SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — There was finally a hint of normalcy when the chair lift kicked on at the base of Arapahoe Basin Ski & Snowboard Area Wednesday morning.
The slopes reopened for the 2019-2020 season with limited skiing and riding.
"I'm stoked," said one excited skier. "I usually come up every year for opening day. So this is my second opening day for the season."
Only a limited number of people are allowed to ski or ride on a daily basis, and those people will only be able to do so with a reservation.
The variance granted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says that A-Basin will be able to host a maximum of 600 skiers per day and that Summit County Public Health can adjust that number downward if proper requirements for distancing can’t be met.
"With only 600 people and three chairlifts running, I would anticipate a third of our guests are in the air," said Arapahoe Basin Director of Operations Tony Cammarata. "I don't think we are going to have a problem physically distancing people while they are in the lift lines."
Skiers and snowboarders will be required to wear a face covering whenever they cannot be at least six feet from other skiers and riders. No tailgating will be allowed, and staff will ask people to leave if they do not follow A-Basin’s guidelines, which the ski area says were developed along with the state and county health departments.
The ski area's reservation system was overwhelmed. Because of that, skiers and snowboarders are still required to reserve a spot on the slopes but a lottery will happen each day to determine who will actually be allowed on the mountain the following morning.
Lifts run starting at 8:30 a.m. and will stop running for the day at 3 p.m. Uphill access will be open from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. if people have uphill access passes. Skiers and riders are asked not to arrive before 7:30 a.m.
Arapahoe Basin asks that only experienced skiers take advantage of the spring conditions.