Headline: Endless season at A-Basin | VailDaily.com
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Headline: Endless season at A-Basin

Matt Zalaznick

But unless you live in a yurt at the top of Loveland Pass, you’ll probably have to skip the kayak.

Of course, there are a few pioneers in the bi-county area who are thinking of sparking the next big recreation craze – kayaking in boats still strapped to the roofs of SUVs tearing up and down Interstate 70. …

“Arriving at the parking lot, it’s kind of like a tailgate party,” says Jacques Schlumberger, a skier from Healdsburg, Calif., who was encountered “riding the Basin” this week.

“The weather’s gorgeous. This is great cruising weather,” said Schlumberger.

A-Basin bound

Vail and Beaver Creek mountains close Sunday, but for those who need to push their “days” over 70 or 80 or 150, the slopes at A-Basin should be open for the rest of spring and possibly into summer.

“We haven’t set a closing date yet. We always try to push it as long as we can,” says Peggy Hiller, the Basin’s human resources director. “April and May could still be good snow months, and we always shoot for staying open until the Fourth of July.”

That means A-Basin’s famous gravel parking lot is also open. And that means there’s plenty of sun-drenched afternoons left to have a few beers and a late lunch in the parking lot that Jack Kerouac, in his little known novella, “Kayaking on the Roof,” compared to the beaches at Big Sur.

Well, OK. No he didn’t. You made that up. OK, I did. …

There are big cliffs and sand in and around A-Basin’s parking lot, however. and hangin’ in the parking lot is key because when it’s spring, nobody gets up at the crack of dawn and spends the entire day on the hill.

“There’s more snow here than most other places,” says Roxane Schlumberger, a snowboarder from Silverthorne. “At the Basin at this time of year, it’s got to be a beach party because you’re not going to ski all day.”

Schlumberger says she’s not ready to put the skis away for the season and she hasn’t taken her bike in for a tune-up quite yet.

“My hiking boots are getting ready,” she says.

A-tips

OK, here’s a tip: It’s spring, which means there are a few rocks and branches poking through the snow on some of the steeper slopes. So don’t ride the pair of Pocket Rockets you just bought for $300 at the ski shop for which your buddy worked to get rid of all its demo skis.

Bring the old K2s.

“This is the best time of year. The snow’s almost as good as it is in January,” says Brooke Barlow, a snowboarder from Melbourne, Fla. “We were out here grilling with a keg in the snow.”

The groomers were in great shape this week, with soft slushy snow that makes any skier or snowboarder feel like a champ.

The harrowing steeps on the west side of the mountain, which can be reached by the Pallavicini Lift, are still fun but a bit sketchy in some spots.

The tops are fast and icy, turning to soft moguls in the middle. The bottom of the runs are a bit littered with branches and rocks.

And there’s still the chance of a powder day.

A-passes

If you have a Vail Resorts pass that works at Breckenridge and Keystone, you don’t need to buy a pass at A-Basin. If you have a pass that just works at Vail and Beaver Creek, it’ll cost you $27 to get on the hill at A-Basin.

A regular spring ticket there is $37, but you can buy one for a few dollars less at outlets all over Summit County.

This time of year, it’s all about skiing in red shorts with white heart-shaped polka-dots – like Bob Fahrion, a Denver skier enjoying the the Basin this week.

“I love powder days, but you can’t beat these conditions,” he says.


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