Arapahoe Basin Opening Day 2011-12

Thursday was my second opening day for a ski area in under one week. Pretty sweet to able to check out the first two openings in the state, I have only ever attended one opening day prior to this year.

Traditionally, here in Colorado Arapahoe Basin or Loveland are the first to open, and when they open, they stay open and are two the last to close. Matter of fact, last year A-Basin opened in mid-October, one day behind Loveland, and didn’t close until July 4th! They were closed merely 100 days before opening up for this season. And from what I saw, that didn’t have anyone down, not skiers and riders, and certainly not the A-Basin employees.

Given given A-Basin’s location in Summit County and inclusion on the Vail Resorts Colorado Pass or EPIC Local pass or whatever the heck they are calling it these days there was a very anxious crowd lined up for first chair.

crowd black mountain express

While many people awaited first chair, just as many people, or so it seemed, waited in line to get a mug from the 6th Alley Bar at the base of the mountain. Basically, they only sell a limited number of these mugs on opening day and mug holders get a discount on every beer they purchase for the rest of the season, and given that they could be open for more than 150 days, that could be a huge savings on beer. Regardless, it’s pretty exclusive to be in the “mug club,” but I wouldn’t know 😉

Just as exciting and crowded, was our tent with plenty of doughnuts, silly bandz, and brochures to go around.


It is a tradition for us to bring powdered doughnuts to hand out on opening day. Get it? Powder doughnuts. It is much harder than expected to give away free doughnuts. Interestingly though, if you just leave them for a minute or even step five feet away, people dart in and snag one. Weird.I would kind of be interested in studying the psychology of that.

powdered donuts

After first chair was loaded and pictures of the crowds skiing the one open run were snapped, it was inside to work. A repeat of the previous Saturday – snow reports, e-blasts, website updates, and press releases.

High Noon ABasin

Finally, my co-workers and I were able to get out for a couple of runs. It was a warm, sunny, day. I could have mistaken it for spring skiing except there weren’t any bikinis or grills out, a springtime must at A-Basin.

steph, greg, jake, abasin opening

Although the lift line looked long, the speedy new (last year) Black Mountain Express made it go by quickly, it was probably a 10-15 minute wait. It was pretty consistent throughout the day as well, I thought would dwindle, but it did not.

crowd midday

And a few runs later, that was that. Another opening day under my belt skis. Back in the car, over the pass, and into what seemed like full on summertime in Denver. If I hadn’t been so dang tired, I would have mountain biked that night, Evan did, I just couldn’t drag myself up from my late afternoon nap in time. Bummer.

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