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Arapahoe Basin in Colorado Reopens for Skiing and Snowboarding

It fired up its lifts on Wednesday and people had to make reservations with only 600 allowed on the slopes. So many people have tried to book online that system was unable to cope.

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600 people turned out on Wednesday with three lifts open and 20 runs open.

It was a spring day with warm temperatures – slushy at the bottom but some decent snow at the top.

Most people though were just pleased to be skiing and snowboarding again after months of lockdown.

“Re-Opening Day was terrific. It has been a long 10+ weeks since the closure began. People were psyched to get out skiing and riding,” said the chief operating officer, Alan Henceroth, to PlanetSKI.

Skiers and snowboarders file into Arapahoe Basin Ski Area on a bluebird reopening day Wednesday morning with health and safety protocols in place amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. #ExploreSummit

Posted by Summit Daily News on Wednesday, 27 May 2020

The Colorado Sun newspaper quoted these people:

“It’s saving my life, prolonging it. Keeping me in a good frame of mind. I just wanted to get out in nature and feel the mountain’s energy again,” said 63-year old, Nick Manely.

“It’s been great,” Cara Pocano, a 25-year-old from Denver, said as she stood on the mountain’s windy summit. “It’s not crowded. It’s beautiful out here.”

It was though a very different experience with social distancing measures in place.

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

The state governor Jared Polis, even commented.

“If anybody’s been to A-Basin on a normal June skiing day or May skiing day, you know it’s a partylike environment at the base and even on the mountains. That’s not what this is,” Polis said.

“If you’re in it for the actual skiing, this could be for you. If you’re in it for the party and keggy keggers and hanging out and dancing, now is not the time.”

The reopening was so popular that the online system for booking crashed.

In the end tickets were handed out on a lottery basis.

“We knew it was going to be a lot of people and so we set the system up to be for a lot of people,” said the resort.

“And it was even more than a lot of people.”

A-Basin will allow skiers and snowboarders on its slopes for as long as it can, which in years past has been July 4 or later.

The resort will open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week.

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

And here is our report below as the reopening announcement was made earlier this week with full details of the measures taken:

A-Basin Set to Reopen

The reopening is being allowed after the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment granted Summit County a variance to the statewide safer-at-home order.

“We’re ready to take a step forward in the reactivation of Summit County’s amazing recreational opportunities, so we’re excited about receiving the go-ahead on alpine skiing,” said Summit County Public Health Director, Amy Wineland, in a written statement.

Some, though, question whether people should be travelling with the coronavirus still present.

“We will sell a very small number of lift tickets,” said the Chief Operating Officer, Alan Henceroth, in a message posted to the ski area’s website.

“Mostly this opening is for all of our pass holders.”

Re-Opening Wednesday, May 27, 2020

We have been given an extraordinary opportunity. We need to take this very seriously and we need to respect the guidance given by our Summit County and State of Colorado health officials. We have to open in a responsible way. We need everyone to help. 1. Skier numbers will be limited. RESERVATIONS WILL BE REQUIRED. DO NOT SHOW UP WITHOUT A RESERVATION. We will sell a very small number of lift tickets. The vast majority of the available space will be reserved at no cost for pass holders, including A-Basin only, A-Basin anyday, Ikon and Mountain Collective passes.. Not everyone will get the chance to ski every day.2. Tailgating and social gatherings will be prohibited. We can party next season. The re-opening is all about giving people a chance to ski and ride.3. Physical distancing will be strictly enforced. You will be required to wear a face mask in the base area, in the lift line, in restrooms and other places.Please Follow link for more detailed information on re-opening. https://www.arapahoebasin.com/may27-reopening

Posted by Arapahoe Basin Ski Area on Sunday, 24 May 2020

However, A-Basin’s online booking system appears to have been unable to cope with the demand as hopefuls attempted to buy tickets.

‪”We are very sorry for the delay in reservations,” the resort said on Facebook late on Monday.

“We ask for patience, there is extremely high demand and we are not sure when the reservation system will be back up and running. Please remember you can only reserve one day at a time. Tonight is only for Wednesday, May 27.”

The resort said it hoped to have online booking available by midday on Tuesday local time.

Here on PlanetSKI we reported on the possibility earlier, A-Basin still looking to reopen for skiing

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

  • Physical distancing will be enforced.
  • Guests must wear face coverings in designated areas
  • Tailgating will not be allowed.

The resort will open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.

A large portion of the ski area will be open, though beginners are asked to stay home.

Restrooms will be the only amenity available to those who visit the mountain.

Restaurants, shops and bars will be closed.

There will be no rental shops open.

“Lift lines have been redesigned to keep people 6 feet apart,” A-Basin said in statement.

“No one will be permitted to ride the lift with anyone not in their immediate party.”

“Lift speeds will be slowed on Pallavicini and Lenawee to remove the need for a staff member to bump chairs. You will not be scanned each time you load a lift.”

People who do not follow the rules will be asked to leave the resort.

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

Arapahoe Basin, Colorado

The majority of people commenting on the resort’s Facebook page seemed to approve of the decision to re-open, though there were a few exceptions.

Here is just a small selection of the comments.

Karen Bowen: Great work Al! We know this is going to get national attention in the ski world so let’s do this right! Follow the guidelines and work together to encourage others to do the same. Our behavior is a litmus test for all ski areas reopening next year. Let’s not let a small group of individuals ruin it for the majority following the rules. And let’s not give the state any reason to shut this down. Make this about WE, not ME! Stay safe and healthy and have fun!

Kristi Pohly:  This is AMAZING news!!

Bryan Lambert: And 10″+ of fresh on the day of the annoucement YEAH!!

Dave Paris:  Congratulations ? from up here in Montana!! Tear it up ⛷?

Glenn Morse: This is very patriotic, I think this is the best news I have heard since March 13th, being different and a leader of the industry is what the basin is all about, God bless America!

Mark Gerardy: While most guests will comply and follow the rules, almost certainly there is going to be some folks out there who believe that they have an alleged self-appointed right to disregard rules that they don’t agree with and pick and choose which rules that they want to follow. Might be a good idea to have a plan in-place to deal with non-compliance, if a plan is not in-place already. Laws and rules are not optional suggestions, they apply to everyone. Arapahoe Basin did a good job making this clear in-writing, hopefully there will be folks on-site who are trained to deal with situations involving noncompliance and can take care of business if necessary.

Many resorts will be watching closely to see how a social distancing ski resort will work.

For a look at what ski resorts might look like next winter take a look at this recent PlanetSKI story as we consider what may be on offer:

What might a ski holiday look like next winter.

Here on PlanetSKI we will be updating this article with further news from Arapahoe Basin.

Prior to the pandemic the resort was scheduled to close in early June.

Some years it has offered skiing and snowboarding into July.

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