Overlooking view of the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in Colorado

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (Your Ultimate A-Basin Guide)

I’m a Colorado local and experienced skier, and in this guide, I break down all the things to love about Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. 

I will share where to find steep chutes, gladed runs, and powder stashes galore. I also share ideal places to stay, nearby attractions, and where to find more après ski fun.

Here’s what I’ll cover in this post: 

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

About Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

People enjoying skiing in Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
(photo: Arina P Habich / Shutterstock)

Arapahoe Basin Stats

  • 📍 28194 US-6, Dillon, CO 80435
  • 📞 (970) 468-0718
  • 💻 Arapahoe Basin Website
  • 📅 Ski area open October 23, 2022 to Jun 1, 2023 (estimated)
  • 🎿 Lift Hours: 9 am to 4 pm Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 4 pm Saturday – Sunday  
  • ⛰️ Summit Elevation: 13,050 ft (3,978 meters)
  • ❄️ Average Snowfall: 350 in (889 cm)
  • 🗺️ Acres: 1,428 
  • 🏂 Number of trails: 147
  • ⛷️ Vertical drop: 2,530 feet (771 meters)
  • 🚡 Number of ski lifts: 9

A-Basin Ski Season

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is the oldest ski resort in Summit County, and one of the most popular ski resorts in the state of Colorado.

It was Colorado’s first post-WWII ski area, built with retired mining equipment on a shoestring budget. In 1946, Arapahoe Basin opened with one tow rope and sold lift tickets for $1.25.

Today, A-Basin, as it’s referred to by locals, features 9 ski lifts and 1,428 acres of terrain. The ski area is also called The Legend, famed for having the longest season in Colorado. A-Basin has opened for skiing as early as October 9 and closed as late as August 10. 

For 7 years, most recently in 2019, Arapahoe Basin has operated on the 4th of July. Live music and parties on “The Beach,” front-row parking near the ski lifts, always make for epic Independence Day celebrations! 

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area Terrain

View of people enjoying their day in Arapahoe Basin Ski Area Terrain

A-Basin is also known for some of the highest skiable terrain in North America. The summit reaches an impressive 13,050 feet, ranking as the 3rd-highest ski area elevation on the continent. Views of the Continental Divide are stunning from this peak. 

In addition, steep terrain is abundant at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. Black and double black runs make up 73% of this adventurous mountain. The extreme terrain and steep glades make A-Basin a favorite among experienced skiers. However, beginners can also enjoy the ski area, with 7% green and 20% blue trails. 

Arapahoe Basin’s adventurous, in-bounds terrain includes seven distinct areas. Novices should stick to Molly Hogan and the frontside, serviced by the Black Mountain Express and Lenawee lifts. The Beavers and Montezuma Bowl are ideal for intermediate and advanced skiers. 

Pallavicini, accessible via the Pallavicini lift, features some of the ski area’s most gnarly terrain. Find narrow, rocky chutes at The Steep Gullies, too — but note that you’ll be hiking 20-30 minutes back to the base area in ski boots. 

Lastly, to experience one of The Legend’s biggest adventures, head to The East Wall chutes. The Lower East Wall generally opens in February, followed by multiple hiking routes up the Upper East Wall. 

Three terrain parks — Treeline, High Divide, and Banana Park — add even greater variety. 

Where to Stay Near Arapahoe Basin

View of lodges near the Keystone Lake in Colorado
Lodges set along nearby Keystone Lake

Here are some of the best places to stay near A-Basin:

You’ll find several hotels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, and home rentals near Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. Keystone is the closest mountain town, complete with restaurants, bars, spas, and more après ski entertainment. See our Where to Stay in Keystone guide for more nearby suggestions. 

Silverthorne, just a bit further from A-Basin, has even more places to stay, including budget-friendly hotels. If you plan to spend your entire day exploring and just need a spot to crash, check out the affordable Silver Inn and The Pad hostel. 

Those that prefer quieter areas should consider Silver Plume and Georgetown. These mountain towns will be far less crowded than those closer to A-Basin.

5 Things to Do Near Arapahoe Basin

Snow Tubing

Race down groomed trails at Adventure Point, the world’s highest mountaintop tubing hill

A girl snow tubing in Arapahoe Basin

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (855) 603-0049 | Website | Hours: 10:15 am – 3 pm daily | Entrance: starts at $19 per run, or $59 for adults and $40 under 13 with lift ticket

Experience Adventure Point at Keystone Resort, the highest mountain top tubing hill in the world! You’ll want to book tickets in advance; view rates and complete this step online. Then to reach this attraction, park in the free River Run Parking Lot. Collect your reserved passes from the Express Lift Ticket line, then board the River Run Village gondola. 

At the Dercum Mountain summit lie 6 groomed snow-tubing lanes. Racing down this hill is one of the best things to do in Keystone, offering thrills for (nearly) the whole family. Note that a minimum age of 4 years and height of 42 inches is required to ride. 

Ice Skating

Glide on a natural lake or within Keystone’s charming village square

People enjoying their day ice skating in Arapahoe Basin

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (970) 496-4500 | Website | Hours: 1 pm – 8 pm daily | Entrance: $15+ per person

Just a few miles from Arapahoe Basin, Keystone features two places to skate on ice. Keystone Lake is one of the largest Zamboni-groomed outdoor ice rinks in the world. Entrance costs $15 per person, with an extra fee for skate rentals. Though, in my opinion, the expense is well worth the views alone!

For a different sort of scenery, check out the Dercum Square Ice Rink. Though smaller, it’s surrounded by cozy lodges and boutiques. Plus, hot chocolate is just a few steps away. 

Sleigh Ride

Clop through snowy forests in Summit County

A horse drawn sleigh ride in Arapahoe Basin

📍 Google Maps | Phone: (855) 603-0049 | Website | Hours: 1 pm – 7 pm Thursday – Sunday, Closed Monday – Wednesday (seasonal, open November 18, 2022 – April 2, 2023) | Entrance: starts at $60 adults, $50 under 12, $10 under 3 

Keystone Stables hosts several sleigh ride excursions, including incredible dinner tours. Guests meet at the Adventure Center in Lakeside Village, then climb aboard the charming horse-drawn sleigh. 

Clop through snowy forests into the stunning Soda Creek Valley. If opting for the dinner experience, you’ll be taken to warm cabins where dinner and cowboy cocktails are served. A moonlit ride back makes the outing even more memorable. 

River Run Village

Explore the heart of Keystone, full of après ski fun

View of people ready for snowboarding in a ski resort
(photo: Arina P Habich / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Rent a River Run Condo on VRBO

River Run Village at Keystone Resort is a great place to hang out after a day of skiing. Here, you’ll find coffee shops, restaurants, and bars. Kick back with a cocktail and get toasty while roasting s’mores around their outdoor fire pit. 

Boutiques and lodging also make up River Run Village. Black Bear Condos, Buffalo Lodge, and Expedition Station are just a few available options. See more available condo rentals on VRBO

Loveland Pass

Take a scenic drive to hiking trails and backcountry ski runs

View of the Loveland Pass sign at the top

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Shop Backcountry Ski Gear on REI

Set along the Continental Divide, Loveland Pass is the highest mountain pass in Colorado that’s open year-round. Coming from Denver, it’s the most direct route to reach Arapahoe Basin. But even if staying in Keystone or other nearby towns west of the Eisenhower Tunnel, this drive is worth experiencing.

With a peak elevation of 11,991 feet above sea level, views from the pass are absolutely breathtaking. Consider parking to hike 13er Mount Sniktau or hit some backcountry ski runs.

Restaurants Near Arapahoe Basin

The Black Mountain Lodge exterior from afar
Black Mountain Lodge and views of the East Wall (photo: Steve Boice / Shutterstock)
  • 6th Alley Bar & Grill – Found at the base of A-Basin, this convenient restaurant serves American favorites and the best bloody marys around.
  • Black Mountain Lodge – Set at the top of the Black Mountain Express Lift, this mid-mountain eatery cooks up house-smoked BBQ, hearty stews, and more.
  • Steilhang Hut – Take in views of the East Wall from this upper mountain hut, serving locally-made pretzels, sausages, and German draft beer. 
  • Haywood Cafe – A great spot for a large group, this Keystone cafe offers a daily, delicious brunch menu. 
  • Last Chance Pizza – Snag a slice from this Keystone pizzeria, then cozy up in Cove & Craft next door, which offers a great selection of local beers. 
  • Dos Locos Mexican Restaurant & Cantina – Take advantage of happy hour margaritas and tacos at this festive Keystone eatery. 
  • Montezuma Roadhouse – A trendy New American restaurant featuring craft cocktails and a game room with billiards and arcade games.  

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area features 3 on-site restaurants. 6th Alley Bar & Grill is a great spot to start the day, as they serve famous bloody marys — bacon or regular. You can also order lunch here, as well as at Black Mountain Lodge and Steilhang Hut. 

In nearby Keystone, you’ll find countless eateries for all tastes and budgets. Post-skiing, nothing beats a warm meal and happy hour drink specials. 

Essentials to Pack for Arapahoe Basin

They have a saying in Norway that translates to “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” To help ensure a fun day at Arapahoe Basin, arrive prepared with proper layers and gear! Here are a few personal suggestions on how I stay warm on the slopes: 

Customized Warmth

Our Pick
The North Face Carto Triclimate Waterproof Jacket
$249.95

Featuring a three-in-one system, this North Face jacket allows you to customize warmth. Wear the waterproof shell, insulated inner jacket, or both. It’s also available in women’s sizes.


12/28/2022 01:18 am GMT

Quality Layers

Our Pick
Columbia Omni-Heat Midweight Stretch Baselayer Long Sleeve Shirt
$89.50

Technologically advanced, these layers are thermal reflective and quick drying. They make a huge difference in staying warm and are also available in a women’s version.

12/28/2022 01:23 am GMT

Snow-Proof

Our Pick
Columbia Bugaboo Omni-Heat Pant, Thermal Reflective Warmth
$111.64

Also featuring thermal reflective tech, these waterproof snow pants are insulated and comfortable. Find them in men’s sizes, too.

12/28/2022 01:28 am GMT

Sleek Protection

Our Pick
Smith Drift Snow Goggles
$80.00

Smith creates a wide variety of snow goggles for women and men. Find a fit for your style, knowing that no matter what you choose, they’ll be fog-free and secure.

12/28/2022 01:28 am GMT

My Favorite Accessory

Our Pick
Burton Cora Hood
$44.95

Look stylish on the slopes with this neck warmer by Burton. I suggest opting for the version that fits over your ski helmet, also available in men’s styles.

12/20/2022 04:38 pm GMT

A-Basin Map

FAQs About Arapahoe Basin

What is Arapahoe Basin known for?

Arapahoe Basin is known for its long season, which beats out all other Colorado ski resorts. It’s also loved for its difficult terrain, with gnarly slopes on The East Wall and narrow chutes through The Steep Gullies.

Is A-Basin a good place to ski?

A-Basin is a good place to ski. In fact, it’s one of my favorite places to ski in all of Colorado. It’s more-so frequented by locals, meaning cheaper lift tickets, shorter lines, and fewer crowds on the slopes. 

***

After reading this guide, hopefully, you’re stoked to visit Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. Stay warm, pray for powder, and keep your tips up! 

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