Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

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Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin
Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Readers Ratings

Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe Basin3.5/514
Arapahoe Basin3.5 out of 5 based on 14 reviews
  • Recommend
    93%
  • Would Revisit
    93%
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Wagner Custome Skis

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area Review

Usually one of the first ski hills to open and the last to close in the USA, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area has a unique location and culture that sets it apart from the nearby Colorado ski resorts. Locally known as A-Basin and oft referred to as ‘The Legend’, it has a questionable reputation for gnarly terrain and a genuine reputation for vehicle based BBQs and boozing. A lot of people at A Basin Colorado have a laid back attitude and it’s popular with local brown baggers, telemarkers, and parking lot party animals.

Pros & Cons of Arapahoe Basin Colorado

Pros 
  • Arapahoe Basin Colorado enjoys a very long season.
  • On a blue bird day, the views are stupendous.
  • The pricing is quite competitive.
  • Arapahoe Basin Ski Area has a down to earth vibe.
  • When it’s open and if it has adequate snow cover, the A Basin expert terrain is very good.
Cons
  • There is no on-mountain lodging at Arapahoe Basin.
  • With the exception of a detachable quad, all of the lifts are slow.
  • A Basin is not that family oriented and it is more suited to young dudes under the influence, although this atmosphere is slow changing.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • It’s often very windy which can be brutal on the slow chairs, although the wild winds also produce the famous cornices that are epic for leaping.
  • A Basin often has very good snow due to its aspect and high altitude, but snow can easily get blown away on the higher exposed slopes. Some of the best expert terrain is often devoid of snow, and the ski area requires a significant snow base to get fired up.
  • The Arapahoe Basin ski area is close to Denver and it’s accessible on the Ikon Pass, which contribute to some mega crowds on the weekends.
  • The amenities are not very fancy yet it’s also delightfully different from a classic cookie cutter Colorado ski resort.
  • A great phenomenon at Arapahoe Basin is the beach. Sure it’s a long way from Cancun, but the resort has developed a strange tradition of bringing “beach” festivities to the parking lot in the snow, including beach chairs, beach umbrellas and weird costumes. Ski in your bikinis if you like! Once folks get sozzled there can be some dubious antics that transpire.

A Basin Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Statistically A-Basin is a decent sized ski area with 1,428 acres of terrain, although large portions of the terrain require hiking and are usually only open for a slice of the season. Of the 9 lifts, 6 are chair lifts and only one of these is a high speed chair.

Arapahoe Basin Colorado prides itself on having the highest skiable terrain in North America at an elevation of 13,050 feet, even though A Basin includes hike-to terrain in its statistic and Silverton goes a little higher. The cited statistic for the base area elevation also isn’t lift serviced, and in reality the lifted vertical at Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort is 1,692 ft (10,780 – 12,472ft).

Arapahoe Basin has a reputation for tricky terrain for advanced riders as well as white knuckle, edge destroying expert terrain. The upper half of the mountain is above the tree-line and the Arapahoe Basin Resort is well known for its cruisy open bowls, chutes and steep mogul terrain. One of the legendary runs is the challenging Pallavicini trail. Riders earn the right to call it the “Pali” once they’ve conquered it.

A Basin also has less intimidating groomed runs for the average punter. Even though A Basin doesn’t have a lot of beginner runs, it is a reasonable place for novices. There are also a few small terrain parks.

Arapahoe Basin Snow

Arapahoe Basin receives an average of 350 inches of snow per season. Due to the high altitude and north facing aspect of many of the slopes, the snow quality is generally very good, although oft windy conditions can blow it away on the alpine slopes. The Arapahoe Basin Resort enjoys an incredibly long season.

To avoid disappointment, try to ski Arapahoe Basin on a freshie day when the snow base is over 60 inches (150cm) and the wind isn’t blowing 50 bastards.

Where is Arapahoe Basin Colorado?

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is in Summit County, and is located high on the Continental Divide, a 96 mile (154km) drive west of Denver International Airport. Nearby resorts are Keystone, Copper Mountain, Loveland and Breckenridge.

Facilities

The no frills facilities and services are mainly at the base in and around the A-Frame lodge – thankfully this is no longer used as a missile testing facility. The Sixth Alley bar is good for a bit of après - after you’ve completed the first five “alleys” on the Pallavicini run (a bit like the 19th hole at a golf course). There is also an eatery further up the mountain.

Varied programs are run by the ski school, including lessons and avalanche courses to equip riders for the backcountry.

Arapahoe Basin Lodging

There are no Arapahoe Basin accommodations at the base area, but plenty down the road where you can choose from Keystone Resort lodging or accommodations in the nearby towns of Dillon, Frisco, Silverthorne, or Breckenridge.
Tours In/Near Arapahoe Basin

Cat Skiing Tours

Jones Pass Cat Skiing
DAY CAT SKIING JONES PASS
Full day guided cat skiing + lunch + apres drink
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Join Jones Pass Guides for an epic day of guided cat skiing in the Jones Pass area located just 45 minutes from Denver. The day includes avalanche safety gear, lunch and apres drink. Join as a solo/small group or rent the entire cat for up to 12 guests.
Price p/p From price based on per person in a mixed group per day.
Base price/invoice currency is USD
Price includes taxes
USD 650
View Details
 
See all Cat Skiing tours that visit Arapahoe Basin here
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