by: joe castelli - 1st September 2008

  • 4
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 4All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 3Family Friendly
  • 2Nightlife
  • Terrain Park
  • Value
open in June!!
rustic (if that's a con...)

Full review

We made a spur of the moment trip to Arapahoe Basin as an end of school year surprise for my kids. We weren't sure if there would actually be snow or not, but the lodging was so cheap in Keystone (less than $100/night) that we figured even if we didn't ski it would be a fun mountain get-away. Lift tickets were a bargain too as my two kids skied free with the purchase of lift tickets for my wife and me. Well there was snow, and a pretty good amount of it! About a third of the mountain was open, all on the front side and mostly the beginner and intermediate slopes (in fact, only one advanced run was open due to snow conditions). What was open was plenty of wide open beginner slopes, and some pretty nice bowl skiing on intermediate runs at the top. We hit the slopes early, and they were a little icy at first, then perfect for a few hours before getting slushy after 2 or 2:30. Temps were balmy, and by afternoon, short sleeves were all that we needed - some skiiers were in shorts and bikini tops! Another thing I was concerned about was that the mountain would be too tough for my family (wife and 2 daughters under 10). They all learned to ski earlier in the season, so I was worried the terrain would be too steep based on the reputation A-basin has with serious skiiers. Overall, the mountain did ski a little tougher than Breck, but there were some nice wide greens to get warmed up on, then some slightly steeper greens and easy blues to tune up on before heading to the top of the mountain for some of the tougher blue slopes in a beautiful open bowl with incredible views. There was plenty of things for us to ski for the three days we were there. I gave the average rating for family friendly because this is truly a skiiers mountain - we were merely lucky enough to be enjoying it when most people we know are headed to the beach! The lifts were a little fast for the kids, and we had some fiascos with getting on the lift the first couple of times. After the lifties started to recognize us they were friendly enough though, and would slow it down while we got on board. Apres ski here is different from most places I have skiied. A bunch of locals were there at "The Beach," grilling out in the parking lot like a massive pre-game tailgating party. I'm sure it was a blast to be part of it. For us, we enjoyed sitting out on a wood deck enjoying drinks from the bar at the end of the day, watching the skiiers come in for the day to join the party. Everything at Keystone was boarded up like a ghost town as the timing of our trip was really between seasons for that resort, so it is difficult for me to say as we didn't have a true flavor of the nightlife. Overall, we had a great trip and would do it again. After all, we stood on top of a mountain of snow on June 2nd, and made our last run of the season - swishing our way into summertime.
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