Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is one of the most unique ski and snowboard resorts in Colorado. Its high altitude terrain, heavy dose of expert terrain, and locals’ dominated (laid back) atmosphere make A-Basin one of our favorite places to visit. Besides, it’s usually one of Colorado’s first resorts to open each season and it’s typically the last to turn off its lifts. I mean, who doesn’t appreciate sipping an adult beverage while relaxing at “The Beach” each May? Arapahoe Basin’s website describes The Beach to a tee,
“The Beach backs up to the three lower mountain chairlifts, and is the perfect spot to kick back between runs with family and friends. It’s a scene unique to the Basin, and a guaranteed good time!” – A-Basin
This year marks Arapahoe Basin Ski Area’s 70th anniversary. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience 25 of those years. I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on A-Basin and its formidable East Wall. I can only imagine what some of the first skiers thought when they bombed down A-Basin’s runs in its inaugural season in 1946-47. Back then, skiers were initially transported in an U.S. Army weapons carrier midway up the mountain where they grabbed a rope tow to the top. Absolute insanity, right?
I cannot possibly gloss over Lenawee Mountain and the East Wall – they definitely deserve the spotlight. Lenawee Mountain is the tallest mountain on the East Wall (it’s also the name of the lift that accesses the top half of the front side of the mountain). The East Wall is the extreme terrain located on the front upper mountain. It takes a considerable amount of snow to open it up, and it’s best recognized for being the highest skiable terrain in North America.
Any visit to Arapahoe Basin would be incomplete without a journey up the Pallavicini Lift. Locals refer to it as “Pali.” The Pali lift is the easiest and quickest way to access some of the best expert slopes A-Basin has to offer.
Happy 70th birthday A-Basin! My birthday wish for you is that you always keep your small mountain charm!
Arapahoe Basin Location
68 miles west of Denver, in Summit County, Colorado (closest town is Keystone, CO)
The 70-year-old legend offers some of the highest skiable terrain in North America. Half of the mountain is above timberline with open bowl skiing and snowboarding through spring and into early summer. One of its signature runs, Pallavicini, is one of Colorado’s longest and steepest trails.
Vertical rise: 2,270 feet
Base: 10,780 feet
Summit: 13,050 feet
Average annual snowfall: 350 inches
Number of trails: 109
Longest run: 1.5 miles
Skiable acres: 960
Snowmaking acres: 125