- Deep fluffy powder; 350 in of the good stuff each year!
- Some of Colorado's best extreme steeps
- Small local mountain vibe
- Relatively cheap lift tickets compared to larger resorts
- One of the longest ski seasons lasting till spring and early summer
- Old lifts, only one is high speed = queues, ugh!
- Small ski terrain area compared to nearby Colorado resorts
- Very limited dining, après ski and no lodging or resort amenities
- Limited ground transport options to get there
- Limited beginner terrain
Meet “the Legend.” If a ski resort is going to have a nickname like that, it’s got a lot to live up to - but believe me, Arapahoe Basin delivers! It’s been offering up some of the gnarliest big-mountain terrain in a part of the country known for white-knuckle skiing since 1946, after the site retired from its career as a defence contractor test site. Perched near the Continental Divide at Loveland Pass, its elevation helps give it a yearly average of 350 in of snow and some of the longest ski seasons anywhere in North America, often lasting into late spring and early summer (and, at least once, into August!). It maintains a small “locals’ mountain” vibe, complete with quirky staff, less stringent policies (at least compared to Vail resorts) and a more laissez faire atmosphere.
Mid-December to April
Denver International Airport
Arapahoe Basin (approx. 2.5 hours)
Base of Keystone (5-10 mi)
- Most skiers stay here as there is no lodging at A-Basin
- Wide range of accommodation options
- 15 minutes drive away
Summit Cove (5-10 mi)
- Closest town to Arapahoe Basin
- Wide range of vacation rentals
- Quieter compared to Keystone
Dillon/Silverthorne (10-15 mi)
- Both towns are around 20 mins drive away
- Inexpensive lodging
- Limited nightlife
Frisco (15-20 mi)
- 25-30 minutes drive away
- Inexpensive lodging; has many hotel and motel chains
- Easy access to Breckenridge and Copper Mountain
Beginner terrain is limited here but if you must, the base area is a good learning area for beginners, with two magic carpets, the Molly Hogan Lift and a gentle slope for practising on. More experienced beginners can lap the greens off Black Mountain Express including the Wrangler, the longest green run here with wide and gentle turns through the trees.More beginners tips
The resort has a handful of intermediate runs. You'll have a few good choices off Black Mountain Express we definitely think you should try out Larkspur and Columbine, two long groomed runs in the Montezuma bowl.More intermediates tips
The advanced and expert runs are what Arapahoe basin is known for! Anything off the Pallavicini lift is great with steep trees, massive bumps, cliff drops, cornices and tight turns. This is how we'd tackle it: warm up on the Beach before heading up to the Pali Chair. From here try out the bumps on Pali Main Street and then duck into the Timber Glades when you're halfway down! Once you're out of there, weave through the boulders at Rock Garden and onto Poli Wog.More experts tips
Lap Pallavinci (Pali) until East Wall opens; then, dash over to the bowls in Land of the Giants and Lower East Wall.
Ditch the crowds
You won't see many crowds at A-Basin, but if you do, it'll probably be around the Zuma Lift, which is the only chair on the backside, or perhaps The Montezuma Bowl and mid-mountain areas.
Theres no tubing, sledding, heli or catskiing in Arapahoe Basin. There is the Frisco Adventure Park nearby, but Arapahoe basin is really all about the skiing and snowboarding.
For families of differing ability levels should lap the runs off Black Mountain Express which serves a range of greens, blues and black runs. Cheaper lift tickets here are a great bonus for families though bear in mind there is no accommodation or resort amentities here.
|Arapahoe Basin||Aspen Highlands|
|intermediate||30 %||23 %|
|advanced||37 %||12 %|
|expert||23 %||65 %|
|child lift ticket||Free||Free|
|adult lift ticket||$100 USD (£76 GBP)||$155 USD (£117 GBP)|
|value for money|
|average total snowfall||179″||200″|