Arapahoe Basin is “The Legend” to many Coloradans, and A-Basin to the rest. Best known for the longest ski seasons in North America, averaging 233 days, Arapahoe is typically open from October to June. A-Basin is often the first ski resort to open for skiing in the fall– competing with nearby Loveland! A Basin offers 1,428 acres of skiing and a scenic above tree-line summit of 12,472’ with amazing 360-degree view of the Colorado Rockies. You can see nearby Colorado ski resorts of Breckenridge and Keystone in the near distance. A Basin holds its own in this Summit County ski region, since its doubled in size in the past decade.
For years we loved that Arapahoe was an independent ski area, but in 2024, Alterra announced it would be buying A Basin, to add to its 18 resort collection, including in Colorado – Aspen, Arapahoe, Winter Park and Steamboat. So ABasin is on the IKON pass, but no longer so indie and cool.
Arapahoe is an old-school ski area in many ways still with one central base, at high elevation of 10,780′ on Loveland Pass. Arapahoe has steep snowy terrain from its summit but the front side offers a nice mix of groomed blues off the modern detachable Black Mountain Express quad chairlift. From the top of this lift you can access the new upper mountain Lenawee 6-pack chair or the old school Norway Double to Pallavicini, or stop to enjoy a snack break at the beautiful Black Mountain Lodge.
For families, A Basin’s improved Pika Place is perfect for beginners and kids with a magic carpet and mini terrain park just steps from the base area. Two higher terrain parks, Treeline TP and High Divide parks are popular with the next gen of free skiers and snowboarders. If your kids are just starting to go off piste, A Basin has lots of snowy natural runs and bowls that are easy to get to, and test their mettle in Land of the Giants, The East and West Gully, and The Wall.
Arapahoe Basin’s Beavs and Montezuma Bowl are huge improvements, thanks to recent expansions. Zuma Bowl offers a whole backside of skiing for sunny double black extreme chutes like End Zone, Elephant Trunk and Max that drop off Zuma Cornice, plus a few blues that bring you to the backside fixed grip Zuma quad lift, or a bit of a hoof on the Hike Back Trail if you ski beyond Montezuma’s Revenge or Lightning Traverse. Newest is The Beavers & The Steep Gullies adjacent ot the Pali chair, wrapping around toward Montezuma back bowls, this terrain features rolling trails, open bowls, gladed tree skiing, and steep, rocky chutes, adding 468 new acres and a few dozen new runs served by a fixed grip quad.
Arapahoe Basin gets plenty of snow, about 350′ annually, the ski area is an alpine classic, opened in 1946, and more affordable than bigger resort-style ski neighbors.
Lodging at Arapahoe Basin, does not exist slopeside, you are in beautiful US Forest, so look to stay at nearby Keystone or Breckenridge which have both built tons of lodging beds, hotels and condos. You might ski Arapahoe Basin on your arrival day into Denver before your ski week at Vail, Breck, Keystone and Beaver Creek or on your flight.
A Basin natives tend to throw big parties in the parking lot, you have been warned – it’s a ski area beach on sunny spring days with drinking, bbqs, beach chairs and lots of beer. Good times, not always G Rated. Arapahoe is now charging for their premium steps-to-the-lifts parking, but if you carpool more than 4, its free. We love that environmental social movement, and the fact that you really do park steps to the lifts
Arapahoe Basin Stats: 145 trails, 9 lifts, 1,428 acres, 13,050′ elevation, 2,530′ vertical includes 13,050′ hike to summit elevation.
Base elevation 10,520’.
Since 1946 when lift tickets were $1.25. Now tickets are $70-$120 depending on your pre-purchase and holiday or not.