It’s official! Arapahoe Basin is the first mountain to open this season. They announced that they will open THIS Friday, October 13th.
Their website states that there is thin cover and no beginner terrain. It says, “You should expect: hidden and unmarked obstacles, variable and thin snow conditions, rocks, logs and other hazards.”
Now comes my question… I happen to have about 10 days off between jobs in late October. Do y’all think it’s worth it to go out there and ski for 8 days? It will be hard for me to take more than two weeklong vacations once this season starts. (I live on the East Coast.) I am an advanced-intermediate skier who is trying to improve and get solidly into the “advanced” camp. I am also willing to get a few lessons if I DO go out there. I have never skied at A-Basin before.
All opinions and insights appreciated! What do you guys think?
Colorado Arapahoe-Basin First to Open
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I'm not sure it's worth the trip to only ski. Maybe if you have other things to enjoy doing in Denver or Front Range.
I'd also call A-Basin...just because the lifts are running, doesn't mean the ski school is. Or that it is a good idea to try and take a lesson on the white ribbon of death even if so.
Loveland will very very likely also be open by the last week in Oct. A 4 pack there is pretty inexpensive and the terrain is a bit more suited to doing drills than A-Basin.
Lift Ticket Prices:
- Adult (ages 19-69) $79
- Adult half-day $67
- Youth (ages 15-18) $67
- Child (ages 6-14) $39
- Child 5 & under FREE
- Semi-Senior (ages 60-69) $74
- Senior (age 70+) $35
- Black Mountain Express
- Monday – Friday: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Saturday & Sunday: 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
I would say -- buy a 4 pack and come mid week. Use it to get your ski legs under you. Personally, I'd choose Loveland over A-Basin.
Loveland has shorter lift lines, and a wider run early season. Bonus is that at A-Basin you get a bunch of drunk bros. At Loveland you get to ski with a bunch of neo-pros.
It's likely to be one or two runs throughout October. There will be a massive number of people of all ability levels crammed into very little space. Many to most will be going too fast for the situation.
I agree the ski school is probably not open - call and ask.
It could be a great trip if you mix it up with mountain biking or road riding or rock climbing ..... because temps are still pretty warm, and the sun is shining!
Thanks everyone for the feedback! I will mull it over... I do fear that there will only be one or two runs open. I think I'd get their mid-week pass for $229 if I end up going. Will call them today and ask about ski school. Stay tuned...
Will also do some research on Loveland!Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
It hurts like hell for me to say this, but I don't think it's worth taking a trip to Colorado just to ski A-Basin in October. It hurts because I am jonesing for turns as much as anyone, and A-Basin is one of my favorite places in the world, but the October skiing experience there just doesn't do it for me. The lift line can get amazingly long. The one run that will be open initially is short and not particularly interesting and will be severely overcrowded with such a wide variety of speeds and turn shapes that the 30 second run that you waited 30 minutes in line to take is mostly a frustrating and nerve-wracking experience. If you're in Colorado for another reason is it worth it to stop by for a couple hours for the novelty of skiing in October? Sure. But honestly, I wouldn't make a special trip for it.
The ski school is open according to their website. I mean... speaking as someone who used to take trips out west to ski from NYC that others thought were ridiculous, I'd go for sure. I'd plan not to ski on the weekends, probably. I'd split midweek days between Loveland and A-Basin. A-Basin has already moved their guns to Ramrod and the upper mountain, so by later October there should be 1 top-to-bottom run and more variety. I'd maybe take some road rides or go on some hikes/snowshoes on the weekends, or drive a bit west and mountain bike in Fruita or even Moab.
I think if you look at it not strictly as a ski trip, but as spending 2 weeks in the mountains where you'll get to do some early season skiing, it sounds like a wonderful way to spend the time between jobs. I'd go if I were in your shoes.
No way would I do such a trip. 8 days skiing extremely limited and crowded terrain sounds horrible to me. Skiing the WROD is a novelty worth a few runs, not 8 days.
I know you said you have limited options later in the season but you'd be better off planning an April or May trip.
I think the consensus is that Colorado is a wonderful idea for a week or two of recreation - but only a handful of those days should be spent at A Basin.
Actually, my plan is to ski the mornings and then mountain bike in the afternoons. I can't deal with more than a few runs with all the madness of early season and only one resort - strike that, only one RUN - open in the state.
I'm a dedicated, get-every-day-I-can skier here on the Front Range, and love the WROD mostly. To me the key thing you said was you don't get such chances often. As long as coming out here now isn't taking away from your chances of getting out here again once skiing gets much better, I'd say go for it, perhaps as long as you pace yourself around what your conditioning and body are telling you. I wouldn't want to do eight straight, full days this early. But I'm sort of an old guy. People's suggestions of planning on doing other activities in the mountains also makes a lot of sense to me. (Fishing, biking, hiking, exploring, etc..)
Renting a dedicated frontside ski with a between slalom and GS radius is what I'd do (probably in Frisco, at Precision Sports [lots of choices] or Podium Sports [Kastles], say), if I didn't have such skis plus near race skis already. That way you can control where you are and your speed among all the early season young racers, who will be at either A-Basin or Loveland. And you will get a chance to improve your technique.
As I said, the one drawback I see is that, at least for me, a gradual build up of hours skiing and days per week is best for my conditioning and health. Unless you are in great shape, eight full days before you've had a chance to condition to altitude and skiing both is sort of a trial by fire way of breaking in the season - probably for the young mostly also, not sure.
The low angle of the sun tends to keep things firmer, longer.
But you never know. For the first few hours, at least, things should be good for any ski with a good edge/carve.
I'll be on 67 to 80, but the folks I'm likely to ski with will be on a 98 stiff Salomon Lab, Gotamas, Mantras, Annex 118s, etc., in addition to the narrower types of ski I'll favor.
I was up there today, at Hermann Gulch and Watrous Gulch (one exit east of Loveland on I-70), and for uphill hiking it was tee-shirt and shorts weather (for the benefit of @Sandy_NYC ), at least on southern exposures. Very little snow on that side, mostly. No need for gaiters there yet. That is, up to almost treeline, when the wind picked up and the temp dropped a lot - with a bit of wind-driven snow.
On northern exposures, the white build-up looked good and cold.
Skiing will be extremely limited. It is still quite warm out (50'-60's) in town and even the higher elevations (40's) are still warm. Winter gets going mid November usually so there is a long way to go.
A-Basin is best when there is lots of snow for the really fun terrain to open. More so this year since they have added the Beavers and other areas.
I had some Australians staying with me in Colorado one fall when Loveland opened a few crappy slopes with abominable snow. They went up just to check it out and loved it. Compared to their local hill it was great. They went back day after day.
I would have lasted about four runs and gone home to rotate the sock drawers or something.
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