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Arapahoe Basin

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm going to show just how ignorant I am about Skiing West. I've skied only 4 places in my life, all less than 2 1/2 hrs drive from my front door.
Sister in law lives near Arapahoe Basin and has been urging my husband and me to visit her. So we are going to start making plans.

She and her husband have season pass' at Arapahoe basin, so I'm sure I'll be experiencing what they have to offer, but I'd like to take the time to explore a bit.
These are things I'd like to know.....

Best/worst time to visit that area
I'll be a little flexible on the time of the trip

Great place to venture outside of AB.
I'm not sure how willing our family will be to go outside of "season pass" coverage, so we may be on our own when we explore.

Here's the really loaded question......
How do advanced Michigan skiers do when they get their first Colorado experience? Is there anything I should do to prep myself?

Some of the people we ski with regularly have been out there several times. Most say we'll have no trouble. A few say...."oh, you don't really know how to ski until you go out west"

I thought this was going to be a sinch for me until I read the Corbetts thread. Do I have to do THAT?:

Am I just psycing myself out?
post #2 of 19
Thread Starter 
So far the advice is....Drink lots of water, take it easy at first to get used to elevation, embrace the atmosphere at A Basin(looking forward to it), Enjoy some of the other awesome places the area offers, and don't be a big chicken.

What about timing?
post #3 of 19
you are pshycing yourself out. i'm from houston, texas and that is 50 feet above sea level and have skied powder, ice and slush without incident.
if youre advanced skiers, youll do fine unless you do a double black on your 1st run. just get the feel for a mountain first, you'll love it.
elevation and dryness affects every person differently or not at all. i have yet to go on a ski trip with my club from houston and have anyone worried about either of those.

i'd go march 1st or after to avoid the crowds, but if most of your time there is midweek, it doesnt matter when you go.

and if youre skiing abasin, your ticket should also be good for keystone and breckenridge and both of those are easy 10 and 30 minutes trips. go see 'em too and see some real colorado mountain resorts/towns.

knowing what i do about that area, i'd be pschyed out that i had to wait, but pysched up to go.
post #4 of 19
You will LOVE skiing in the west.

For issues regarding altitude adjustment, look here:

I agree with the suggestion to use the Breck or Keysotone days on your pass.

One additional item about A-Basin that was not mentioned- a large percentage of terrain is above treeline. This is great, but on cloudy days with very flat light, you may find it very hard to maintain your equilibrium. The pitch and changes of pitch can be difficult to discern, and even where the snow ends and the sky begins can be hard to distinguish. I have gotten vertigo in these conditions on occasion, and there is less terrain in the trees to duck into at the Basin compared with the other resorts.

By the way, it is dumping hard here, and has been since 6am!
post #5 of 19
There really isn't a bad time to go to A-Basin. When its crowded, you'll be in line for 5 minutes. When its not crowded, you'll be the only one on your run. I would suggest going late Feb or after... that way you'll have a pretty good chance of being there when the East Wall is open. The skiing there is great- and make sure you hit the double blacks off the Pali lift.

As far as side trips to other resorts, someone else mentioned it- Keystone, Breck, and Copper are all within 15-20 miles. Vail and BC are about 45 minutes from the same area. It may be worth the drive this year to head to Steamboat for a day- they've been getting several feet each week and have over 250" so far this year.
post #6 of 19
I would have to agree to go in late Feb./ Mar., but Abasin is NEVER crowded. I don't know if the Bonus Pass exists at Abasin now (it may have sold out, but check their website) I would go ahead and get it and it will give you five days skiing at Breck/Keystone and one day at Vail/Beaver Creek and unlimited skiing at Abasin (so you can go back for the Brewfest, mentioned below). I would hit Breck and Beaver Creek. I am from the east and had no problem adjusting to the terrain at Abasin though I didn't ski the really extreme stuff. But for the altitude, get acclimated one day before skiing and drink lots of water to combat dehydration and altitude problems (I have never had more than a headache and live 600ft above Sealevel). I like Abasin. It is very laid back and the above tree line skiing is great. It also stays open later than any other ski resort in CO , sometimes as late as July 4th but that hasn't been in recent years. IF you go in May, you will get to experience the Festival of the Brewpubs where you get a lift ticket and a bottomless plastic mug to try all the local microbreweries for little to nothing(ski first, drink second ). Also has live bands and a very festive atmosphere. In late Mar. til closing, "the Beach" comes alive. It is the parking row right next to the base where people set up camp, grill out and drink and do the apres ski thing like I have never seen it. Very similar to tailgating for football games. Hope this helps some.
And if I remember correctly, this is part of what it looks like......
post #7 of 19
Though, I will say that A-basin is the most 'different" (from your michigan skiing experience) ski area in Summit- It has the highest elevation in the region (you'll feel it), it's pretty rugged and consistently steep-fewest percentage of groomers. great Mountain, though-good vibe, great skiing--I suspect your in-laws have one of those multi-rsort Colorado passes all the locals have out there so make them take you to Copper Mountain as well (my favorite in SDummit/Eagle County area-but I'm no expert).
post #8 of 19
You will love it or hate it, it is a very different experience to the major Colorado resorts.

I didn't enjoy it much at all, I wouldn't go back there to ski for free.

Mind you, I'm not an expert skier (I don't enjoy rough double blacks) and the snow conditions were pretty ordinary.

And the food on offer in the 'day lodge' was revolting. The parking was convenient and free though, that was a positive.

Just another opinion..
post #9 of 19
My first time on skis was at A-Basin back in the late 80's. If you are worried about how your abilities will transfer out West, and to AB in particular; don't. You'll be fine. To be sure, there is some terrain there that you'll probably want to avoid; you'll know it when you see it. But there is also lots of terrain that you will handle very-well.

One piece of advice is that if you get a huge dump (say 12"+) while you're there, and haven't skied powder before, you might want to look into a lesson.

As far as timing goes, I've skied there in mid-March and late-April. Personally, I preferred March to April. But it was pretty cool to ski there in April on a 70 degree day in shorts (with lots of snow).

Enjoy the trip. A-Basin is still one of my all-time favorites.
post #10 of 19
You'll be fine if you stay hydrated. As far as difficulty goes you won't have a problem. I often take low intermediate skiers and folks from the east coast there. The blue and green runs off Exhibition lift are very nice and a great warm up for the rest of the mountian. Next try the blue runs off Lenawee and Norway lifts. For a flavor of the steeper runs try West Wall and Falcon. If these feel good try the Lower East Wall. If that feels good and you are up for moguls head for Palivicinni, one of the classic great Colorado bump runs. International is also a great run. Avoid the Alleys, Turbo, and Rock Garden unless you like tight really steep mogul runs through trees and rock outcroppings. This year anytime should be good. It is dumping there again tonight. For another similiar close-by ski area that should not be missed try Loveland Ski Area right over Loveland pass from A-Basin. Ride chair 9 there to the top of the continental divide for some great views and an introduction to high alpine bowl skiing that is pretty tame.
post #11 of 19
I follow this "if you skied you whole life east, then anything else is cake." The conditions back East are much harder b/c of ice than ainbounds at Western resorts. Period.
post #12 of 19
Love A-Basin. I've never had a bad day there. It's so spectacular, and the atmosphere is great, especially as others say, in spring when they get the parties going and there's dogs everywhere (even in the hot tubs!).
post #13 of 19
I would suggest a late March / early April trip. Go during the week if possible.

You won't have a problem skiing the mountain and it'll be quite obvious to you what you'll want to ski. You can ratchet up the difficulty as you want. A Basin has quite a bit of mild terrain besides all the steeps. As an added bonus, it's pretty easy to tell when you're getting yourself in over your head and you can exit out of it.
post #14 of 19
We finally got a chance to spend a day at A-Basin this year. We all really enjoyed it. Beautiful views, no lines at the lifts, super nice people... will definitely go back. There is plenty to enjoy even if you aren't into the super steeps. I took the lift up with a local who was very helpful in letting me know which runs were the best for my ability level.
post #15 of 19
ABasin in early season is a zoo on weekends, so you'll want to avoid coming in late October early November. Also, if you have any visual issues, many people have said that you should avoid skiing late in the day. Lack of trees makes it difficult to see in flat light.
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
ABasin in early season is a zoo on weekends, so you'll want to avoid coming in late October early November. Also, if you have any visual issues, many people have said that you should avoid skiing late in the day. Lack of trees makes it difficult to see in flat light.
I've been told to try Copper while I'm out there. In fact, I've been told to look Steve up for his expert services. I'm going to see if it will work into our plans. Maybe he can show me how to use my skis to their potential
post #17 of 19
Originally Posted by kdskis2
but Abasin is NEVER crowded.
The longest lines I've ever waited in Summit County were for the Pali lift on spring Saturdays. The beach is a great atmosphere and a really fun time but the lift is slow and the line can get long.

post #18 of 19

I'd only add...

Arapahoe is one of the higher elevation slope's, an old trick I read in a Ski magazine to help you adjust to altitude is to take an aspirin a day for two weeks before leaving, and continue the one-a-day while you're there.
Thins the blood.
My first ski trip to the mountains effected me the most, I think my body remembered how to adjust after that cause it doesn't effect me nearly as much now-a-days.
post #19 of 19
The biggest problem that you will face is wanting to ski in Mich when you get back home. We skied NC until we went west for the first time. Now it's four trips per year to CO or UT. Hope you have good weather when you go.
We leave for UT in the morning.
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