OPEN: Arapahoe Basin

This weekend kicked off North America's 2014-2015 ski season as Arapahoe Basin opened on Friday. 

On Wednesday Arapahoe Basin sent out a press release with the news of the opening. “Conditions have been outstanding for snowmaking and we are very excited to open this Friday,” said Alan Henceroth, A-Basin’s Chief Operating Officer. A-Basin’s mountain operations team started making snow on October 2, 2014, and they were able to create the 18-inch base necessary for opening over the course of several days. The ski area also received about a foot of natural snow in the weeks prior to opening.

I got the chance to get up to A-Basin on Saturday to catch a few turns and to chat with their Chief Operating Officer, Alan Henceroth. 

While standing outside Guest Services under sunny skies and with a great look at High Noon, I could tell that Alan was chopped full of excitement. When I asked him how they were able to open ahead of their counterpart, Loveland Ski Area, all he had was praise for A-Basin's snowmaking team. "We were able to take advantage of last weekend's ideal temperatures to maintain continous snowmaking from Saturday night through Monday night with only a slight break on Monday afternoon."

When asked if he was concerned about the mostly warm and dry extended outlook, he maintained that they will do all they can to keep High Noon under skiable conditions and the snowmaking team will jump on the opportunity to make snow when they can. I thanked Alan for taking the time to talk with me and headed over to jump in line for the Black Mountain Express. 

Excitement, that's all you could feel when standing in line. It seemed like just yesterday when I skiied my last runs of the 2013-2014 season on May 14th. To my surprise, the line moved very quickly and after 10 or so minutes we were headed up the mountain. With my cousin to my right and two beginners from Missouri to my left, it was all smiles as we rode the chair to the mid-mountain drop off adjecent to the Black Mountain Lodge.


After a quick picture, my cousin and I buckled in and took off down the "white ribbon of death." The snow was what you would expect for it being 12:30 P.M. in mid-October, creamy on top and a sheet of ice underneath. It's not like anyone cared though, it's mid-October! We made our way down and immediately got in line for another. 

Just being on the mountain this early in the Fall is all any skier or snowboarder can ask for. My cousin and I reminisced about last season and can only hope that this season comes even close. After finishing our second run, my cousin and I contemplated calling it a day. We both looked at each other and agreed on the old saying, "two more, skip the last."

Sam Collentine | OpenSnow

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GEAR: Avalanche Packs

This article is brought to you by They like our snow forecasts, and we like their knowledge of gear. So we work together to bring you details on the best stuff you can buy, and they help you earn cash back on purchases. Win-win-win-win, or something like that!

Backcountry Safety: Airbags Within Reach

There’s snow on the ground, folks. Not enough to fill the back bowls but enough to dream. Time to check the forecast, tune up your gear – and avoid jumping into marginal early-season conditions.  Manage the stoke and ride with back-up including wise companions and the right avalanche tech.

Airbags; blown out of proportion?

Avalanche packs increase your chance of survival when you pull the cord: in three seconds, volume-increasing airbags minimize your risk of burial while also protecting neck and head. Though all avalanche airbags protect the skier or rider, features, technology and style influence the price.  The Active Junky team glides in with three avalanche packs: bargain, mid-range and high-end.

BCA Float 22 Pack: Get In The Game Now


At only 22L, this BCA Float 22 Pack is far from a high-capacity pack but is well suited for sidecountry and quick backcountry expeditions. Last year’s style is discounted, putting it among the few under $400. BCA’s been on the forefront of the backcountry movement for years so this easy-to-use compressed air system is a viable option for folks looking to up their out-of-bounds security. If you still can’t justify the price, remember; a single-mountain season pass costs more.

Best For: Backcountry adventure on a budget.
Earn cash back on the BCA Float 22 Airbag Backpack

Mammut Ride R.A.S. Avalanche Airbag Pack 30L: Security + Carry Capacity

Mammut’s success in alpine pursuits is evident in this functional pack complete with a Removable Airbag System. At $700, the 30L, mid-range pack provides ample storage for full-day BC sojourns. Intuitive straps personalize the fit while R.A.S. technology allows you to jettison weight on resort days. Give serious consideration to this innovative and Active Junky-approved pack from the trusted folks at Mammut.

Best For: Serious skiers and riders who alternate between resort, sidecountry and backcountry days; longer BC day-trips.
Earn cash back on the Mammut Ride R.A.S. Avalanche Airbag Pack

Dakine ABS Signal 25L: Riding Strong And High

At $1249.95, Dakine’s ABS Signal Pack is not for the faint of wallet. Dakine’s high-end 25L is a sleek package, organized around the essentials needed for a day in the backcountry including goggle pocket, helmet pouch, waist pocket, shovel pocket and ice axe loops. A collaboration between backcountry powerhouses ABS and Dakine, Signal offers powderhounds the pinnacle of avalanche protection; guides and hard-core BC travelers need to give this one a second look.

Best For: Guides, mountaineers and serious skiers/riders looking for unparalleled backcountry safety.
Earn cash back on the Dakine AbS Signal Pack

Final Thoughts:  Start Smarter

Get educated through an avalanche safety course, follow local forecasts religiously, explore with experienced companions and, of course, make sure you’ve got the right gear. Airbag packs only mitigate the danger of an avalanche, over 90% of which are started by those they sweep away. Good decision-making is the start as avalanche packs simply function as a secondary level of security. 

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BREAKING: A-Basin opens Friday

arapahoe basin open

Source: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area Facebook Page - Camara Photography, LLC

Press Release: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area will kick off Colorado’s 2014-15 ski and snowboard season on Friday, October 17, 2014. Skiers and snowboarders will be able to make turns on the intermediate HighNoon trail starting at 9:00 a.m. Skiers and snowboarders will take the Black Mountain Express high-speed quad chairlift to the top of the run at mid-mountain.

 “Conditions have been outstanding for snowmaking and we are very excited to open this Friday,” said Alan Henceroth, A-Basin’s Chief Operating Officer. “It is always great to watch people have fun skiing and riding. I look forward to catching up with old friends and getting The Basin rolling.”

A-Basin’s mountain operations team started making snow on October 2, 2014, and they were able to create the 18-inch base necessary for opening over the course of several days. The ski area also received about a foot of natural snow in the weeks prior to opening.

Sam Collentine | OpenSnow

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VOTE: Ski Town Throwdown III


It's that time of year again folks. The leaves are entering their final stages of peak foliage, the highly elevated peaks are turning white, and #winteriscoming engulfs our social media channels. Ski season is right around the corner and stoke is at an all-time high as we daydream about the upcoming days on the slopes. This leads many of us into asking the question of "Where is your favorite place to ski?" to many of our friends and co-workers. It's always a fun conversation to have but for many of us, it's just too hard of a question to answer. Good thing the guys (and gals) at Powder Magazine are here to help us decide in the third annual Ski Town Throwdown. 


They used P5 (or P-Pentupled), which factors vertical, snowfall, lift ticket price, skier visits, night skiing acreage, vote totals from previous Ski Town Throwdowns, brown bag policies, and wicket ticket availability, to seed the top 28 places to ski by region. The remaining 8th seed for each region was decided by a popular vote on Oct. 7/8.

Where’s the best place to ski in North America? You decide.


Sam Collentine | OpenSnow

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SAVE: 7 tips for an affordable ski vacation

Our friends over at created a list of ways to save money on a ski vacation, and we agree. I mean, who doesn't like to save money?

A ski vacation is about much more than the budget. Going skiing or snowboarding is an intrinsic part of who we are, and spending time in the mountains allows us to refresh, rejuvenate and reconnect with our best selves. Since your ski trip is a non-negotiable expenditure, here are 7 ways you can save this ski season!

1. Consider flexible dates. If you can travel during off-peak times, we can find you savings on flights and lodging. Our experts can even round-up some freebies for lift tickets and dining.

2. Select a resort near a major airport. Fly into a larger hub to avoid paying a premium. Smaller airports have limited capacity, which can increase airfare when seats are scarce.

3. Book early! Yes, you’ve heard this before, but booking early is essential when reserving the lodging you want at a price you like.

4. Purchase lift tickets with lodging. Rookie mistake: walking up to the window to buy your lift ticket. By bundling your lift tickets with lodging, we can save you up to 40% on what you’d pay at the ticket window.

5. Stay in a condo with a kitchen. Cut costs by dining in. If you can land a ski-in/ski-out condo, ski down for lunch instead of spending a small fortune on a cheeseburger and fries. Plus, gathering around the dinner table is a ski-trip tradition you don’t want to miss.

6. Visit a resort that offers free activities + lots of amenities. Resorts like Keystone roll out the red carpet for kids, and destinations with a real town, like Steamboat, have great, free events to bookend your ski day.

7. Ask our Mountain Vacation Specialists. The best way to find the best deal? Trust our experts who have access to thousands of free nights and discounts. They can manage your travel dates, interests and requirements to save you money without skimping on the experience.

Pretty good, right? Check back for awesome gear and money saving guest articles all season long. 

Sam Collentine | OpenSnow 

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