Last winter, Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin opened Montezuma Bowl, which expanded its skier terrain by a whopping 80 percent. But the best thing about the new back bowl? It draws skier traffic away from the marquee frontside lift Pallavicini (or “Pali” for short)—a 30-year-old, fixed-grip double that rises 1,329 feet in seven minutes.
1) West Alley to Waterfall
Head right off the chair, along the skier’s left boundary, to
, which starts with a 200-foot-wide entrance and funnels into a 20-foot-wide, tree-lined chute. At the boundary rope, veer right to the top of
—a rocky, 40-degree pitch. Drop into the middle of the run for 200 vertical feet of wind-whipped meringue. The
traverse, weaponized with spine-compressing whoop-de-dos, is your only way out.
2) Pali Face
Start off like you’re heading to West Alley, but instead of going skier’s left into the trees, head right down the open, 38-degree
. The northwest wind blows in soft snow for 400 vertical feet. As you near the bottom third of the run, pick your line carefully—and be prepared for moguls the size of gnome cottages.
3) Timber Glades
by going left off the lift to
—the sole intermediate run off Pali—and cutting left at the North Glade sign. Dive into the trees, then cross under the lift and pick a line down 300 vertical feet of spruce, subalpine fir, and lodgepole pine. Once you’re out of the woods, head straight to
, a mellow, 34-degree open face that stays soft well after storms.
4) West Turbo
Head to the North Glade trees, and after 200 vertical feet, it’ll spit you out under the lift for 10 turns. Veer left into the woods at the
sign. You’re in the right place when you’re standing on top of an eight-foot rock, gazing down a narrow, 42-degree chute.
5) Standard to Lower Cable Line
Follow Grizzly Road to
, a mellow black run with a double fall line and a couple optional six-footers. To avoid colossal bumps, hug the trees on skier’s right for 300 vertical feet until you approach the
—three rocks naturally positioned for a rookie kicker. For a secret stash, at the cutoff to
, dip behind the sign, and follow the horizontal rope line until you’re on top of a nine-foot rock—the crown of
Lower Cable Line
THINGS TO KNOW
A-Basin’s top elevation:
A-Basin’s base elevation:
Total vertical drop:
) runs and lift are named after the Pallavicini Couloir on 12,457-foot Grossglockner—Austria’s tallest peak. Austrian mountaineer Count Pallavicini was the first to take a shot at it.
>>>With a summit elevation
of 13,050 feet, A-Basin is home to some of the highest lift-served skiing in North America. Half its terrain faces north or northeast and holds snow from October to as late as July. Go here for your early- or late-season fix.
also known as the Early Riser parking lot. It’s where A-Basin’s bros and gapers snag spaces at dawn to grill dogs, guzzle beers, and jam to a mix of Jerry and Slightly Stoopid from car stereos. Some ambitious ones still find time to ski.
“A-Basin gets tracked up quickly,” says Paul Zaleski, an A-Basin Freeride Team member and winner of the 2006 Colorado Freeride Series in Aspen. “But you can still find fresh tracks in Timber Glades two days after a storm.”