Dam Brewery in the New York Times
Published: December 11th, 2007
We know its only a mention, but we are happy to be in the New York Times. Thanks to Kristen Lee of A-Basin who likes to come to the Dam.
New York Times Ski Guide
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
By CINDY HIRSCHFELD
Published: December 7, 2007
Keystone, Colo.; (888) 272-7246; www.arapahoebasin.com
BLANKETED across a western portion of the Continental Divide, A-Basin, as the ski area is called by local residents, is a place of superlatives, but not in the high-speed six-pack lift, upscale amenities kind of way. It has North America‘s highest skiable terrain, allowing for one of the longest ski seasons in the country. Many expert runs, including the notorious moguls of Pallavacini ( map) and the scare-yourself-silly hike-to chutes of the Upper East Wall ( map), draw many of Colorado‘s diehard skiers. With most runs above tree line, A-Basin evokes a European resort, though your enjoyment of the high Alpine scenery may be tempered in midwinter by biting winds. Despite recent improvements — sprucing up the base lodge, opening an on-mountain restaurant — the 61-year-old ski area retains a vintage feel. A major expansion this winter into the 400-acre Montezuma Bowl increased the skiing terrain of the entire mountain by 80 percent.
Base facilities are limited to a retro A-frame lodge and a ski school/rental shop building. Keystone, seven miles west, is the nearest town and includes lodging, restaurants, bars and shops at the base of its own ski area.
Summit 13,050 feet
Vertical Drop 2,270 feet
Terrain 900 acres
Lifts 7: 1 quad, 2 triples, 3 doubles, 1 magic carpet
Price $45 for a full day; $58 after Dec. 15
Rentals $29 to $39 for skis, $35 for a snowboard
Average Season Dates Oct. 15 through June 1
BEST MORNING RUN Warm up your legs with high-speed cruising down Norway Face ( map), on the mountain’s sun-kissed upper reaches. If the altitude doesn’t take your breath away, the views will.
BEST AFTERNOON RUN Do igloo-size moguls, 42-degree slope angles and the sensation of free fall sound like fun? Then make tracks over to the Spine ( map), which is part of Pallavacini.
INSIDER’S TIP The morning line at the Exhibition triple chair ( map) can be daunting. Instead, ride the Pallavacini lift ( map), which gives you more vertical and lets you access the same runs. Then ski West Wall ( map), an intermediate run, to reach the lower mountain blues and greens off Exhibition.
FAMILY INFORMATION Children 5 and under ski free. But a child aged 6 to 14 can also ski free when you buy a full-price adult ticket. Full- and half-day ski lessons begin at the age of 3, snowboard at 5.
Breakfast There are chocolate-chip pancakes, huevos rancheros and breakfast burritos topped with green chile ($5 to $6) at the newly renovated Legend Cafe ( map) in the base area A-frame.
On-Mountain Dining The Black Mountain Lodge ( map), atop the Exhibition lift at midmountain, veers from typical fare with lunches like elk stew ($7.50) and Kobe beef burgers ($13).
Low-End, In-Town Dining For pub fare that ranges from sweet brown bratwurst ($7.95) to spinach asiago salad ($8.95), head for the Dillon Dam Brewery (100 Little Dam Street, Dillon; 970-262-7777; www.dambrewery.com), about 13 miles from the ski area.
High-End, In-Town Dining Keystone Ranch (1437 Summit County Road 150, Keystone; 970-496-4386; www.keystone.snow.com) sits in a restored 1930s homestead at the Keystone Ranch Golf Course. The restaurant offers six-course prix-fixe meals ($90) and a 500-plus-bottle wine list. Reservations are suggested.
Après-Ski The base-lodge Sixth Alley Bar ( map) is where skiers have gathered for decades to swap tales of landing cornice drops. (There are $3 Fat Tire ales and live music on Tuesdays.) In spring, the ski-in/ski-out tailgates in the slopeside parking lot, known as the Beach ( map), last through sunset.
Après Après-Ski A stalwart of Keystone night life, the Snake River Saloon (23074 Route 6, 970-468-2788; www.snakeriversaloon.com) is a wood-paneled ski-bum bar like they used to make ’em, with local funk and jam bands rocking out every weekend.
Frugal The 60-room Arapahoe Inn (22859 Route 6; 888-513-9009; www.arapahoeinn.com) offers no-frills lodging just a few miles from A-Basin and is even pet-friendly. A queen room, with refrigerator and microwave, runs from $99 to $139.
Not So Frugal Like the ski area itself, the Ski Tip Lodge (0764 Montezuma Road, Keystone; 970-496-4950) is high on charm and gratifyingly low on 21st-century accouterments. A former 1860s stagecoach stop, it was transformed into one of Colorado’s first ski lodges in the 1940s. The 10 antiques-furnished rooms, including full breakfast, range from $119 to $275 a night.