Arapahoe Basin Ski Getaways

ski getaways

With a summit of 13,050 feet, a season that often stretches into July, and some of the most talked-about expert terrain in the Rockies, it's not hard to see why the word "legend" is often applied to A-Basin. But the perception the tag leads to - that A-Basin is too tough for mere mortals - simply isn't true. Fifteen percent of the terrain is rated beginner; another 45% intermediate. Those are the sort of numbers that attract families with younger children, and they're the visitors who have fueled A-Basin's continuing popularity.

Advanced and expert skiers and riders have no lack of challenge, though. There's no way to flatten out the Basin's signature steeps, and the many faces of Pallavicini will remain unremittingly steep for future generations.

With a history of continuous operation dating back to 1946, when A-Basin opened with a single rope tow, to today's six-chairlifts and one surface lift layout, the mountain has maintained a reputation for thoughtful growth and an emphasis on the skiing and riding experience. A seven-year saga to bring snowmaking to the Basin is indicative of that attitude. It covers 11 runs top-to-bottom, served by four lifts - enough to provide a core of terrain early and late season.

Only an improbably large snowmaking system could ever cover A-Basin's steeps, so beginners and intermediates will benefit most from the snow guns. But with 367" of snow a season on average and a 10,780 foot base, the guns aren't likely to be needed very often anyway.

The blue square terrain starts at the highest lift-served point on the mountain, the top of the Lenawee chair. No fewer than eight trails beckon. A bit further down at the mid-station the green circle Dercum's Gulch begins, offering new skiers and riders a true alpine run all the way back to the base via Wrangler in the lower half. The Chisholm Trail and Sundance are two other long greens. The Molly Hogan lift in the base area serves gentle learning terrain.

As for that expert terrain, it's divided into two parts. Part one is the myriad of lines available off the Pallavincini double, a world of chutes, bumps, trees, gullies, and drops that combine to offer more than 30 named lines. Part two is the terrain above the top lift, accessible by two gates. This testing area is sometimes closed due to weather or avalanche danger, and it's best to heed those closures. If there's one drawback to A-Basin (no matter what level you ski or ride at) it's that much of the terrain is above treeline. Of course, that's the very reason why the place has such reliable snow, so it's a drawback most willingly accept.

In the 2007-2008 season, A-Basin will debut the Montezuma Bowl, the largest expansion in the resort's 60 year history. This project adds more intermediate and advanced slopes and will increase the overall terrain by 80% and a total to 900 skiable acres