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Arapahoe Basin Skiing & Snowboarding Resort Guide

Arapahoe Basin Ski and Snowboard Area

Every fall Arapahoe Basin is one of the first ski and snowboard areas in the United States to open. In fact, it officially has the longest running season in Colorado, often operating from October to June. While it is most well known for this feat, Arapahoe Basin, or A Basin for short, has great skiing and snowboarding all winter long.

The ski area has 9 chairlifts with a wide variety of terrain and some of Colorado’s best alpine bowls. It's known for its challenging runs - 73% of the resort is rated black or double black - including hike-to terrain on The East Wall and out of The Steep Gullies.

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 on the Ikon Pass on a limited basis (up to 7 days), the laid back vibes mean that you'll rarely find the same crowds as other Summit County resorts.

Mountain Overview

The Black Mountain Express and newly installed Lenawee Express 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 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.

A Basin grew by nearly 50% in the 2017-18 season with the addition of The Beavers and The Steep Gullies. A quad lift gives you access to 36 runs in The Beavers, including rolling intermediate groomers, open bowls, steep chutes and some of the best glades and powder stashes in the state.

The Steep Gullies was once strictly backcountry terrain, and is now made safe for guests through avalanche mitigation. This area features expert-only terrain comprised of steep, narrow, and rocky chutes. This is some of the most challenging in-bounds terrain you'll find in all of Colorado. Skiing or riding it requires serious skills and commitment, followed by a 20-30 minute hike back to the base area.  

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 & Trail Map

 Total Skiable Acres 1428 Beginner Terrain 7%
 Base Elevation 10,520' Intermediate Terrain 20%
 Summit Elevation  13,050' Advanced Terrain 49%
 Vertical Drop2530' Expert Terrain 24%
Total Lifts9Average 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

A Basin has five on-site restaurants, each of which offers a unique dining experience. The newest option is Steilhang, a German-style hut offering Colorado-made sausages, soft pretzels, pastry, and beer. A Basin is also home to the highest-elevation restaurant in North America, Il Rifugio at Snowplume. This European bistro sits at the lift-served summit of 12,456’, offering stellar views of Summit County.

If you're packing your own lunch, the place to be is 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

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Where to Find Lift Tickets to Arapahoe Basin?

Lift tickets are not sold on-site - the only way to purchase is prior to arrival via the A Basin website. A Basin manages lift ticket inventory to not overcrowd the mountain, and tickets do occasionally sell out during busy periods. You'll need to plan ahead during peak season, especially if you intend to visit during a holiday.

Unrestricted, full-season passes and unrestricted multi-day packs usually sell out by early winter, so get yours early if you can only ski or ride on weekends, or if you never want to miss a powder day. As always, midweek passes are a great way to shred and save if your schedule allows.  

Ticket discounts are available for visitors aged 18 and under, 70 and over, first responders, military, and adaptive skiers/riders.

Arapahoe Basin Lift Tickets
Ikon 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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