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Epic Pass, A-Basin Partnership to End After 18/19 Ski Season

19th April 2019 | Heather B. Fried

News Regions: Colorado, Rocky Mountains

Resorts in this article: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Breckenridge, Keystone

Arapahoe Basin ski area opens new a new lift and terrain for the 18/19 ski season.

Arapahoe Basin ski area opens new a new lift and terrain for the 18/19 ski season.

Copyright: Dave Camara

After a 20 plus year partnership that provided Epic season pass holders access to Arapahoe Basin—a Colorado ski area know for its steep terrain, endless ski season, and fun, locals vibe—Vail Resorts and A-Basin will part ways. In an announcement made Monday morning, A-Basin cited "a pinch on parking and facility space" as a constraint that influenced the decision not to renew the pass partnership. 

On the Epic side of the equation, Vail Resorts will continue to provide pass holders the value of an extended ski season through an upgrade in Keystone's snowmaking technology to a "state-of-the-art, automated, energy-efficient" system that will put the mountain in the running for first to open in the state and country. The company also announced that Breckenridge will plan to stay open into May and Memorial Day this and future ski seasons, weather and conditions permitting. 

This news has no impact on the current ski season's pass access, but for next season, Vail Resorts will be introducing a new offering: the Keystone Plus Pass providing skiing and riding at Keystone (with holiday restrictions), unlimited late spring skiing at Breckenridge after April 1, and five days at Crested Butte (with holiday restrictions) at a starting price of $369 for adults and $259 for kids. 

“We want to thank Arapahoe Basin for their partnership for over 20 years," said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer for Vail Resorts. "We are disappointed, but given the success they have had and their recent investments into the resort, we respect that this is the right time for them to move in a different direction.”

A new perspective at Arapahoe Basin for the 18/19 ski season.  - © Dave Camara

A new perspective at Arapahoe Basin for the 18/19 ski season.

Copyright: Dave Camara

As for the Burning Question: What's Next for Arapahoe Basin?* 

At this time, there are no new partnerships to announce. In the coming months the ski area will be discussing opportunities with several resorts and resort groups. Skiers and riders that call A-Basin home can feel good knowing the resort will still offer tremendous value and exceptional mountain experiences. These actions are designed to preserve that special culture and vibe people expect when they choose to spend a day at The Basin. The future for Arapahoe Basin is very bright. 
*April 2019 Update: Still exploring potential pass partnerships, A-Basin announced it will be the exclusive provider of its own unlimited skiing for the 2019/2020 ski season. Arapahoe Basin's 19/20 full season pass starts at $399 for adults. Any other season pass partnerships that materializes between now and next season will offer A-Basin skiing on a limited basis only. 

Over the last 15 years, A-Basin has invested 40 million dollars—most recently expanding its boundary and installing a new chairlift for the Beavers and Steep Gullies terrain—and has seen growth in popularity and skier visitation accordingly. In an effort to temper the limited parking/high-volume situation and encourage carpooling or bus riding, the mountain introduced a plan mid season whereby its closest 10 percent of parking (the eastern 200 spaces in Early Riser Lot) is now being offered for $20 or free to vehicles of four or more passengers on weekends and holidays. 

"The paid/carpool plan has definitely helped," remarked Alan Henceroth, Arapahoe Basin's chief operating officer. "Typically, 60-70 percent of the people using that lot are carpoolers. That means more people get a parking spot. There is less shuttling. It is good all around."

As for how the parking and facility challenges will improve with the potential of another pass partner in its future, Henceroth had this to say: "In the coming months, we will be meeting with other resorts and resort companies. Not all potential partners are the same size. There could be an opportunity to have a partner that sells far fewer season passes creating a smaller impact on facilities, including parking." 

Wherever A-Basin lands, Colorado skiers and riders can count on a longer ski season across the state and more skiing (and parking) for all. 


A-Basin ski area upgrades - © Dave Camara
Keystone powder mid December 2016 - © Mackenzie Russo
Breckenridge Ski Resort 2/17 - © Breckenridge Ski Resort
The Steep Gullies extreme terrain at Arapahoe Basin ski area - © Liam Doran

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