New bowl is steep, snowy, skiers say
ARAPAHOE BASIN Pat Kirkby hiked from the bottom of Montezuma Bowl with a grin.Kirkby had been snowboarding in-bounds in the trees past the bottom of the chairlift, he said. Then he hiked a couple hundred yards back to where people were waiting in the lift line, he said. Theres so much snow, Kirkby said.Located on the back side of Arapahoe Basin, the new, 400-acre Montezuma Bowl almost doubles the size of the ski area. The most challenging terrain is a number of chutes under a long cornice that is on skiers right from the top of the bowls only lift, Zuma Lift. Some cliffs and steep slopes await skiers and snowboarders after a short hike along a ridge. Some of those double-blacks were closed Saturday afternoon. After one or two more good snowstorms, all off Montezuma Bowl should be opened, said Alan Henceroth, vice president and chief operating officer of Arapahoe Basin.Joe Ferruggia had taken just one run in Montezuma Bowl on Saturday afternoon. He planned to take many more, he said. When it gets more snow, its going to be awesome, he said. Some backcountrySome small rocks jutted out of the snow on some slopes, and a sign at the top of the lift warned of early season conditions. But Jenni Shearston, of Denver, found some powder Saturday afternoon. I like the steepness, she said. Keir Fogarty found some good snow in the trees on the lower part of the bowl, he said. Its nice to have more trees, said Fogarty, of Fort Collins. Its a different feel to the mountain.The bowl also has 50 acres of backcountry nearly all of which is trees that skiers and snowboarders must hike out of to get back to Zuma Lift.We know people will really enjoy it, Henceroth said. That terrain was closed Saturday but should be open soon, Henceroth said. Many people were skiing into and hiking out of the area anyway. In addition to steep double-blacks and tree runs, Montezuma Bowl has several steep blue and black-diamond runs. I really appreciate blues and blacks that challenge me, Fogarty said. I dont need to do anything thats too much harder than that, so this is right up my alley.People had to wait in a packed lift line Saturday afternoon at Exhibition Lift at the base of the front side of Arapahoe Basin. But people quickly moved through the lift line to get onto Montezuma Bowls only chairlift. The quad is 4,100 feet long and rises 1,100 vertical feet. It takes nine minutes to get to the top, and the lift has a capacity of 1,900 skiers per hour.Plenty of runsThe 900-acre Arapahoe Basin has plenty of places to ski and snowboard, Fogerty said. Its not like A-Basin had a lack of lines but this improves even that, Fogerty said about Montezuma Bowl. Gordon Golding, of Boulder, said Arapahoe Basin used to be smaller compared with other ski resorts in the area. With this, itll be real fun just to come down here and not have to drive that extra 45 minutes (or) an hour to some of the other places, he said. Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or firstname.lastname@example.org.