Arapahoe Basin Ski Area to limit passes next winter

Number of season passes sold will be 10% fewer than this season

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area's front-side terrain, from the East Wall at left to The Beavers at right, is seen from a drone hovering above the Professor slide near the Continental Divide earlier this winter.
Ian Zinner / Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area will limit the number of lift tickets sold each day and cap its number of season passes next winter to 10% fewer than were sold for the 2020-21 season.

A-Basin Chief Operating Officer Al Henceroth made the announcement in a blog post Friday morning where he described the decision as the next “major step to preserve the culture and vibe” of Summit County’s oldest ski area.

“COVID forced us to learn in a few months what probably would have taken us five years to learn otherwise,” Henceroth wrote in the blog post.

Henceroth said as part of the 1,428-acre ski area’s ticketing change, all tickets must be purchased online and in advance as no lift tickets will be sold on site. As a result, the COO said the ski area anticipates selling out of weekend lift tickets on a regular basis. A-Basin spokesperson Katherine Fuller said in an email Friday that when tickets are sold out, “they are sold out.”

Henceroth clarified that with the changes, reservations will not be required for the ski area’s season passholders.

The changes come as part of A-Basin’s concerted strategy in recent years to reduce the number of skiers and riders on the hill, namely on weekends and holidays. Henceroth said the experience over the past year operating the ski area with number limitations in an attempt to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 helped them “learn so much.” As a result, the ski area will pursue a “comfortable level” of skiers and riders each day.

“By knowing how many people to expect each day, we can do a better job running the place,” Henceroth said.

Henceroth said the ski area’s ticket inventories and pricing “directly reward” midweek skiing rather than weekend skiing. Season passes are on sale at $519 for adults ages 19-69, $399 for youth ages 15-18, and $139 for children ages 6-14. Those renewing their 2020-21 season pass can do so currently for $479. Seniors 70 and older can purchase a pass for $299. The ski area is also offering midweek and military prices among other pass options.

Henceroth said the ski area will measure success by reducing parking challenges and keeping lines for lifts and other services short.

Before COVID-19 hit, the acute problem the ski area experienced was a far-higher demand for parking than A-Basin’s supply of spots could handle. It has been common over recent years for dozens, if not hundreds, of skiers to park on the narrow U.S. Highway 6 below and above the ski area and leading up to Loveland Pass.

A-Basin has been a member of the Ikon Pass for the past two seasons after leaving the Epic Pass “pass partnership” with Vail Resorts at the end of the 2018-19 season. Skiers and riders with the Ikon Pass, however, were limited in the number of days they could access the ski area, which was not the case previously with the Epic Pass.

A-Basin will again be on the Ikon Pass next winter with the same number of days skiers and riders can access the ski area as this winter.

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