Monday, April 12, 2004
'The Beach' to be closed at night
Officials nix late-night parties at A-Basin parking lot
ARAPAHOE BASIN - The party at "The Beach', a long-time, late-night hot spot at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, will end promptly each evening at 6pm starting April 13.
With Support from the US Forest Service, the Summit County Sheriff's Office and the Colorado Department of Transportation, ski area officials decided to close the Early Riser parking lot, better known as 'The Beach', to overnight parking and camping.
Ski area officials acknowledged the closure will not sit well with everyone, but said they grew increasingly concerned about partying and associated behavior, including public defecation and littering, as well as snow-removal difficulties and avalanche danger.
Because the parking lot is located directly beneath the Little Professor avalanche path, officials clear the lot prior to doing control work. At times, up to 50 vehicles have to be removed to begin avalanche work, leading to delayed control work and increased closure time for Highway 6.
Starting April 13, vehicles left in the lot at night will be towed at owners' expense, ski area officials said.
More detail here on the ski area's website.
The closure will not sit well with some people? You're damn right it won't sit well! It isn't going to sit well with their current BASE skiers, the people that give the place most of its business. To address a couple of their concerns: too much trash? How about more garbage cans (with more frequent dumping) or even a dumpster on one end of the lot? People crapping where they please? Ever hear of a port-a-pot? On to my real griping....
Ok, why do I blame the ski industry? Here's why. The Basin is a relic, if you will. There is no development at its base as the Forest Service hasn't allowed it (yet). It is a local's ski area. The atmosphere there is unlike the atmosphere you will find at most other resorts in Colorado-it is unassuming, laid back, and people there are serious skiers (unlike the people out to be seen at Beaver Creek and Vail). Granted, the atmosphere/attitude at other resorts isn't that bad, but it just isn't the same as at the Basin. And one of the big draws, especially late season, is 'The Beach'. I've slept overnight there and I've dropped cars off there to reserve a front row seat. You see, the parking lot at the Basin abuts the mountain itself. So there are no shuttle busses or long walks. When the weather gets nice, people camp out and then spend the next day drinking, grilling, and chatting with people, enjoying the sun and fun atmosphere. Outfits get crazy, and people spend more time partying than skiing. It's a riot.
But now they want to cut back on all of that. Whatever the reasons they are spewing out, to me it smacks of another ploy by the industry to take a great sport and continue making it more and more an elitist activity. Even though Vail Associates didn't buy the Basin when they wanted to a couple years ago (it would have violated the anti-trust laws), there is a ticketing agreement and this makes me wonder if Vail doesn't somehow have some influence over them. Are they trying to run out the locals (aka-bums with no money) so that they can try to bring in a 'higher class' crowd and make more money? It would not surprise me at all. Even though I love the sport, it makes me sick to see what they've done to it. It is elitist ($75 a day to ski?) and that pisses me off.
If they kill the spirit of the Basin, I'll be even more motivated to go and buy some rondenay (spelling is wrong, sorry) gear. And I am already set of buying it so that I can avoid those sh*tholes they call resorts.