Arapahoe Basin Ski resort is a day-use area with 109 trails covering 960 skiable areas. Its nickname is A-Basin but it’s also known as The Legend: strong, daring and above all, steep. Situated at a base elevation of 10,780 feet, its peaks soar to a majestic summit of 13,050 feet above sea level. Fifty percent of the terrain at Arapahoe Basin ski resort is above treeline with some of the highest altitude skiing in North America. In November 2016, White River National Forest service approved an expansion plan that will add 338 new acres of skiable terrain just west of the existing boundary known as the Beavers. A-Basin’s other notable statistics focus on opening and closing dates with average ski seasons lasting from mid-October to mid-June. It’s earliest opening ever was October 9, 2009; it’s latest close was August 10, 1995. A-Basin’s eight lifts (conveyors, doubles, triples and quads/quads express) convey 10,700 people per hour up its fierce angles. The ski area also provides some of the most difficult terrain in the state: 10% of its trails are rated for beginners, 30 percent intermediate, 37 percent advanced and 23 percent expert. The famed East Wall features 30- to 40-degree hike-to chutes that fan out onto wide open aprons. The East Wall opens late in the season, depending on snow coverage and stability. Reader polls from popular ski magazines rate A-Basin as tops in the western United States for value, character and challenging terrain.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort for Kids
With its challenging terrain, those contemplating a family visit to Arapahoe Basin ski resort might hesitate. But A-Basin’s Molly Hogan carpet lift and easy terrain areas are perfect for the younger set. The A-Basin Kids Center is located on the west side of the base area and Pika Place Learning Center. The three-story, 7,100-square-foot building underwent a $2.3 million renovation recently that makes mornings fun and kid friendly. Its early drop-off feature means parents can get a quicker start to their ski day, while kids enjoy a soft play area that teaches balance and motor skills before their lessons begin. Starting a new sport like skiing or snowboarding can be a costly proposition. A-Basin’s Kids Free 2 Ski program gives kids ages 6 to 12 two free days on the mountain, and first-timers get 50 percent off a half-day morning group lesson. The program started in 2014 and continues today.
Arapahoe Basin, CO, History
In an historical account of Arapahoe Basin, CO, ski resort founder Larry Jump writes, “A-Basin was the outcome of several fortuitous events: The United States Forest Service studies on Winter Sports Planning in 1941; an official ski resort development survey commissioned by the Denver Chamber of Commerce in 1945; and the fortunate acquisition of private land within the Basin by Max Dercum in the early forties.” Dercum’s holdings precluded public bidding, enabling the resort’s speedy development. Arapahoe Basin opened in 1946 with one mid-mountain rope tow that skiers reached in an Army weapons carrier pulled by a four-wheel drive vehicle. Only 1,200 skiers participated in the first season. Local skiers with Vail Resorts’ season ski passes should verify their benefits at A-Basin.