On August 4th the preliminary approval for Arapahoe Basin’s expansion proposal was announced, kicking off a 45-day objection period. So long as no new obstacles appear, the ski resort will then begin its expansion and complete changes by the 2018-2019 season.
The resort’s expansion plans, which were proposed in 2012, include the following:
- Bringing the backcountry terrain known as the Beavers into the resort’s management, allowing for ski patrol and avalanche mitigation. This area has gained popularity in recent years, elevating from 200 annual visitors to 2,000. Resort personnel have been monitoring the area, but not participating in its upkeep. Bringing the territory in-bounds will increase the safety of the steep area that is often accessed by skiers who are not of an expert level to be there.
- Removing the Norway Lift, which provides access to the same terrain as the Lenawee Mountain Chair – eliminating a need for two.
- The replacement of the Pali and Molly Hogan chairlifts with newer lifts of the same capacity.
- A new challenge course with varying levels of difficulty and both ground-based and elevated obstacles, including tree islands, steel structures, and poles.
- A three-hour canopy tour for the summertime that will transport guests through thirteen towers with nine interconnected zip lines while also incorporating hiking paths, bridges, interpretive and education elements.
Arapahoe Basin’s expansion will not only serve the purpose to elevate guest experience and improve skier safety, but will also provide 43 new jobs for county residents. Employment will be both seasonal and year-round, adding to the 60 year-round positions the resort already provides.
Scott Fitzwilliams, White River National Forest’s manager said that it’s time to move a project along “that enhances both summer and winter opportunities and has the potential to connect more people to national forest lands in a confined and developed area.”