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A-Basin reopens with random drawing system

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area reopened Wednesday after being closed since mid-March.

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — Getting a coveted ticket to ski or board at Arapahoe Basin will now be up to chance. 

"About five o’clock in the morning, I got my final confirmation that I was allowed to come here today, and I just spent like 10 minutes pacing back and forth in my house," Dustin Burley, a skier, said. "I was like, to heck with it, I’m going up there, I gotta get some more turns in there before the season’s over. 

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area reopened on Wednesday with only 600 skiers and riders allowed on the slopes each day, Chief Operating Officer Alan Henceroth said.

"We know what 500 looks like, what a thousand looks like, what 2,000 looks like, Henceroth said. "We knew 600 would be a really light load and we needed to be able to keep people separated."

This was initially going to be enforced via an online reservation system that was supposed to open two nights before the specific day a person wanted to come skiing. 

However, Monday night, shortly after Wednesday reservations opened, the ski area tweeted asking people for patience because of the high demand for reservations. 

"Monday night, about 4,000 people logged on at once and our system just wasn’t good enough to handle that; it crashed pretty terribly," Henceroth said.

On Tuesday, A-Basin announced it would be switching to a random drawing.

"I was like, 'This is like crazy,'" Burley said. "I won a lottery for once in my life."

Burley's prize was a chance to ski at A-Basin and drive from his home in Durango.

"About 5 hours and 15 minutes," Burley said.

Drawings are being held for one day at a time.

"You can log on from 7-9 p.m. in the evening for a chance to ski two days later," Henceroth said. "We’ve done that for two days now. It’s worked great so far."

Those who are interested can fill out a form to be entered in either the drawing for existing pass holders or the drawing to be able to purchase lift tickets for $99. 

More details can be found on A-Basin's website.

RELATED: A-Basin seeing high demand for reservations as it plans to reopen

Other guidelines for skiing or riding at A-Basin during the reopening include: 

  • Wear a face covering when you cannot maintain 6 feet of physical distancing outdoors and in designated areas. This is a requirement of the Summit County public health order.
  • Adhere to strict physical distancing guidelines.
  • Congregating in the base area and tailgating in the parking lot are strictly prohibited.
  • Stay home if you are sick or at high risk.
  • Leave immediately if you begin to show signs or symptoms of illness. 
  • Ski/ride within your ability to reduce the chance of injury.

An executive order in March forced A-Basin and many of Colorado's ski areas to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Jared Polis in recent weeks has loosened some restrictions in the state put in place to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

RELATED: Closure of ski areas statewide extended through May 22

Hours:

  • Daily, beginning Wednesday, May 27. Closing date is TBD.
  • Lift hours: 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Reservations required)
  • Uphill access: 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. (A-Basin Uphill Access Pass required; must be off the hill by 8 a.m.)
  • Parking lot gates will be locked 4 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.
  • Do not arrive prior to 7:30 a.m.
  • Operations may be limited or modified at any time in response to changing circumstances.

"We have been given an extraordinary opportunity," Henceroth said. "We need to take this very seriously, and we need to respect the guidance given by our Summit County and...Colorado health officials. We have to open in a responsible way. We need everyone to help."

A-Basin is located at 28194 US Hwy. 6 in Dillon in Summit County.

RELATED: You can buy one of the Pallavicini Lift chairs from Arapahoe Basin

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