One of Colorado’s coolest opening-day ski traditions has nothing to do with skiing

A-Basin’s mug club only has 473 spots — and they’re highly coveted

Skiers and riders board the Black Mountain Express lift on Friday, Oct. 11, at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. The lift opened for winter after passing its seasonal inspection by the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board. The safety board also will conduct an unannounced inspection this winter. Liz Copan /

Arapahoe Basin is usually the first Colorado ski area to open for the season, and when the big day arrives, there’s always a long lift line with a party vibe and plenty of wacky costumes.

It isn’t the only long line filled with antsy skiers and snowboarders, though.

For some A-Basin regulars, their top priority isn’t getting a seat on one of the first chairs up the mountain. It’s snagging a coveted mug, which will hang from the ceiling of the 6th Alley Bar & Grill in the base lodge for the duration of the season.

It’s no easy task getting into the Mug Club. Only 473 mugs are sold each year, the limiting factor being the number of hooks in the ceiling above the horseshoe-shaped bar. There have been times when the line to buy mugs seemed longer than the lift line.

Read more from John Meyer at

Support Local Journalism