Arapahoe Basin plans new hiking, biking trails and via ferrata climbing


A skier makes their way down mid-mountain at the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area on May 20, 2015. (Andy Cross, The Denver Post)

With its 2018-19 winter season just days away, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area’s plans to reimagine its summer on-mountain recreational offerings recently took a giant jump into the future.

The White River National Forest announced on Tuesday that its Dillon Ranger District is now accepting comments on A-Basin’s plans for approximately 10 miles of new trails for hiking and mountain biking and two “via ferrata” zones — one beneath tree line at lower mountain terrain and one above tree line on upper mountain terrain.

A via ferrata — which is Italian for “iron path” — traditionally is a protected climbing route most often involving a steel cable that runs along the route and is periodically fixed to the bedrock, in this case A-Basin’s East Wall and a rock face within the ski area’s “Steep Gullies” terrain. The proposal doesn’t mention if those areas would be affected in the winter season. Climbers then typically scale the via ferrata by securing themselves to the cable, which limits the possibility of falling. Additional climbing aids are often provided as well, with a via ferrata kit.

Via ferratas are traditionally found in the Alps, though Telluride has the most well-known example in Colorado. As for via ferratas at ski areas like A-Basin, there is currently one at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

Read more about the via ferratas and trails at Summit Daily.



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