Arapahoe Basin bid farewell to the 2014-2015 ski season on June 14
A-Basin summer schedule
July 10 — Beer Maker’s Dinner with Left Hand Brewery at 6th Alley Bar and Grill
July 16 — Yoga on the Mountain with guided hike for $40, 8 a.m. to noon
July 26 — Summit Challenge Trail Run and Barbecue, 10 a.m. start
July 26 — Free concert at Black Mountain Lodge, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For a complete roundup of summer events and registration info, see the website at www.arapahoebasin.com.
It’s a guilty pleasure to ski in the middle of June.
Just ask the 2,500-some-odd skiers, riders and winter holdouts who dropped by Arapahoe Basin Ski Area on June 14 for closing day. Revelers donned Elvis wigs and bikini tops to celebrate the end of a record-setting season filled with holiday snowstorms, mid-February heat waves and more than 50 inches of snow in May. The Basin even broke all-time skier records on May 10 after a freak string of storms.
All that unexpected snow led officials to extend the season by one bonus weekend, becoming the final North American ski area to close. Other stalwarts like Whistler Blackcomb in Canada and Killington Ski Resort in Vermont shut down by late May.
This season wasn’t the first time A-Basin eked the most out of surprise snow, and if history is proof, it won’t be the last. In 2014, a similar round of late storms kept the season going until June 22, and skiers have celebrated the Fourth of July five times, the last time during the record-breaking season of 2011. The latest lifts that ever closed was Aug. 10 in 1995.
All in all, it was a weird season, but last-minute skiers were more than willing to chance rocks and dirt patches for a few slushy turns. By noon the party was split evenly between The Beach parking lot and Lake Reveal, the nickname given to a swatch of late-season waterways found directly beneath Lenawee Mountain Lift.
Pond skimming was the name of the game at Lake Reveal, where dozens of skiers and boarders chanced the chilly water. The scenery from the lift was too good to miss: Evil Knievel barreled through with a torch, one skier pulled off a backflip, dozens sunk into snow-slash-slush with the consistency of quicksand.
By the time pond skimmers toweled off and the last Black Mountain Express chair passed through the base area at 2:30 p.m., the lifts had been spinning for 237 days — one of A-Basin’s longest seasons on record.
But it was hardly the end of the party. After all, summer was in full bloom just 8 miles down the road at Keystone, where youngsters gathered for a Stryder bike race and golf club green fees were two weeks from peak-season pricing. Skis and boards shard rack space with bikes on more than a few cars at The Beach, and at least one van was loaded down with kayaks.
Weird or no, it was the season that kept on giving. See you in October.
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