Arapahoe Basin Ski Area won’t require reservations this winter

Ski area announces winter operating plan, targets mid-October opening

Early September snow is seen on the lower-mountain runs at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area on Thursday, Sept. 10.
Photo by Katherine Fuller / Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the date the blog was posted.

DILLON — Arapahoe Basin Ski Area Chief Operating Officer Alan Henceroth announced in a blog post Thursday, Sept. 10, that the ski area will not require reservations for season pass or day pass holders for the 2020-21 ski and snowboard season.

That said, Henceroth wrote that the number of passes sold will be limited.

The ski area chief said access details are still to be determined for Ikon and Mountain Collective passholders.

As for single-day lift tickets, Henceroth said they will be available each day of the season and that all lift tickets will be required to be purchased in advance online. He added that the number of tickets sold each day will vary to reduce visitation during peak periods.

Henceroth also said the ski area might request that skiers and riders voluntarily avoid peak visitation periods. He encouraged people to ski weekdays instead of weekends and in afternoons instead of mornings to reduce crowds.

The proposed plan is a departure from how the ski area operated in May, when it was the only ski area in the state to reopen after the pandemic shutdown. The ski area was open for a few weeks with a strict reservation system and limited access at the direction of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Henceroth said the ski area drafted the plan after working with county, state and federal officials. He added that all of A-Basin’s plans are subject to change pending developments surrounding the virus.

In a follow-up email, A-Basin spokesperson Katherine Fuller said the ski area is still targeting a mid-October opening, though that is subject to change based on weather and other factors. In recent weeks, Keystone Resort announced an opening date of Nov. 6 while Breckenridge Ski Resort has announced it will open Nov. 13. Copper Mountain Resort pushed back its opening date to Nov. 30.

Henceroth said the ski area might limit parking “as a last resort” to manage peak visitation periods. He added that tailgating and large group gatherings in the parking lots will not be allowed, including at the Beach, which will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

The ski area also won’t operate its shuttles or use overflow parking lots as a health precaution. That said, the ski area expects the free Summit Stage bus service to continue to operate to and from the ski area.

In terms of riding lifts, Henceroth said guests will be asked to load the chair with their group, and lift attendants will not require guests to ride a chairlift with people whom they do not know. As for parties not traveling together, they will be able to load two at a time on quad chairs and one at a time on the Lenawee (triple) and Pallavicini (double) lifts.

The ski area’s rentals, lessons, kids’ programs and retail outlets will be available on a limited basis pending county and state regulations. As for restaurants, bars will remain closed though the 6th Alley Bar & Grill, Legends Cafe and Black Mountain Lodge will offer limited food and drink services in accordance with state guidelines. A-Basin said guests should expect to go inside only to use the bathroom or purchase food. Ski area lockers will not be available, and the kids’ play area on the second floor of the A-frame will not be open. 

As for face coverings, they must be worn inside buildings, in the base area and while riding lifts.

In terms of uphill access, the ski area does not expect uphill access to change from last season. Uphill passes, which are required for anyone who is not a season passholder, will be on sale closer to opening day.

For more information on the operating plan, visit

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.