Arapahoe Basin receives approval for expansion, three new chairlifts

Arapahoe Basin receives approval for expansion, three new chairlifts

After receiving an initial endorsement from the White River National Forest (WRNF) in August, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (A-Basin) has been given approval from the WRNF for a 338-acre expansion. The new “Beaver Lift” will access “The Beavers” and “Steep Gullies,” lift-accessed backcountry zones popular among A-Basin locals.


The Beavers and Steep Gullies zones. Photo: Hal Hartman for Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Pallavicini—one of Colorado’s renowned steep-skiing lifts—and Molly Hogan will both be replaced, while the Norway double chair will be removed. Because Norway accesses the same terrain as the Lewanee triple, and at a fraction of the speed, keeping the lift running doesn’t make sense from the resort’s point of view.


A-Basin’s expansion blueprint

The expansion will increase A-Basin’s total acreage from 958 to 1,296 and, according to liftblog.com, the chair will be a fixed-grip triple or quad with an hourly capacity of 1,800 skiers and top elevation of 12,462 feet. The Beavers is expected to be finished by the 2018-19 ski season, with the replacement of Molly Hogan and Pallavicini coming after that. While the lifts will access some truly stellar terrain, which will be monitored by A-Basin ski patrol for safety, it remains to be seen how the local backcountry skiing community will react to some of Summit County’s easily accessible out-of-bounds zones being made part of the ski area.

Related: White River National Forest gives initial endorsement of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area expansion

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