Apr 192005
Authors: Sarah Rawley

Although most ski resorts in Summit County closed for the season this past weekend, those looking to get in a few more turns can still rip it up at Arapahoe Basin.

Located 68 miles west of Denver, A-Basin, known as "The Legend," is traditionally the first ski resort to open in early November and the last to close in June, and has some of the highest skiable terrain on the continent at 13,050 feet.

During the 2004-2005 season, A-Basin was able to open on Oct. 22, eight days earlier than its previous "earliest opening ever" on Oct. 30, 2003.

A-Basin still has a 56-inch base this time of year.

"It's mainly our elevation and the direction that our slopes face that keep the snow good, and our Cat drivers are amazing," said Meisha Lawson, marketing coordinator for A-Basin.

A-Basin is known for its extreme terrain off the Pallavacini chair, hike-to terrain at Little Lenawee Peak, and an atmosphere that locals have flocked to for the past 58 years. During the late season it puts on several races, clinics and concerts.

"We encourage people to ski and come up when all the other resorts are shut down, and see how good the skiing is and enjoy the activities," said Leigh Hierholzer, director of marketing for A-Basin.

Josh Metton, a sophomore biological sciences major, is planning to compete for the cash prize in the third annual The Grind, an uphill race climbing 2,000 vertical feet to Little Lenawee Peak, and ski or ride down the double-black diamond North Pole and the Lower East Wall.

"It's going to be a physical challenge and really tough, but a good feeling to summit a mountain you usually ride up on the lift to," Metton said.

The CSU Snowriders will also be bringing a party up to the slopes of A-Basin on April 23 for its annual Beach Blast celebration. For $25, skiers and boarders can get up to the slopes on a coach-style bus and food and drinks all day.

"It's going to be fun, because not only do we have the opportunity to ski one last time this season, we also get a chance to hang out and jam to music," said Madeline King, marketing officer for the Snowriders' upcoming year.

Although there are spring snow conditions, the snow coverage and conditions are adequate to get a few hours of skiing in during the day.

"The temperature is really good right now. We're 100 percent open. The best time to come is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.; the coverage is great," Hierholzer said.

The month of May is also filled with live music, partying and festivals with a concert series that offers free music every Saturday in the base area from 1 to 4 p.m.

The most popular event is one of the only off-hill events, the fourth annual Festival of the Brewpubs, Lawson said.

"College students love sampling from five local breweries in Summit County for one low price," Lawson said.

With the purchase a 14-ounce mug, there will be free samplings from Pug Ryan Brewery, Great Northern Tavern, Dillon Dam Brewery, Backcountry Brewery and Breckenridge Brewery. The Arnie J. Green Band will be providing free local entertainment in the base area.

A-Basin's anticipated closing date for the 2005 season is June 5. Bonus season passes are on sale for the 2005-2006 season for $239 and can be used for the remainder of the season at A-Basin.

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