Blue skies send off season at A-Basin | VailDaily.com

Blue skies send off season at A-Basin

Breeana Laughlin
blaughlin@summitdaily.com

SUMMIT COUNTY — Loyal and hardcore skiers and snowboarders returned to the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area this weekend for one last chance at winter fun.

The winter season was extended when A-Basin officials decided to reopen the mountain for the weekend.

Many snow enthusiasts wore bright colors and weren't afraid to show some skin at the Basin on Saturday. Pale white legs were a common sight as athletes bombed down the mountain in shorts yesterday. The conditions were definitely spring-like, and everyone was out to have a good time.

Dylan Winbourn made a road trip with his friends to A-Basin from Denver on Saturday.

"It's really boring in Denver sometimes and we need to escape our corporate lives and get into the mountains and let loose," he said.

Winbourn said he'd managed to visit the mountains 56 times over the course of the season.

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Adrienne Saia Isaac, A-Basin's marketing and communications manager, said she was excited to be working at the mountain, which opens first and stays open the longest.

"It's really nice we can keep it going for our guests who want to come out and ski and ride," she said. "Why close in April when you can ski in the summer?"

Saia Isaac said she wasn't surprised that people were still willing to come out to the mountain — even a week into June.

"There are people who get in a hundred visits a season over here," Saia Isaac said. "They are here on opening day. They are here on weekends. I see them in line on powder days. I see a lot of the same cars in the parking lot every day.

"It's pretty cool," she said. "It gets to be like a little family."

The springtime has been highlight of the year, A-Basin employees said. The mountain received a total of 307 inches of snow, including 71 inches in April and another 47 in May.

"It's been quite a season for us," said A-basin COO Alan Henceroth, who celebrated his 25th year at the mountain this year.

"We had a good early start. Then Mother Nature wasn't so kind to us," he said.

Luckily, things started to pick up in February he said, and it turned into an incredible late season.

"We had some days that are up there in that best ever category. It was a great, great finish to the year," Hencroth said.

Highlights at the mountain include Elsa Bailey retiring her ski boots with one last run on her 100th birthday. The mountain's Beacon Bowl raised more than $10,000 for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The Enduro Challenge benefit raised funds for a cause close to home, bringing in $13,000 for an A-basin employee and Summit local Jen Oliver who was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

"Not only are we helping the greater ski community and the local community with our outreach and fundraising, being able to help a member of our A-Basin family is something that I'm proud to be a part of," Saia Isaac said.