A-Basin offers winter fix for die-hards
ARAPAHOE BASIN – There are skiers and snowboarders bragging about how many days they had on the mountain this season and those who are still breaking their own records at Arapahoe Basin while it lasts.
“It’s kind of our end of the year snowboarding shebang,” said John Melrose, who, along with Erin McBride, was getting in a day of riding at the Basin Tuesday before calling it a season and moving to Buena Vista to become a raft guide for the summer.
“Especially for the bad snow conditions all winter, I’m impressed you can go all the way to the top and come down, and there’s still choices of runs to do,” he said. “There’s still a cornice to drop and some moguls if you’re into that. We are supposed to meet someone up here. It’s his first time ever snowboarding. He figured he might as well try it since he’s on vacation in Colorado and A-Basin is still open. I saw some beginners up there, but I think there’s mainly a lot of locals like us here to take a couple runs and get their fix.”
The Basin is one of the few ski areas in North America still open and is still offering skiing and snowboarding lessons. Today and Thursday mark the last opportunity for spring training clinics, which ski area officials said have been filled for the past month. Twenty-five percent of the area’s terrain is still open with two lifts from top to bottom. The Basin is slated to close Memorial Day, May 27. Until then, area officials welcome anyone from those needing a genuine winter fix before they are forced into glacier hiking later in the summer to those who are there purely for bragging rights.
“You have your handful of people who feel they need to ski every month of the year,” said Marty Gotantas of A-Basin ski school. “They have to have “‘ number of days on the mountain. It’s good conversation for the bar. Then, there are people that go through withdrawal in the summer.”
A large amount of cars parked on the Basin’s beach were sporting mountain bikes along with slush-covered boards. With the usual scene of barbecuers and campers on the Beach, there are also a few travelers using the last of the snow for purposes other than skiing or riding.
“We’re looking for wintery environments,” said Sherry May, producer of Land’s End outerwear catalogue. A crew from Land’s End has traveled from Texas and Montana to set up a camper on the Beach all week to shoot footage for next year’s catalogue. “It’s a family building igloos in the snow and playing. We didn’t know where else to go other than Mount Hood, (Oregon). We’re running out of snow in this country.”
There is a smattering of racers making giant slalom turns before dryland training begins, and Gotantas said their feedback has been encouraging.
“Most people who have been coming in to train have mentioned the good quality of conditions,” Gotantas said. “It’s holding up surprisingly well. If people still want to ski, we’ll let them.”
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