Behind the Scenes of a Legendary Closing Weekend at Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

Behind the Scenes of a Legendary Closing Weekend at Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

All Images: Lucas Herbert, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Closing day hits differently at 12,000 feet above sea level. As is the case at the one and only Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. The Legend, as it’s known far and wide, closed out winter 2023/24 this past weekend. They called it after operating for 222 days. From October 29th until June 16th A-Basin brought pow days, Pali laps and of course, Black Mountain Lodge BBQ pulled pork sandwiches to skiers from all over the Centennial State.

With most of the resort positioned at an elevation above 10,000 feet, the weather can be a gamble this time of year. Thunderstorms are a near guarantee in the afternoon, and clouds can come rolling in at any time from the adjacent sections of the Rocky Mountains. But thanks to Ullr’s good graces, The Basin was treated to sunshine and blue skies during its final hoorah this past weekend.

Lake Reveal boasts a natural pond skim at an elevation of 11,000 ft. That’s something you don’t see everyday.
Don’t f*ck it up! Some make it, others tumble into the slush. Can you spot the unlucky few?

To access the remaining terrain, slush-seeking skiers had to ascend Black Mountain Express from the base of the mountain. Taking a left off the chair brought riders face to face with Black Mountain and the subsequently named Lodge. Here, you could pause for food and drink under the June sun or head down to Lenawee Lift and head upwards. A ride on Lenawee is an incredible sight as you’re carried beneath the colossal East Wall. It’s an experience that will calm the most stressed minds and simultaneously invigorate the intrepid skier. Once at the top, you’re treated to an immaculate view of the Rocky Mountains, stretching far beyond the I-70 corridor.

Head down to Dercum’s Gulch, named after ski pioneer Edna Dercum, and you’ll find Lake Reveal. She would no doubt be impressed with the brave riders risking their physical and mental pride as they rip across the water under Lenawee Lift. Have a look at the photo above for a full view of the action. With patrol at the ready, the inevitable tumble is no worry. If you didn’t take the gamble this year we highly recommend checking that one off your bucket list in the future. Aside from being one of the most scenic pond skim offerings we’ve ever seen, it’s also one of the few at a major resort that does not require registration. Once safely passed the lake, skiers wound their way back down to Black Mountain Lodge and onto High Noon; the beautiful strip of skiing featured below.

The last strip of snow meanders down to the 6th Alley Bar & Grill.

A-Basin had a stellar 23/24 season in every sense. While it was a slow start in terms of snowfall, things picked up after December. “From the January storm cycles to a near perfect East Wall hiking season to many Spring storms, this season was very special for me,” said Chief Operating Office Alan Henceroth. “This incredible mountain and its staff and guests have come together to create a culture that is hard to find elsewhere. Thanks to all of you for creating another phenomenal season at The Basin.” There were many highlights for The Legend other than the pow days, including their ahead-of-schedule carbon neutrality achievement and the extended ski season.

Of course, one of the biggest announcements this year came in February, as Alterra Mountain Company’s announced intent to acquire Arapahoe Basin and entered into a deal with Dream Unlimited Corporation, the resort’s previous owners. Alterra is the parent company of the globally known Ikon Pass, and while nothing out of the ordinary in terms of management, employees, or general culture is set to change due to the deal, much is still up in the air.

Dream has built an industry-leading resort over the last two and a half decades at A-Basin, and it’s hard to see them go amidst so much uncertainty. That being said, Henceroth’s comments translated into nothing but trust. “It has been a wild and fun 27 years [with Dream], but it is time for the next step,” he said in a blog post from February 5th, 2024. “[Alterra] knows and understands The Basin and is enamored by its culture and vibe. I think they are the best team to help us through our next phase of growth and maturation. I want all of you to know that my commitment to running the best mountain in the business, focused on our unique guest experience and our passionate and dedicated employees, will be greater than ever.” Henceroth is beloved and trusted by the local community, and has been an integral part in building the Arapahoe Basin that many know and love today. His words should be taken in good faith as this next phase begins.

Party on Wayne, party on. See you next season at The Basin!

Like many mountains, A-Basin is now shifting into summer mode starting on June 28th. They certainly aren’t slowing down, with summer operations including trail running, scenic lift rides and wildflower hikes, the famed 20 hole disc golf course, Summer Beer Fest and of course the recently constructed East Wall via ferrata climbing route, (the tallest in North America). Thanks to all the staff at The Basin for continuing to curate one of the most genuine and unique locations in all of skiing. We hope to see you up there soon!

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