Arapaho Basin is THE dream ski resort for every college frat boy and party chasing ski bum alike. A tradition that is two years strong in our group of friends is to spend a weekend ‘winter camping’ near this famed local resort. I decided not to attend last year’s festivities (mostly because only guys were brave enough to bare the cold) but this year… I layered up and went along. The weekend began by camping on the side of Loveland Pass. We set up camp in the middle of a pull-off along the highway. Arapaho Basin is as the name suggests, a Basin. The night time brings an entirely different perspective than I have ever receieved from my day time ski adventures there. Tucked into the basin, the moon light reflected off the snow covered bowl of mountains surrounding us sure made for a night of memories. We got the fire started as soon as we reached the spot, busted out the smores and of course… catch phrase. It was so fun to be in the company of great friends in the middle of an oasis of sorts; the 25 degree air didn’t even hinder me. That is of course, until it was time for sleep. Despite my well thought out plan to claim Kona as my bed mate and the Tahoe for tent, the night was miserably cold. What was I expecting?
The point of camping in the mountains during the winter is to wake up early and head to the ‘beach’. A-Basin has a first come first serve parking row that is such a hot commodity it is usually full by 6:45AM. We got there around 6:30AM (ugh) and barely got a spot. The ‘beach’ is worth the fight we had with some overaged frat boys because we parked right up against the ski lifts. This is where the party is. All vehicles pulled up to ‘the beach’ host their own party of sorts. Some choose to throw 80s parties and invite everyone they know to come to their tailgate dressed in their vibrant best. Some choose to pull out picnic tables and play good ole beer pong and have keg stand competitions. Others, like us, simply invite everyone to come on over for some grilling, drinking, skiing, and good music. A-Basin’s simple rules are ‘keep a dog on a leash’ and ‘no sledding’ both of which are perpetually abused.
After the hustle and bustle of getting there early everyone on the ‘beach’ get going on breakfast and starts drinking Bloody Marys. Ahhhh its a great way to start a Saturday morning. Once the sun comes over the mountain there is no more worry about freezing toes. The only ailing thought is ‘to ski or have another beer’…. tough life huh? The rest of the day is filled with watching outrageously dressed ski bums ski, intoxicated college boys dare each other to sled down the beach’s hill, beer drinking, and skiing.