Arapahoe Basin: A local’s mountain
Just 90 minutes from Denver, Arapahoe Basin – or “A-Basin” as it’s known to locals – is famous for having the longest season in Colorado. The ski area elevation sits between 3,286m and 3,798m – and has an excellent snowfall record that means it is usually open mid-October to early June.
A-Basin is beloved as a local’s mountain and has an extensive mix of runs that rarely feel crowded and will appeal to all members of the family regardless of ability. A-Basin grew its skiable terrain by 50 per cent in the 2017-18 season to more than 1,400 acres. Experience open bowls with 360-degree mountain views, deep powder stashes among the trees in The Beavers, groomed intermediate runs across much of the mountain and an extreme skiing experience in The Steep Gullies and off the famous East Wall.
Young skiers have a home in the solar-powered kids centre that caters specifically to them. While A-Basin doesn’t offer daycare, children arriving early for lessons can warm up with supervised playtime on balance boards and other fun equipment that will help advance their skills on the mountain. Kids lessons offer something for all skill levels with very small class sizes and lunch included in the price. The ski area offers multiple lift deals for children aged six to 14 and youth ages 15 to 18. Kids under five ski free. A-Basin represents fantastic value, with highly affordable pre-bought single-day tickets, several multi-day pass options and on-site gear rental packages.
Two sections of the ski area – Molly Hogan and Pika Place – have been set aside specifically for beginners and offer a fun, non-intimidating learning experience. The terrain off the Black Mountain Express chair and Lenawee Lift offers great progression for intermediates. Advanced skiers and snowboarders should head for the Pallavicini, Beavers and Montezuma lifts.
A-Basin is also known for excellent food and kids meals are available at every eatery. Enjoy house-smoked BBQ at Black Mountain Lodge, charcuterie at il Rifugio or, for parents, an award-winning bacon bloody Mary at the 6th Alley Bar & Grill.
There is a single base area, which makes keeping together the whole family and skiers of different levels a simple task. Plus, parking is free and within easy walking distance of the lifts, There is no on-site lodging, but that is part of A-Basin’s laid-back, skiing-focused atmosphere. The nearest accommodation is in Keystone, just five miles down the road, which is accessible by car or the free Summit Stage bus.
As part of the Mountain Collective, Arapahoe Basin has reciprocal skiing privileges with several other ski areas on the Ikon Pass. If you have already purchased a ski pass for your trip, check to see if A-Basin is included. Visit the website for the most current deals and make sure to visit this beautiful ski area as you are road-tripping across Colorado.
A-Basin: The lowdown
Resort height: 3,268m
Driving time from Denver: 1hr30 (87 miles)
Deals: Buy lift tickets online in advance for the best price; kids five and under ski free
Extended childcare: There is no daycare for non-skiing children
Lessons: Inexpensive beginner package deals available for both kids and adults