Skiers swarm A-Basin, marking new record

Two major names in skiing have released their season passes. Photo by Casey Day, courtesy of Arapahoe Basin.

Arapahoe Basin brought in a record number of skiers this weekend. Photo by Casey Day, courtesy of Arapahoe Basin.

It sure helps when you’re the last ski mountain standing.

Arapahoe Basin set a new record for skiers on Sunday.

“It’s the busiest day we’ve had at A-Basin on the books,” said Leigh Hierholzer, the ski area’s director of marketing. “It was quite a bit higher than our second-busiest day.”

Hierholzer said Sunday was 15 percent busier than the previous record day, April 24, 2010.

Those records go back to 1997, when Vail Resorts was ordered by the Justice Department to sell Arapahoe Basin to Dundee Resort Development in an anti-monopoly action.

“We had 14 inches of snow in the last three days, and we had 21 inches of snow in the last six days,” Hierholzer said. “Between the snowfall, the other ski areas being closed, the majority of the terrain being opened and being a weekend, it ended up as a high-volume day.”

Hierholzer declined to comment on the number of visitors to the mountain, citing company policy. But waits in lift lines exceeded half an hour, and some visitors were forced to park along US-6 and ski down Loveland Pass as the parking lots filled before 9 a.m.

The high number of visitors likely won’t be matched anytime soon, even if Arapahoe Basin’s expansion plan, “the Beavers,” is approved by the Forest Service.

“I think that this is a really special event,” Hierholzer said. “I think that the additional terrain will add skier visits, but not to this extent.”

This week is expected to bring between 2 and 4 more inches of snow to Arapahoe Basin, according to ski report website Opensnow.com.

The ski area plans on closing June 7.

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