Tony Powe / Andrew Strong                October 2019

You know something big is about to happen when you see signs warning that cars parked on the side of the desolate mountain road you're driving up will be towed. You're approaching Arapahoe Basin (known as A-Basin or the "Legend"). This is the resort that left the Epic pass because it was reaching overcapacity. If you think parking at A-Basin is the hardest thing, try skiing down the 46% pitch on 5th Alley. A-basin is not for the faint-hearted - no late morning starts, no ski in ski out and definitely no night life. The Legend is all about skiing and that it takes very seriously. It's one of the first Colorado resorts to open and last to close (we skied July 4th in 2019), 73% of its terrain is marked difficult (49%) to extreme (24%) and hiking up in search of the best lines is a given. Yet, anyone who loves this sport should visit the "Legend" at least once to see how skiing used to be before mega-development became standard. Plus, it's close enough to other great resorts that if intermediate or beginner skiers tire of the adequate, but limited slopes, they can opt out and easily explore other great resorts, like Keystone (10 minutes away). New for the 2019-20 season, A-Basin offers 5 or 7 days on the Ikon Pass or 2 or 3 days on the Mountain Collective

RESORT FEATURES

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CONDITIONS

Quick Take

 LET'S GO 
  • Pure skiing for the sake of skiing - chill, unpretentious and focused. Be sourrounded by seasoned skiers and boarders

  • Long season, start as early as Thanksgiving and go through July 4. Less crowded than other CO resorts with extended seasons

  • Compact, yet lift lines tend to be short and the intermediate and exoert terrain is highly varied, spanning open bowls and gnarly chutes

  • Easy to get to from the Denver airport and other destination ski resorts - free bus services from most major hubs

  • Explore new terrain on The Beavers, a 400 acre expansion (to previous backcountry) for the 2018-19 season

INSIDER TIPS
  • First timers should consider a mountain tour, a great way to see the whole mountain in ~2 hours. These are run regularly by volunteers. They won't take you on anything harder than a blue (which tend to be closer to an easy black by most standards)

  • Follow Al's Blog (Al is A-Basin's COO) for daily tips and updates on where to find the best snow, where to hike and how to carpool

  • While your Google Maps (or other GPS app) will always direct you to A-Basin over the Loveland Pass, off of I-70 from Denver, this route can be treacherous. When conditions are bad, head into Dillon and continue past Keystone on US-6 

  • If time is more important than money, consider paying $30 for reserved parking or book a slot at the beach

  • The Beavers and the Steep Gullies are now accessible via the Beaver Quad lift (the Steep Gullies still require a walk out). These areas became lift accessible for the 2018-19 season and still feel like the least discovered part of the mountain

  • Looking for more? Take the free Swan Mountain Flyer to Keystone for Colorado's largest nightskiing area

HESITATIONS
  • Parking is free, but limited, so arrive early, carpool or consider the bus if staying nearby

  • Ski-bum vibe with a slight expectation that this isn't your first time on the slopes

  • A-Basin has a "Ski Area" designation, this means no resort trappings; don't be fooled though, there are on mountain dining options to fit every taste and budget

  • Slower than usual lifts (only 1 high speed quad), but less waiting and amazing views to pass the time

  • The A-Basin Equipment Shop is the only option at the Base and can be a bottleneck for those in need of gear

GETTING TO & GETTING AROUND

 
Getting To
  • Closest Major City: Denver, CO

    • Distance: ~86 mi West 

    • Travel Time: ~1.5 hours 

  • Closest City: Dillon, CO

    • Distance: ~11 mi, ~15 mins​

Neighboring Resorts
  • Neighbors on the Ikon Pass​​

    • Copper (24 miles, ~30 mins)​

    • Winter Park (50 miles, ~1 hr)

  • Other Neighbors​

    • Keystone (5 miles, ~10 mins)

    • Loveland (17 miles, ~15 mins)

    • Breckenridge (20 miles, ~35 mins)

    • Vail (43 miles, ~45 mins)

    • Beaver Creek (55 miles​, ~1 hr)

Travel by Plane
  • Closest major commercial airport: DEN - (Denver International)

    • ~90 mi East, ~1.5 hrs​​​

  • Closest regional airport: EGE (Eagle County Regional Airport)

    •  ~75 miles East, ~80 minutes

Travel by Bus
  • The Summit Stage runs free buses throughout Summit Country, CO. Travel directly from A-Basin to Keystone and Breck or transfer at Keystone for access to Dillon and Silverthorne

  • Airport shuttle services is available to / from DEN

    • Epic Mountain Express owned by Vail; $59 / adult to / from DEN to Keystone then take free the shuttle

    • Peak 1 and Summit Express offer direct shuttles, but can be a little pricer

  • We prefer to have a car here, especially if you can carpool (have 4+ passengers)

    • Pros: Useful for visiting other ski areas, lodging, dining and easy airport access; parking is mostly free

    • Cons: Roads can be treacherous; parking fills up

  • ​Reserve closer parking for $30/day or book a slot at the Beach

  • Park for FREE in one of the first 200 parking spaces in our Early Riser lot (closest to the lift) if you arrive with 4+ in a vehicle 

  • ​Ride shares are available for transportation to A-Basin, but don't count on finding one when its time to leave

Travel by Car

We prefer the freedom a car provides, especially for parties of 4+. Exploring A-basin and the surrounding ski areas can also be done on the free local shuttle buses. The Summit Stage Swan Mountain Flyer runs to A-Basin every hour from Keystone's River Run, though can be crowded

The Lay of the LAnd

Coming soon - easy navigation with all of the key spots highlighted 

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