Arapahoe Basin revs up for weddings |

Arapahoe Basin revs up for weddings

Special to the Daily A-Basin's Black Mountain Lodge provides a rustic, exclusive location for a wedding.

For decades, couples have been holding informal wedding ceremonies at Arapahoe Basin, but until now, the Basin never officially marketed itself as a venue for weddings. Last summer, Black Mountain Lodge, located mid-mountain, hosted three wedding receptions. A few weeks ago, the lodge hosted an open house to spread the word that The Legend is a place to create legendary memories.

“We’ve definitely had a demand, as soon as the building went up (in April of 2006),” said Meredith Smith, manager of Black Mountain Lodge. “Even before that, we had a slight demand.”

In April, 2009, the Basin presented its first gourmet dinner at Black Mountain Lodge, underscoring the elegance of evening dining, designed by executive chef Chris Rybak, who ran Alpenglow Stube and Ski Tip Lodge dining in the past. For weddings, Rybak prepares incredible menus, which can include oyster, shrimp and snow crab hors d’oeuvres, in addition to caviar, cheese, fruit and sashimi tuna trays. His salad and pasta stations depart from the usual fare, with items such as butternut squash ravioli and salad extras like fresh strawberries, candied pecans and strawberry vinaigrette.

Rybak has created dinner packages, such as barbecue, Italian, Swan Mountain (turkey, salmon and prime rib), high alpine (beef, crab-stuffed chicken and bass), summer fiesta (chicken mole, carne asada, pork carnitas, strip bass and shrimp fajitas), French Alps (lamb, duck, chicken and venison) and Pacific Rim (tuna, chicken and shrimp skewers, roast duck, soft shell crab tempura with shrimp and prime rib).

Chocolate fountains, sweet-bite platters, chocolate dipped strawberries and chocolate truffle boxes are available for dessert, and couples also may bring their own cake.

Smith said the all-inclusive package (with dance floor, insurance, tips and more) is about half the cost of a wedding atop Keystone or Breckenridge.

Summer time slots range from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5-10 p.m., and winter events can begin at 5 p.m. Couples who book for this summer receive two free season passes for the upcoming winter. The A-frame Lodge, at the base of the mountain, also can accommodate weddings, with its classic ski lodge charm.

A-Basin also works with Key to the Rockies Lodging Company, which provides 15 to 20 percent off rooms in Keystone.

But what’s most appealing about a ceremony at Black Mountain Lodge is its exclusivity. The landscape of the surrounding mountains make for majestic moments, and the high vaulted ceilings and huge timber beams inside the lodge create a sophisticated, yet rustic feel. Sitting in the lodge, with color-coordinated linens over picnic-style tables, it feels as if you have the entire mountain valley and range to yourself – and you do.

Ascending up the new Black Mountain Express chairlift and descending are just as magical as dining in the lodge itself; whether it’s daylight, sunset or a moon- and star-lit night, soaring above the pristine land, without skiers or riders diverting your attention, is an unforgettable experience.

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