Arapahoe Basin Ski Area extends season to July Fourth for first time since 2011

ARAPAHOE BASIN — After weeks of speculation and anticipation, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area formally announced Thursday afternoon that the ski area at the Continental Divide will be open for skiing and riding Thursday, July 4.

In a news release, A-Basin spokeswoman Katherine Fuller also said July 4 will be the ski area’s official closing date for the 2018-19 ski season.

The last time A-Basin was open July 4 was eight years ago in 2011. The longest season on record was 24 years ago in 1995, when A-Basin stayed open until Aug. 10.

In the release, Fuller explained that A-Basin is able to stay open to the Fourth of July in large part thanks to higher-than-average snowfall totals and lower-than-average temperatures in the months of March and May, including nearly 7 feet of snowfall in March.

That said, this season was not a record snowfall year for the ski area. At the start of June, A-Basin was at 106% of average snowfall — about 375 inches — for the season.

Fuller explained other contributing factors to A-Basin’s late season are its northern-facing, front-side slopes and high elevation — 10,780 feet at the Mountain Goat Plaza base, 12,500 feet at the top of the ski area’s highest lifts and 13,050 feet at the ski area’s peak.

The ski area’s chief operating officer, Alan Henceroth, was quoted in the release as saying the ski area loves that it is able to open this late in the season.

Lifts will be spinning from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. this Friday through Sunday as well as Thursday, July 4.

If you go

Lift hours: 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Lifts: Black Mountain Express and Lenawee Mountain Lift
Ticket price: $69 for a full-day adult lift ticket (no half-day tickets available). Show a season ski pass that was valid anywhere in the world this season to get a $59 lift ticket.
Rentals: Will be available
The Beach: Spots will be first come, first served
Food: The 6th Alley Bar and Grill will be open 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (last call is at 3:30 p.m.)

On Independence Day, A-Basin will have top-to-bottom skiing serviced by two lifts, Black Mountain Express and the Lenawee Mountain Lift, and several runs. The ski area is encouraging visitors to stay on the upper part of the mountain on terrain accessed by Lenawee, where coverage is optimal. Come July 4, there will be no beginner skiing available.

“Got to love the high altitude,” A-Basin said on its snow conditions page on Thursday afternoon. “Upper mountain is where it’s at, from great grooming to early bird powder perhaps and swimming for the less talented in Lake Reveal. Get it as early as you can, no need to wait for a thaw. Think sorbet or sherbet consistence. No beginner skiing, really we mean it! High Noon is best for an exit plan only to live music in Mountain Goat Plaza when the lifts close at 2:30. Always be ready for a weather closure this time of year. We do our best but Mother Nature ultimately rules!”

A-Basin is encouraging skiers and riders to carpool in anticipation of large crowds.

July 4 lift tickets are $69, and A-Basin will offer $59 day passes to any skier or rider who shows a season ski pass that was valid anywhere in the world this past season. Rentals will be available, parking spots at The Beach will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and food will be served at The 6th Alley Bar and Grill from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with last call at 3:30 p.m.

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