Calling Down the Mountain with AT&T and Arapahoe Basin
Note: This post is sponsored by AT&T but all words and photos are mine.
Colorado. Mountains. Winter. Snow. Fun. They just go together. One of my favorite places for all these together is “The Legend”, Arapahoe Basin. For 20+ years I’ve been riding in Colorado, and A-Basin has always been the place I enjoy most. I’m certain a lot of it is personal preference, but I like how it’s not the posh and polished apres ski focused village. It’s where you go when you want to find out what you can really ride, and enjoy friends looking to find the same. I’ve sat on the lifts with random ski dogs (literally, furry fun-loving dogs), and relaxed at the base, aka “The Beach,” grilling hotdogs with new pals I just met.
Always one of the first resorts to open and last to close year after year, the terrain spills over the sides of the mountain into the White River National Forest. From the top at over 13,000 feet, half of Arapahoe Basin is above treeline and the wide open bowls flow down into trails that wind through pine glades in all directions. This is one of those amazing places that I get the chance to connect with nature and get away from it all. For many years, though, this also presented a problem – there was really no way to communicate to anyone more than a few dozen yards away! Mobile phones were pretty much useless.
Increased Network Coverage at Arapahoe Basin?
This year, though, I noticed it was different. When I rode the lift, stopped to catch my breath on a trail, or saw that perfect photo I wanted to share, I’d reach for my phone – and I’d find that I had connection! Full-bars connection! I could text, tweet, post, and talk from the top of the mountain to the bottom. At first, I wasn’t too surprised. I’m on AT&T and my service in Denver has been better than anyone else for years. I even have a work phone on a different cell service. (Which means I can compare signal head-to-head, so I’m not just repeating what the commercials say.)
It wasn’t until a lift ride up with another couple that I realized I was having a different experience than others. They were both complaining that they couldn’t send or receive anything. Same phones, but on a different carrier, and they were in a complete dead zone. I ended up sending a few texts for them so they could connect with their family later. Happy to help.
This actually happened a few times during the day. (Have I mentioned I like to talk to strangers?)
The “who the heck are you?” responses later were pretty funny, though.
As it turns out, AT&T did a bunch of work at A-Basin over the summer installing an Outdoor Distributed Antenna System (oDAS). I really have no idea what this means, but I now know that no matter where I injure myself at A-Basin, I’ll be able to call for help or post a selfie of the aftermath. I also found out DAS systems are designed to boost networks at things like sporting or music events where there a ton of traffic all the sudden.
I’ve been asking my telecom friends to build this for years! They finally listened to me.