Arapahoe Basin ski area nearly doubled its downhill terrain for this season after what it calls the largest summer expansion project anywhere in the United States.
The project created “Montezuma Bowl” already nicknamed “Zuma Bowl” by the locals. The expansion comes six decades after A Basin first welcomed skiers.
A total of 36 new runs make up the new bowl.
“You can ski on a groomed run from top to bottom down Montezuma Bowl and experience that backcountry feel because you’re pretty far back there and there’s not a lot of people around,” said Leigh Hierholzer, A-Basin marketing director.
The bowl offers a variety of terrain as well.
“A little bit of everything from blue intermediate groomers to some double black extreme terrain,” he said.
And it has plenty of history buried under all the snow. “Little shacks that have some old glass bottles, some cookware, some stoves around it. There was a lot of mining strips back here in the Zuma Bowl,” said ski patroller Tony Cammarata. “Everyone looking for their piece of the gold and silver.”
Another attraction for the hard-core skier will be the wind. “When we get into our predominant, north, northwest winds, it loads in well. That’s going to be part of the appeal of skiing back there is even if we get 3 or 4 inches of snow, the winds could make it seem like a knee-deep or waist-deep day,” said Cammarata.
It’s not just the runs that are new at Arapahoe Basin. The new Black Mountain Lodge offers a restaurant with a view of the Continental Divide.
But A-Basin may also be one ski area proving the old adage, the more things change the more they stay the same.
“This mountain, the tradition, lives on. It’s got that same small feeling. We still have that same vibe, that same feeling and we are very conscientious to keep it here,” Hierholzer said.