimalist as it gets these days. Key points: 1. You only come to A Basin to ski/ride, and because you enjoy it. There is no base village, just a cafeteria, rental hut, and small shop. So, don't bring any non-skiing companions when you come here, unless they are comfortable sitting on the deck or tailgating, drinking beer, and watching people come down the bottom half of the mountain all day. 2. A Basin, in my opinion, is not the mountain you bring your novice kid or significant other to (although some do). The entire mountain has one, maybe two trails that would qualify as greens, and grooming operations lie somewhere between minimal and non-existent. People who ski here like it that way. If you cringe at the thought of anything other than perfect corduroy or Midwest "packed powder", you probably don't belong here. 3. Adding Montezuma Bowl to the official "skiiable acreage" clearly had advantages and disadvantages. The resort added a lift, but since they now officially manage it, they get to say when it's open or closed, and I suspect it's closed more often than not.
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