A-Basin powder hounds await the Bowl
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY ” After years of planning, a busy summer of construction and an ad campaign that includes spots on CNN and bus boards in Denver and Boulder, all that’s lacking at Arapahoe Basin is a bit more snow.
A few more inches should be enough to finally open Montezuma Bowl, the new lift-served terrain on the south side of the mountain that has powder hounds champing at the bit.
“People have been asking if they can get in there before we open it,” said A-Basin spokesperson Leigh Hierholzer. “But we want to give everyone the same chance to get first tracks,” she said. “It’s going to be equal opportunity on opening day.”
The most recent storm fizzled somewhat before it reached Summit County, but just a few more waves of moisture could drop enough snow to open the new bowl in the next few days or weeks ” it all depends on the snow gods at this point.
Backcountry aficionados have long skied and snowboarded in Montezuma Bowl. But once the ski area developed it for lift-served skiing, it fell under the same restrictions as other inbounds terrain, only open when the ski area says so ” even on days when the avalanche danger is low.
Hierholzer said there are still some rocks that need to be covered up, and that snowcats have been working in the area to create a groomed trail to the bottom of the new lift. Another foot of snow would give grooming crews the raw material to do the job.
Along with the rest of A-Basin’s staff, Hierholzer is eager to get the new terrain open.
“It’s the biggest thing at A-Basin since 1946,” she said, referencing the year Summit County’s oldest ski area first opened.
The new $3 million lift, a fixed-grip quad, serves about 400 acres of new terrain, with 36 named trails. The chair climbs 1,100 vertical feet in nine minutes.
A committee of A-Basin staffers named most of the new runs, breaking them into three general categories: Flora and fauna, the history of the area, and after the founding fathers, Hierholzer said, adding that some of the runs already had pre-existing names.
Get the skinny on Montezuma Bowl at http://www.arapahoebasin.com.
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