At Arapahoe Basin, The Beavers Get a Lift

Tower 12 of A Basin’s new Beavers lift will soon be flown to this foundation with a view.

Steep chutes, natural glades, a couple cruiser trails and wide open faces.  When Arapahoe Basin drops the ropes on The Beavers this year, there will be something for everyone.  Just under 350 new acres make it the largest lift-served terrain expansion on the continent for 2018-19, ahead of Mt. Spokane’s backside development and Hunter North.  The Beavers debuted for an earn-your-turns preview last season along with the Steep Gullies, totaling 468 acres of new terrain.  Installation of a Leitner-Poma fixed-grip quad chair, the Basin’s sixth chairlift, was in high gear when I stopped by yesterday.


Topping out at 12,475′, The Beavers drainage is beyond beautiful and A Basin is taking great care to implement the project with as little disturbance as possible.  The quad drive terminal is the closest you can get by road and dozens of workers are readying the expansion by foot, helicopter and spider excavator.  Arapahoe Basin opted to do the development carefully over two years rather than rushing it in one, and it shows.  The two blue trails were traditionally cut while the rest of the new stuff is either above tree line or was thinned by hand.

After Montezuma Bowl opened on the backside in 2007, The Beavers became a logical place for a third summit lift.  COO Al Henceroth told me the sizes and capacities of the frontside Lenawee, backside Zuma and now Beavers lifts are all roughly the same, creating what he thinks will be a nice balance on the upper mountain (the Norway double was removed last spring.)  The Beavers will offer the most vertical at the ski area – 1,501 feet – even more than Pallavicini.  Length is almost identical to Zuma and Lenawee at 4,123′.  Capacity will be 1,800 skiers per hour with 9.2 minutes to rest your legs between runs.  There are 15 towers and 138 chairs in the parking lot waiting to head up the mountain.

Trail work in The Beavers will likely continue past Arapahoe Basin’s High Noon opener and the goal is to have the lift load tested in October.  Al thinks the new quad could become the most-ridden lift at The Legend.



6 thoughts on “At Arapahoe Basin, The Beavers Get a Lift

  1. Collin September 15, 2018 / 10:36 am

    Why did they take out the Norway lift? It served a very important purpose of providing direct summit access from the top of the high speed quad. Now you have to ski down to Lenawee after riding it or take Pallavicini to get into the expansion.


    • Camnoger September 15, 2018 / 8:58 pm

      Apparently it was because it wasn’t needed to run as Lenawee would suffice.


      • Resolve.Action.Love (@Snowman55403) September 15, 2018 / 9:58 pm

        I talked to Al about this at the final Forest Service open house a few years ago. Norway was old. Maintenance challenges were increasing. And the number of days per season in use were pretty low, and expected to drop quite a bit with the Beavers opening (the new terrain should open before Zuma in pretty much any imaginable snow year with the more northerly exposure).

        I’m bummed – I liked the Norway lift, particularly when some of the terrain below and skier’s left of the patrol hut is going off after a nice dump. But they made their case to the USFS and here we are.

        I hope he’s correct about how we’ll all spread around the mountain on busy days (note: he also argues that the ski area is pretty much parking constrained now. That frontside lift lines can’t get much longer because on busy days they’re maxed at peak hours, turning people away because of that not lift lines).


  2. Patrick September 16, 2018 / 3:10 am

    I pulled out an A-Basin map from 2005-2006 to compare… they claimed 490 skiable acres then. Now at 1,428 acres, that means its size has almost tripled over the past 13 years. Pretty impressive!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. William Clifford September 16, 2018 / 8:43 am

    I love this place. This is a skiers paradise. Not for the faint of heart though. It will challenge you like no other. The best part are the people who work there. Salt of the earth ski and snowboard lovers themselves. The Legend is not just a nickname for this moniker was truly earned. Counting the minutes till I can go back.

    Liked by 1 person

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