Uphill Access at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

The days are getting longer as we get closer to spring. This means more daylight to work with in the afternoon and the potential for Front Range skiers to access Arapahoe Basin for an afternoon uphill tour. For most of the winter these skiers have been confined to uphill ski area tours in the darkness. The time change has not happened yet, but there is already enough evening in early March to enjoy the alpenglow during an afternoon tour at the Basin. In fact, you might be able to get out of work in time to get to the Basin to train for this spring’s Alpenglow Ascents Rando Challenge!


Arapahoe Basin was an early uphill advocate and leader amongst the Summit County ski areas. Outside of the ski area’s operating hours, and if the mountain is officially open for uphill access, skiers are free to climb up the varying ski terrain on the mountain. Uphill skiers are considered skiers under the Colorado Skier Safety Act and still need to observe the rules of the ski area. For example: you are accessing the terrain at your own risk, closed terrain is off limits, you cannot duck ropes, the terrain parks are off limits, etc.

The “Terrain Status” page on the Basin’s website is where you can learn if the uphill access is open or closed. It is also where you can find all the details and the mountain’s uphill policy. You are required to have a complimentary uphill access pass. This pass is available at the Season Pass Office during operational hours.

During operating hours the uphill access is restricted to the eastern edge of High Noon between the Base Area and Black Mountain Lodge. This is about 650 vertical feet of climbing, and it is clearly marked with “Uphill Access Route” signs. Outside of operating hours a popular route is to climb High Noon to the Black Mountain Lodge, and then follow Decrum’s Gulch up the valley to the top of Lenawee Mountain Lift via Humbug or Lenawee Face. This route is approximately 1,560 vertical feet and 1.65 miles long.

One great benefit of the uphill access at A-Basin is that the ski patrol hut next to the top of Lenawee Mountain Lift is open at all times. This is a warm and dry place to hide from the wind and transition to downhill mode.

Finally, the extended daylight hours also signals the start of A-Basin’s Alpenglow Ascents Rando Challenge. 2016 marks the 3rd annual springtime event that starts and finishes in the Base Area while summiting near 12,472’. There are two Rando Challenges this spring on Saturday, March 12 and Saturday, April 9. You can find out more information on the course and register at the Arapahoe Basin Event Calendar.

Touring up A-Basin in the afternoon light.

Touring up A-Basin in the afternoon light.