• Photo: Barbara Tripp / Shutterstock

Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe Basin was the first ski area to be built in Summit County. It has changed—but not too much—since its construction in the 1940s, and most of A-Basin's dedicated skiers like it that way. It's America's highest ski area, with a base elevation of 10,780 feet and a summit of 13,050 feet. Many of the runs start above the timberline, ensuring breathtaking views (and the need for some extra breaths). Aficionados love the seemingly endless intermediate and expert terrain and the wide-open bowls that stay open into June (sometimes July). "Beachin' at the Basin" has long been one of the area's most popular summer activities.

Although A-Basin has no rooms, the dining here is on par with what you might expect at bigger resorts. Starting around December, don't miss the Moonlight Dinner Series put on by Black Mountain Lodge’s chef Christopher Rybak, a prix-fixe meal that rotates themes like "A Night in France" and "Randonnée Dinner" which ends with a moonlit ski. On New Year's Eve, ski, snowshoe, or hike to the mountain for a themed dinner under the moon. Because A-Basin is on U.S. Forest Service land, there is no resort lodging. The closest place to stay is 5 miles down the road in Keystone, which is accessible by the free Summit Stage bus.

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