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Beloved CO Mountain Finally Caves, Will Charge Visitors to Park in 2024

No more free parking at Arapahoe Basin on busy days. Starting in the 2024/25 season, all weekends and holidays will require a reservation and cost $20.

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Arapahoe Basin will start charging for all parking lots for the first time. Every lot at the Colorado resort will now be $20 (at least) per vehicle on weekends and holidays, and reservations will be required.

Last year, Alterra Mountain Company, owner of the Ikon Pass and Aspen Mountain, and the primary competitor to the Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass entered into a purchase agreement with the Arapahoe Basin’s current owner, Dream. It assured the media and its customers that despite the corporate acquisition, it planned to retain the local ski area’s “soul.”

Counterintuitively, Arapahoe Basin hopes to deliver on that promise with this new paid parking policy. The ski area says it’s doing this to improve its guest experience.

“The number one reason we’re doing this is to keep the guest experience really special. And that includes the arrival experience,” Arapahoe Basin’s Chief Operating Officer Alan Henceroth told GearJunkie. “Nobody enjoys getting turned away. Nobody enjoys having to wait in line for an hour out on the highway. So we’re really trying to take away those problems and really focus on the quality of the ski experience.”

$20 Per Vehicle, Reservations Required

The old Pallavicini ‘Pali’ lift at Arapahoe Basin; (photo/A Basin)

There are four main lots at Arapahoe Basin, with roughly 1,750 parking spots, which can accommodate roughly 18,000 visitors. Before the Alterra acquisition, the resort had plans to add another 350 spots for this coming season. But still, it anticipated parking problems.

As Henceroth explained in his blog, parking has always been a “pinch point” for this resort. It was part of why Arapahoe Basin left Vail Resorts in February 2019. Getting a parking spot was becoming increasingly challenging with Vail’s crowds, no matter how early skiers arrived.

“This has nothing to do with Alterra or the Ikon Pass,” Henceroth clarified. “We are doing this to take care of the guest experience at Arapahoe Basin.”

He told GearJunkie that, in fact, the ski area had been contemplating implementing paid parking for several seasons before this.

“We just reached a point this year where we decided it was time,” he said.

Going forward, it will now cost $20 per day to park in any of the lots on weekends and holidays until 1 p.m. from early December to mid-May. The ski area is also implementing a parking reservation system for weekends and holidays.

“There is no doubt that requiring reservations will take away some of the spontaneity of skiing,” Henceroth wrote. “That spontaneity, however, can be a major contributor to parking problems, especially on powder days.”

Henceroth said the reservation system is meant to take away a lot of the anxiety and concern people feel about getting a spot when they want to go ski. Reservations will be required for everyone.

However, Arapahoe Basin will also offer a limited number of season parking passes. Those will be available for $150.

Arapahoe Basin said it is still working to figure out exactly how the parking system will be implemented and through which parking vendor. However, it said it will post updates on its website to answer questions like how to make a reservation, how many reservations one can make for a day, and how this change will affect uphill access.

The resort notes on its parking page that no camping or overnight parking is allowed. Gates for the parking lots open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 6:00 p.m. And no glass, charcoal grills, open fires, live bands, DJs, hot tubs, “or pet dragons” are allowed. However, dogs are still welcome if leashed.

Beavers Loop Mountain Bike Trail at Arapahoe Basin; (photo/Will Brendza)

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