Arapahoe Basin, CO, June 13--The final days of Colorado's official 1999-2000 ski season came to a close this weekend at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. The last weekend gave skiers warm blue skies, buttery corn snow, and a barbecue at the Mid-Way grill to fill-up on before skiers go without lift accessed slopes for four months.
Arapahoe Basin usually stays open through July 4, but due to an unseasonably warm and dry spring most Colorado ski areas including A-Basin closed several weeks earlier than normal. The ski area hasn't closed this early since the June 12 closing of the 1989-1990 season.
"We opened a month late and closed a month early due to a lack of snow this season," said Leigh Hierholzer, director of marketing for Arapahoe Basin. "Skier visits dropped 14 percent from last year," Hierholzer added.
Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) recently reported a 4.5 percent decrease in Colorado's skier visits this year, blamed on bad early season snow conditions and Y2K fears. However, CSCUSA states that Colorado still managed to dominate 20 percent of the national skier market. While a lack of early season snow may be the culprit, 218 inches of snow fell on the state this year surpassing booth of the previous two seasons.
"The weekend was busier than I thought it would be," said Hierholzer. "People had good things to say about the snow and the barbecue at mid-mountain. Approximately 300 people showed up on both Saturday and Sunday to close out the season," Hierholzer said.
As officials cancelled the Solstice Splash scheduled for Saturday due to lack of snow skiers will just have to wait until next year to attempt to ski over a slushy pool of freezing water. The area will close its guest services for the summer but as the land is part of a national park it will remain accessible for public use.
Photo Essay: Summer Closes the Ski Season in Colorado