Ski and ride through four seasons at A-Basin |

Ski and ride through four seasons at A-Basin

Kimberly Nicoletti
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado

Arapahoe Basin may be 60, but it sure doesn’t act its age. The Legend, as it’s affectionately known as, opened a terrain park last season ” the highest in the nation. It also has a beginner park for jibbers to hit smaller rails and boxes.

Snowmaking and a higher summit elevation than most ski areas allow A-Basin to open in October and keep going until June. This year, the area celebrated its earliest opening, on Oct. 13, which beat all North American ski areas’ openings.

The Basin still has a casual feel to it: You won’t find fancy condos or fine on-mountain dining here (not that the food isn’t good; check out the breakfast burritos). This spring, the area opens Black Mountain Lodge, a new mid-base restaurant.

One of the best parts of the Basin: You don’t have to take a bus from your car. Most parking spots are an easy walk to the lifts.

The terrain, which is mostly above treeline, stands out. The bumped-up Pallavicini is a playground for experts. The alleys, provide steep and narrow challenges. The East Wall usually opens by early spring. Peaking at more than 13,000 feet, the wall delivers steep faces and powder stashes for traversers and hikers.

The area hosts avalanche awareness days, extreme mountain clinics, rail jams and an extreme teen big mountain experience. It celebrates Easter with a Beach’n Egg Hunt April 8, and May is the most rockin’ month with weekly Saturday “Shakin’ at the Basin” live music. On Memorial Day weekend, cars line up on Highway 6 (and sometimes get towed) for the Festival of the Brew Pubs.

The Basin is moving toward lift-served skiing in Montezuma Bowl in the 2007-08 season, as well as upgrading the Exhibition lift and reconfiguring backcountry access and increasing parking. Montezuma Bowl would add about 175 acres of intermediate terrain and 150 acres of advanced and expert terrain.

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