Yes, you can now play 9 holes of disc golf at Arapahoe Basin (video) | SummitDaily.com

Yes, you can now play 9 holes of disc golf at Arapahoe Basin (video)

Yes, the rumors are true: You can now play nine holes of disc golf at Arapahoe Basin.

In early July, not long after wildflowers replaced lingering snow on The Legend's slopes, a crew of five or six summer employees put finishing touches on the tee boxes, footpaths, fairways and baskets for six brand-new, never-before-seen disc golf holes at the oldest ski area in Summit County.

By the second week in July, all nine holes on the Par 3 course were open to the public with scorecards, maps and on-site directions from hole to hole. By the third week in July, rumors were spreading fast. The six new holes joined three holes built for the 2015 USA Pro Challenge — they were good, but not quite good enough to draw the disc-playing masses, officials said — and each one came with chief operating officer Alan Henceroth's seal of approval.

"The wildflowers were in peak form," Henceroth wrote in his blog, dubbed Al's Blog, after a Sunday afternoon round on July 22. "Playing with the discs and baskets is definitely fun, but also just wandering in the woods with your friends is a really great way to spend a few hours."

“Colorado is beautiful in general, but there’s something about the Basin and being on the Continental Divide.”Ben MortonArapahoe Basin lift operations manager

By the first day of August, at least three groups of players, plus dogs, were hiking along ski trails Sundance, Wrangler and portions of North Fork to play disc on an otherwise quiet Tuesday morning, proving to course architect Ben Morton that disc at the Basin was always meant to be.

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"Colorado is beautiful in general, but there's something about the Basin and being on the Continental Divide," said Morton, who aside from designing the disc golf course is the ski area's lift operations manager. "A lot of people know this place in the winter, but they don't know it in the summer."

Summery side of A-Basin

So, think you know A-Basin like the back of your hand? As Morton said, the new disc golf course puts that knowledge to the test, taking players on a 2-mile tour of slopes, gullies and fire roads on the east edge of the ski area — and it ain't an easy one.

"Basin is known for being a little more on the black and extreme side of things," Morton said. "We wanted the disc golf to be about the same."

Like all disc golf courses in Summit County, including the other ski-area nine at Copper Mountain, A-Basin disc golf is free and open to foot traffic only. The holes weave in and out of the ski slopes, with some holes perched high on wide-open approaches, while others are buried behind thick stands of pines. Elevation changes are standard for mountain disc, Morton said, but that doesn't mean you'll have to hoof it past Lenawee Express — yet.

"At a ski area it's hard to not go uphill," Morton said. "It's not very appealing to people and we can't always run the lifts, so I knew we had to start down at the base. Hopefully Hole 9 will become Hole 18 in the future.

That's right — Morton and crew are already devising a way to get nine additional holes built at A-Basin, giving the ski area a bona fide 18-hole course. It all comes down to timing: With major expansions like The Beavers and Steep Gullies taking up most of the staff's off-season energy, an additional nine holes will have to wait.

"I like the challenge," Morton said of playing disc at the Basin, or anywhere in the Rockies, for that matter. "You have good days you have bad days, you have days when you nail a shot and days when you don't. Colorado has some of the best courses around."

Now, A-Basin has a course to call it's own.

Ready to play? The A-Basin disc golf course is open daily from 9 a.m. to dusk, weather and conditions permitting. The course typically opens for the summer when the slopes are dry (early July). Scorecards are available at the base area, with distances and basket locations at each tee box.

Birdies, Bogeys and Bloodys tournament

What: The first public tournament held on the ski area’s brand-new disc golf course, complete with Bloody Marys and live music in the village

When: Saturday, Aug. 5 at 10 a.m.

Where: Arapahoe Basin village

Cost: $40 pre-register, $45 tourney day

The tournament is open to players of all ages and abilities. Day-of registration begins at 9 a.m. in the season pass office in the village area. The tourney runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with awards at 2 p.m. All participants get a tourney t-shirt, disc and reusable bag, plus two Bloody Mary samples for players 21 years and older. Live music by P-Nuckle runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the village. The 6th Alley Bar and Grill opens at 11 a.m. For more info or to register, see the event calendar at ArapahoeBasin.com.

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A-Basin disc golf course preview

Ready to shoot for par on the newest disc golf course in Summit County? Don’t worry — we scouted all nine holes for you. Here’s a preview, then go online to SummitDaily.com for a video tour with course architect Ben Morton.

Par 3

Hole 1 (258 feet) — Drive slightly uphill with no hazards for a simple warm up and birdie opportunity

Hole 2 (187 feet) — Drive low across the ski slope to a well-hidden basket for a deceptively hard par on the shortest hole

Hole 3 (338 feet) — Blind drive through a stand of trees to a wide-open second shot on this signature hole

Hole 4 (210 feet) — Drive across the slope for a birdie opportunity with a pinpoint approach and putt

Hole 5 (202 feet) — Blind drive through a tight, tree-lined corridor with a slight dogleg to the left

Hole 6 (237 feet) — Drive across a steep slope for a tricky and unforgiving approach in windy conditions

Hole 7 (357 feet) — Nail your drive through a fire road corridor for a possible birdie on the longest hole

Hole 8 (324 feet) — Unleash a bullet on this long, uphill approach to an exposed basket

Hole 9 (350 feet) — Play the ski slope to your advantage on a huge downhill to another guarded basket on the final hole (for now)