Arapahoe Basin

Karl Sander
SnowPak Local Insider
Karl Sander
  • Deep fluffy powder; 889 cm of the good stuff each year!
  • Some of Colorado's best extreme steeps
  • Small local mountain vibe
  • Relatively cheap lift tickets compared to larger resorts
  • One of the longest ski seasons lasting till spring and early summer
  • Old lifts, only one is high speed = queues, ugh!
  • Small ski terrain area compared to nearby Colorado resorts
  • Very limited dining, après ski and no lodging or resort amenities
  • Limited ground transport options to get there
  • Limited beginner terrain

Arapahoe Basin Ski Packages

Lodging + Lift Tickets Discount Price
River Run
2 x Adult 2-day Lift Ticket
11% off $690
3 Peaks Lodge
2 x Adult 2-day Lift Ticket
0% off $457
Evergreen Condominiums by Keystone Resort
2 x Adult 2-day Lift Ticket
0% off $691

View all ski packages for Arapahoe Basin



Meet “the Legend.” If a ski resort is going to have a nickname like that, it’s got a lot to live up to - but believe me, Arapahoe Basin delivers! It’s been offering up some of the gnarliest big-mountain terrain in a part of the country known for white-knuckle skiing since 1946, after the site retired from its career as a defence contractor test site. Perched near the Continental Divide at Loveland Pass, its elevation helps give it a yearly average of 889 cm of snow and some of the longest ski seasons anywhere in North America, often lasting into late spring and early summer (and, at least once, into August!). It maintains a small “locals’ mountain” vibe, complete with quirky staff, less stringent policies (at least compared to Vail resorts) and a more laissez faire atmosphere.

17/18 Historical Snowfall

Best month to go

Mid-December to April

With its long season, it might seem like you could go to A-Basin almost any time. The snow is usually deep with good coverage for the majority of winter, from mid-December through April. Of course, that timeframe also includes some of the coldest months of the year in the highest of high country, so you’ll want to pack and layer accordingly if you visit from December through February. Arapahoe Basin doesn’t usually get too crowded, though like any resort it has times that are busier than others. These are typically over the Christmas / New Year’s holiday, the US federal holiday weekends in mid-January and mid-February, and spring break in March. During those times, you might see some crowding on the beginner and intermediate runs due to the simple fact there just aren’t many of them to begin with. That said, with its reputation for extreme terrain, it doesn’t really draw a lot of beginners and intermediates to begin with.


Denver International Airport


Arapahoe Basin (approx. 2.5 hours)

Base of Keystone (8-16 km)

  • Most skiers stay here as there is no lodging at A-Basin
  • Wide range of accommodation options
  • 15 minutes drive away

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Summit Cove (8-16 km)

  • Closest town to Arapahoe Basin
  • Wide range of vacation rentals
  • Quieter compared to Keystone

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Dillon/Silverthorne (16-24 km)

  • Both towns are around 20 mins drive away
  • Inexpensive lodging
  • Limited nightlife

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Frisco (24-32 km)

  • 25-30 minutes drive away
  • Inexpensive lodging; has many hotel and motel chains
  • Easy access to Breckenridge and Copper Mountain

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For beginners

Beginner terrain is limited here but if you must, the base area is a good learning area for beginners, with two magic carpets, the Molly Hogan Lift and a gentle slope for practising on. More experienced beginners can lap the greens off Black Mountain Express including the Wrangler, the longest green run here with wide and gentle turns through the trees.

More beginners tips

For intermediates

The resort has a handful of intermediate runs. You'll have a few good choices off Black Mountain Express we definitely think you should try out Larkspur and Columbine, two long groomed runs in the Montezuma bowl.

More intermediates tips

For experts

The advanced and expert runs are what Arapahoe basin is known for! Anything off the Pallavicini lift is great with steep trees, massive bumps, cliff drops, cornices and tight turns. This is how we'd tackle it: warm up on the Beach before heading up to the Pali Chair. From here try out the bumps on Pali Main Street and then duck into the Timber Glades when you're halfway down! Once you're out of there, weave through the boulders at Rock Garden and onto Poli Wog. 

More experts tips

Find freshies

Lap Pallavinci (Pali) until East Wall opens; then, dash over to the bowls in Land of the Giants and Lower East Wall. 

Ditch the crowds

You won't see many crowds at A-Basin, but if you do, it'll probably be around the Zuma Lift, which is the only chair on the backside, or perhaps The Montezuma Bowl and mid-mountain areas. 

Non skiers

Theres no tubing, sledding, heli or catskiing in Arapahoe Basin. There is the Frisco Adventure Park nearby, but Arapahoe basin is really all about the skiing and snowboarding.


For families of differing ability levels should lap the runs off Black Mountain Express which serves a range of greens, blues and black runs. Cheaper lift tickets here are a great bonus for families though bear in mind there is no accommodation or resort amentities here.

Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe BasinAspen Snowmass
beginner10 %-
intermediate30 %48 %
advanced37 %26 %
expert23 %26 %
total runs109 76
ski area388ha 273ha
summit elevation3,978m 3,418m
total lifts8 -
child lift ticketFree -
adult lift ticket$100 USD ($146 AUD) -
back country
value for money
average total snowfall457cm -

Save up to 33% when you book a Arapahoe Basin package!

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Arapahoe Basin Reviews

Very Good 4.2 / 5
based on 153 reviews

How well the resort caters for beginner skiers / boarders


How well the resort caters for intermediate skiers / boarders?


How well the resort caters for advanced skiers / boarders


How accessible and convenient it is to get to this resort from a major destination


Quality of the off-piste terrain


Overall value for money of the resort

Value for money

Quality of lifts, lift speed and lift layout in the resort


Quantity and quality of the snow


How uncrowded is the resort


Après ski and dining options


Services and facilities e.g. child care, tubing, health care, equipment hire


How family friendly is this resort?

Family Friendliness
Superb!4.6 / 5Nov 19, 2019
Arapahoe Basin ReviewsMarcy H.
expert skier
Fantastic family mountain, with lots of fun stuff going on. Runs for the all ability levels. The food and beverages at the bottom middle and top is fantastic. If you’re into bringing and cooking your own food it is very easy to do that as well. They offer lessons for all abilities and on site waxing/ edging & tuning very reasonable... More
Superb!5 / 5Nov 19, 2019
Arapahoe Basin ReviewsMike H.
expert skier
I love ‘A’ Basin! If you’re in Colorado you owe it to yourself to ski here. Skip the long lift lines at Vail and come here instead. Everyone including the staff is super laid back and friendly. It’s also cheaper then a lot of the other resorts in Colorado too. I guarantee you it will not disappoint.... More
Very Good!4.2 / 5Nov 19, 2019
Arapahoe Basin ReviewsCarin H.
expert skier
Best terrain. Once they figure out parking and what pass system works best for them, it will be perfect. The side country runs are steep and there’s some easy hike-to.... More
Very Good!4 / 5Nov 13, 2019
Arapahoe Basin Reviews'John R.
beginner snowboarder
Staff was very friendly and helpful. They even have happy hours 2-4 for 20$ for some part of the year. There is free parking in the upper lot or 20$ parking at the bottom.... More
Good!3.7 / 5Nov 13, 2019
Arapahoe Basin ReviewsChristopher M.
expert skier
One of the first ski areas to open every season, and usually the last to close, A-Basin is a local favorite. With some of the most extreme in-bounds skiing around, and arguably the best bloody marys, it should be high on a ski bum's bucket list.... More
Fabulous!4.5 / 5Oct 09, 2019
Arapahoe Basin ReviewsJeff W.
expert skier
Arapahoe Basin is truly one of the world's finest ski areas for more advanced skiers. The terrain is amazing and you can find steep and deep, trees or even some groomers. Located on the continental divide in Colorado A-Basins season starts early and runs into June! If you are on Ikon and planning a ski trip to Colorado do your self a favor and... More
Fabulous!4.3 / 5Oct 09, 2019
Arapahoe Basin ReviewsJohn A.
intermediate skier
I love the early and late season skiing. An essential slope to visit. Start skiing in October and finish in July! July 4th on the beach was an amazing experience.... More
Superb!5 / 5Sep 30, 2019
Arapahoe Basin ReviewsMatt P.
intermediate snowboarder
Great! Had a lot of fun( catered to everyone out there and seemed like a great place to be: open late into the season and just kept trying to stay open... More
Good!3.8 / 5Sep 30, 2019
Arapahoe Basin ReviewsStephen P.
expert snowboarder
Great resort all around. Much more low key than the other summit county resorts in the area. terrain and snow quality it top for the area. Recently there have been struggles with crowds, but hopfully that is in the past. the move away from the epic pass should really help this area.... More
Good!3.8 / 5Sep 26, 2019
Arapahoe Basin ReviewsNoah B.
intermediate snowboarder
Overall one of my favorite snowboard destinations. Lots of elevation and plenty of backcountry terrain make this a real value, but the bunny slopes are too small without enough slope for good family fun. There is also no lodging at the resort.... More

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