In a corporate and crowded Colorado ski scene, Arapahoe Basin stands out as a breath of fresh air against its well known affluent neighbors. Perched near the top of Loveland Pass, a mere hour and fifteen minutes from downtown Denver, A-Basin’s local passionate vibe is what keeps it my favorite mountain near the front range. It’s a true skiers mountain that doesn’t compromise the experience for profit.
Arapahoe Basin keeps the stoke alive through the longest season in Colorado from October to June and occasionally the 4th of July! During the peak season, snow sports enthusiasts can reach the 13,050-foot tall summit and decent the 2,530 vertical feet to the base. The exceptionally high elevation of the Basin helps keep its 350 inches of annual snow light and fluffy, with the wind always blowing it into just the right spot. Even in the late season, the soft snow makes for great times, and the local snowmelt pond, named Lake Reveal, becomes a pond skimming hotspot.
The terrain is my favorite part about The Legend, despite being on the smaller side of Colorado resorts, the 1,428-acre ski area has 147 (named) runs for everyone. Like amazing groomers and creamy bumps that you can ride into June or even July, you’ll love the front side. Love skiing springtime slush under the sun? The backside Montezuma Bowl is for you. Wanna get your heart racing? Take the hike up to the East Wall, where some of Colorado’s toughest inbounds terrain awaits. Even beginners have their own space with a dedicated learning area at the base of the mountain.
A-Basin has only gotten better in recent years. The expansion into the former backcountry territory of the Beavers and Steep Gullies added 468 acres of tree skiing goodness abutted by some of the most challenging terrain in the state. And the decision to leave the Epic Pass following the 2018-2019 season helped A-Basin taper the crowds that had impacted the weekend skiing experience. These factors come together to create an amazing ski experience aided by passionate employees that keeps The Legend true to its name.
Although I didn’t learn to ski at the Basin, I can confidently say it’s where I have improved the most out of any ski area. The numerous hidden runs and creative lines sprinkled around the mountain push you to explore and experiment in unique ways, and with some of the steepest runs anywhere, there’s always room to improve. Assuming you can work around the I-70 traffic jams, A-Basin holds some of the best skiing (and food) in the state.
Vertical: 2,530 ft (771 m)
Top elevation: 13,050 ft (3,978 m)
Base elevation: 10,780 ft (3,286 m)
Skiable area: 1,428 acres (5.78 km2)
- 7% Easiest
- 20% More Difficult
- 49% Most Difficult
- 24% Extreme
Longest run: 1.5 miles (2.4 km)
Lift system: 9 chairs (1 high-speed quad, 2 quads, 1 triple, 2 doubles), 2 magic carpets and 1 surface lift
Terrain parks: 2 (High Divide and Treeline)
Snowfall: 350 in (890 cm)
Snowmaking: 125 acres (0.51 km2)
Night skiing: No