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July 29, 2006

Upgrading A-Basin

Arapahoe Basin is the first Colorado Resort I ever skied at. Five or so years ago, Jeremy and I took a trip to Colorado right at the start of ski season to get our boots under us and A-basin and Loveland were the only places in Summit that were open. While it was still "white ribbon of death" time and while the slopes were crowded with all the season pass holders, it was still a great experience. Low ticket prices. Laid back crowd. Unpretentious. Not like Breck and Keystone just down the road. Just a mellow family atmosphere.

Well, the Summit Daily News reports some upgrades are proposed for A-basin and a new EIS is posted. From Summit Daily:

SUMMIT COUNTY - Arapahoe Basin this week moved another step closer to realizing plans for lift-served skiing in Montezuma Bowl with release of a draft Forest Service environmental study for the proposal. ... As spelled out in the draft study, the upgrades would increase A-Basin's comfortable carrying capacity by 22 percent, from 3,210 skiers to 3,910 skiers. The changes would also boots the area's uphill lift capacity substantially, from 7,600 to 11,400 people per hour.

Ski area officials previously said they would consider construction of the lift in 2007 pending final approval.

Montezuma Bowl would add about 175 acres of intermediate terrain and 150 acres of advanced and expert terrain, boosting A-Basin's overall lift-served acreage from 490 to 837 acres. Grooming is proposed for about 37 acres of terrain in the bowl, along with a 3,000-foot groomed path along the west ridge of the bowl.
The proposed action, combined with previously approved projects, also includes parking upgrades to increase capacity by 23 percent, to 1,781 vehicles. That includes 146 spaces in the Lower Overflow lot and 95 spots in the High Noon lot.

The full EIS is located here. EIS reports are always a good read because they contain figures about areas that often are not published, like skier visit numbers.

  • 2002-03 317,000
  • 2003-04 275,000
  • 2004-05 328,000

More info on the numbers is located in the pdf. Needless to say that the 11 year average is approximately 250,000 skier days, which means that the last three years are running at almost 130% of the historical average. And you can tell. Consider that A-basin has approximately 500 acres of lift served terrain and had as many skier visits as Big Sky with a combined acreage of almost 5,000 acres when combined with Moonlight Basin, and A-basin only has a 7,400 person per hour uphill lift capacity. The improvements are needed.

As I said, the EIS's tell a lot about a resort. Take the time to read it.

Posted by Justin at July 29, 2006 01:42 PM


This is good and bad news. Abasin rocks, but the only sh*tty thing I see is Montezuma is some awesome snowmobile access, I wonder if that will change. Abasin is a great resort and pretty much the only reason I buy a 5 mtn pass. Hope to see you out in CO this year Justin.. laters--JP

Posted by: JP @ weknowsnow at July 30, 2006 06:57 AM

this is JP's country here. On any given weekend, you will see JP hitchiking on the pass or taking some crazy backcountry trails, camping out, etc.

Already making plans man.

Posted by: Justin B at July 30, 2006 05:41 PM