Arapahoe Basin is one of the highest ski areas in North America. It sits right beside the pass over the Continental Divide, delivering one of the longest seasons. The lifts usually spin from mid-October through to early June. Colorado state goes by the slogan “Snows perfect”, and the powder snow here – averaging 7m a season – is as light and dry as anywhere.
A-Basin is one of the lesser known Ski Colorado gems that is just waiting to be discovered by more international visitors.
Season 2018-2019 will be the perfect time to find out what you are missing out on as Arapahoe Basin opens a new lift and awesome new 468 acre terrain expansion, The Beavers & The Steep Gullies.
The Beavers is a whole back bowl basin with a great mix of mellow intermediate groomers, black run powder lines, and magic new gladed areas. Approximately 339 acres of terrain in The Beavers will be served by a four-person chairlift starting in the 2018-19 season. Runs include two new intermediate groomed runs, open bowls and some of the best gladed tree skiing in Colorado. The new quad chair there will let you lap it in style, adding a 3rd main area to A-Basin’s options as total terrain grows to 1428 acres / 578 hectares.
The Steep Gullies are exactly that – steep lines accessed via a gate with a half hour hike or skin out track from the bottom of them back around to the base area. They add 129 acres of expert terrain for those who like a slide on the wild side.
With no accommodation on site it never had the big resort ski in-ski out treatment. Instead most people just drive up to “The Beach,” A-Basin’s slopeside parking area. Here tailgating (the American habit of making a party out of the back of your ute/truck/car boot as the case may be) is a way of life.
You don’t have to fire up the barby out of your truck though, Arapahoe Basin’s culinary offerings keep growing and evolving. Led by Food & Beverage Director Christopher Rybak and Executive Chef Steven Vlass, you can choose from traditional ski fare to unique offerings like the Pacific Rim and Raw Bar.
Black Mountain Lodge at the top of the Black Mountain Express has panoramic views and is the place to eat on sunny days.
Mountain Goat Plaza kicks on in the afternoons, and more so in spring for the annual local brewers festival.
The skiing covers all levels – the second day I ever had there was my first ever on a snowboard (this was 1990 or thereabouts) so I can vouch for the beginner terrain personally. There’s a lot more for all levels now, and it’s a great place to cruise around with the family.
The value at Arapahoe Basin is exceptional. With season passes from $USD 339 you could get in a lot of ski days over nearly 9 months. Most shorter term visitors can grab deals like a 4 day any day pass for $179 – check the link here for options, that include half price day passes for specific dates if you book ahead.
Holder of current Epic Australia Pass or Epic Pass get A-Basin included, so if that’s you and you are mainly coming to ski Vail Resort’s Colorado big guns don’t miss out.
Getting to Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin is a 96 mile drive west from Denver International Airport via I-70 west. Take I-70 west to Silverthorne (exit 205), then travel 12 miles east on U.S. Highway 6. Or, if Loveland Pass is open, choose the 68 mile scenic route from Denver by taking I-70 west to Loveland Pass (exit 216), then proceed west on U.S. Highway 6 for 8 miles.
Or ride the free Summit Stage Swan Flyer up from nearby Keystone. Check times and details at www.summitstage.com
Keystone is the closest major ski resort, just down the road. Breckenridge and Copper Mountain are easy day trip distance if you are staying at those, or stay in Dillon, Silverthorne of Frisco in Summit County which have plenty of affordable lodging options.