Forest Service Acceptance Puts A-Basin On Expansion Course
Within a couple of years, the precipitous backcountry known as The Beavers may move inside the ropes at Arapahoe Basin.
Expansion into the 400-acre terrain is part of a larger master plan that recently got initial acceptance by White River National Forest officials. There’s still plenty of work to be done, chief operating officer Alan Henceroth told SnoCountry.com.
“Our master plan has been accepted by the Forest Service, which means our proposal meets all the laws and regulations that pertain,” Henceroth said. “Now we go into the approval stage.”
That stage is controlled by NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) and includes reviews of the environmental impacts of each portion of the resort’s master plan.
In addition to The Beavers expansion with a new chairlift, A-Basin officials also want to increase snowmaking capacity and flexibility with a storage reservoir, possibly up on the mountain, Henceroth said.
The famed Pallavacini chairlift is slated for a replacement lift to feed skiers and snowboarders onto its black-diamond runs; a new, short surface lift is planned to ease access from the top of the Montezuma Bowl to the front side; and, a new zipline rounds out the improvements in the plan.
“We’re gearing up to likely do the NEPA process for the entire project, rather than one at a time,” Henceroth said. “Discussions now seem to center on putting it all in one EIS (Environmental Impact Statement). That will take a couple of years to complete.”
The Summit County resort touts itself as having the highest lift-served terrain in North America. Its summit sits atop the Continental Divide at 13,050 feet, and half of the terrain is above the treeline.
Graphic: Arapahoe Basin