Warm temps, crowd usher out ski season at Arapahoe Basin | SummitDaily.com

Warm temps, crowd usher out ski season at Arapahoe Basin

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

ARAPAHOE BASIN – A toasty-warm Sunday marked Summit County’s and Colorado’s last official day of ski season as dedicated skiers and snowboarders made their final turns, while the parking lot smelled of bacon.

Whether they were there to shred the slush or soak up the sun, up to 2,000 people hit A-Basin’s final day. And they did it in style, many in costumes, with beer, barbecue and big smiles. Some revelers even wore bathing suits and sandals, while one man stripped off his long underwear behind a truck.

“It’s another beautiful day at the beach,” said Dillon resident Steve Delaney, who wore a priest costume for the celebration. “This is my fifth year in a row. I will extend my streak.”

Though closing day was a bit warmer than normal, A-Basin ski patrol director Patrick O’Sullivan said he wasn’t worried about staying open into June.

“We always manage to pull it together in the end,” O’Sullivan said. “And there’s lots of swimmers. People have been at the lake all day, every day, for weeks.”

The ski area held an informal pond-skimming event Sunday afternoon at Lake Reveal, the natural lake which forms at mid-mountain every spring just off Dercum’s Gulch. Countless skiers and snowboarders attempted to cross the water to win bragging rights. And they had a final chance to ride the Exhibition Lift, which will be replaced with a high-speed quad this summer – Black Mountain Express.

Skiers and riders also took advantage of top-to-bottom conditions, with two lifts operating for eight trails. The Treeline Terrain Park was open as well.

Jim Baker, a former Summit County resident who now lives on the Front Range, said he’s been coming to A-Basin for the last 18 years and it always changes for the better.

“This is a great closing day,” he said. “Every year is very good. Not too much has changed.”

And Denver resident Dan Catalano, who was vegging at the beach with a beer, noted that A-Basin’s warm weather was like being at an actual beach.

“Except you can take some runs if you want too,” he added, with a grin. “The beauty of A-Basin is it stays open later than any of the other resorts.”

His friend Tracy Schnorr agreed, saying: “I wish it was open later.”

The 2010-11 Arapahoe Basin Bonus Pass is now on sale. The pass can be purchased for $359 for adults and can be used for the entire 2010-11 season, plus five non-transferable ski days valid at Keystone or Breck. One of those five days can be used at Vail or Beaver Creek (some date restrictions apply). This price is subject to change and a limited number of these passes will be sold.

Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at crow@summitdaily.com.

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