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Arapahoe Basin Skiing & Snowboarding Resort Guide

Every fall Arapahoe Basin is one of the first ski and snowboard areas in the United States to open. While it is most well known for this feat, Arapahoe Basin, or A Basin for short, has great skiing and snowboarding all winter long. Typically open in mid October the ski area has 8 chairlifts with a wide variety of terrain, including some of Colorado’s best alpine bowl skiing and snowboarding. Somewhat unique amongst Colorado ski and snowboard areas, A Basin has a minimally developed base area with no onsite lodging or village. While Arapahoe Basin is included in Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass, the laid back vibes and lack of base area village mean that there are usually not the crowds of the nearby Summit County resorts.

Mountain Overview

Arapahoe Basin Ski and Snowboard Area

The Black Mountain Express and Norway lifts bring skiers and snowboarders to the highest lift-accessed point of A Basin. From these lifts terrain for all abilities can be accessed. Expert skiers and snowboarders can begin hiking to the scary steep chutes of the Upper East Wall from here, or traverse to the Lower East Wall. Montezuma Bowl is also accessed via the summit. This large alpine bowl has a selection of tricky and fun chutes that expert skiers and snowboarders will love. There is also advanced and some intermediate terrain in this backside bowl. A lot of this terrain is above the treeline, and exposed, so it can be hard to ride in stormy weather. It also means that the spring skiing and snowboarding is slushy and fun.
Tucked away on the far skier’s left of the front side of Arapahoe Basin is the locally loved Pallavicini lift. The slow double chairlift brings skiers and snowboarders to the top of a sparsely gladed and very steep bowl. Pali Face is a Colorado classic run, be prepared for steep bumps! Most of the beginner and intermediate terrain is located in the Molly Hogan learning area, and off of the lower Black Mountain Express. Intermediates skiers, however, have more opportunity to explore in both in the Montezuma area, and upper mountain.

Mountain Stats & A Basin Trail Map

A Basin Trail Map
Arapahoe Basin Trail Map
 Total Skiable Acres 960 Beginner Terrain 10%
 Base Elevation 10,780' Intermeidate Terrain 30%
 Summit Elevation 
(Top of gondola)
 13,050' Advanced Terrain 37%
 Vertical Drop2,270' Expert Terrain 23%
Total Lifts8Average Annual Snowfall350"

Travel Information & Directions

Arapahoe Basin is located about a 90 minute drive west of Denver (and evo Denver). The ski and snowboard area can be accessed from the West by driving over Loveland Pass, or from Keystone to the East. Loveland Pass closes often during and shortly after large snowstorms, so make sure to stay up to date with CDOT. Skiers and snowboarders can also take the Summit Stage bus from Summit County.
Travel Resources:

Travel Directions ABasin
Summit Stage Bus
CDOT Travel Alerts

Lodging Information

There is no lodging at A Basin itself, skiers and snowboarders can stay nearby at Keytone, or in Summit County, which is made up of the towns of Silverthorne, Dillon, and Frisco. Keystone is a 15 minute drive from Arapahoe Basin, while Silverthorne is 25 minutes away. There are many lodging options in Summit County, for any budget.
ABasin Lodging Overview

Our Favorite Snowboards For Arapahoe Basin
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Local Food Picks

While there are multiple lodges with a full range of amenities at Arapahoe Basin, the best place to grab lunch or a drink is often the front row of the parking lot, known as “The Beach.” The Beach backs right up to the lower mountain chairlifts and is always chock-full of barbecuing skiers and snowboarders. Make sure to arrive nice and early to claim a spot, however. For those who show up too late, or aren’t into this unique parking lot culture, the on-hill restaurants and bars are plenty adequate to keep skiers and snowboarders filled up until they get back to Summit County or Denver.
Arapahoe Basin Dining:

On Mountain Dining
The Beach at ABasin

Our Favorite Skis For Arapahoe Basin
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Where to Find Lift Tickets to Arapahoe Basin?

Arapahoe Basin lift tickets are some of the cheapest in Colorado. Skiers and snowboarders can buy these A Basin lift tickets online or at the base area. Seniors and youth receive discounted lift tickets. Arapahoe Basin is also on Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass, which due to high lift ticket prices in Colorado, can be a good way to save money for longer trips, or for skiers and snowboarders that plan on riding multiple days.
Arapahoe Basin Lift Tickets
Epic Pass  

Arapahoe Basin Weather Information

Arapahoe Basin receives an average of 350” of snow annually, which is supplemented by ample snowmaking operations that are key to the ski and snowboard area’s early opening. The high altitude elevation means that much of the ski area is at or above treeline. This means that winds can be high, and visibility can be limited, be prepared with proper base layers. All of this open terrain also makes for some of the best spring skiing and snowboarding in Colorado. Be prepared for the high elevation, take some time to acclimatize and stay hydrated.
Arapahoe Basin Weather Resources

Arapahoe Basin Ski Report
ABasin Snow Forecast
Local Avalanche Forecast

Arapahoe Basin’s laid-back atmosphere and high elevation terrain seem a world away from the well developed and crowded Keystone just 25 minutes away. This makes A Basin a great places to escape the crowds, or an additional area to explore on a Colorado ski and snowboard vacation. The expert terrain here is some of the steepest skiing and snowboarding close to Denver, and some of the best in Colorado as a whole. Grab your cooler, grill and get to the beach early on a spring day to get the full A Basin experience!

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