Skiers rejoice. At least one of Colorado’s beloved ski areas can offer some much-missed skiing — for at least a few more days.
The state of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has granted a variance approval for a partial reopening of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (A-Basin) for late-season skiing, effective on Wednesday, May 27.
This was the only variance request from Summit County that was approved by the state, offering economic relief from the safer-at-home guidelines put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic known as COVID-19. Summit County’s requests to reopen short-term rentals and dine-in services at local restaurants were denied.
Arapahoe Basin, along with all Colorado ski resorts were closed by an order of Governor Jared Polis in March at the height of the spring break season due to the spread of COVID-19.
Summit County’s variance denials run at odds with surrounding counties. Chaffee County’s COVID-19 variance request was granted last Thursday, May 21 to open campgrounds, RV parks, restaurants and tasting rooms, all meeting strict social distancing and facemasks requirements. Fremont and Lake County’s variance requests were approved with social distancing limitations.
The variance for A-Basin to reopen allows the ski area to host a maximum of 600 skiers per day. If physical distancing requirements aren’t met in any location, then Summit County Public Health may adjust this number, including parking lots and base areas. Skiers must register through an online reservation system and reservations will be able to be made at 7 p.m. 36 hours in advance of the intended ski day, with reservations opening at 7 p.m. Monday, May 25.
A-Basin, famous for what it calls its “ultra-local vibe” typically hosts skiing into early June. With last year’s epic snow — A-Basin says it had its shortest off-season ever.
“There are a lot of people that are very excited to get back on the hill and back to do some skiing,” said A-Basin COO Alan Henceroth to the Summit Daily News. “This is going to be a very different setup and will take all of us awhile to get used to it.”
Those with reservations for a certain day must bring a printed confirmation and valid ID. Guests will be asked to show reservation confirmation before entering the parking lot.