How to Ski Arapahoe Basin’s Montezuma Bowl

Where to get the goods at Colorado's favorite beach

PHOTO: Dave Camara

Arapahoe Basin’s Montezuma Bowl is 400 acres of cliffs, pillowy drops, and nicely-spaced trees. Because it takes a little side hilling to get out to the good stuff, people tend to ski the groomers in the middle, and because it’s south facing, sometimes it can get sunbaked, but when it storms, the trees hold snow, and the steeper pitches get deep. You just have to go out. Here’s how to get the goods:

Go Left: Head out the sometimes-bony Mountain Goat Traverse, and bypass the open bowls of Northern Spy and Elk Meadows. Instead, drop into the trees of Grays, Torreys, and Bierstadt, for some wiggly untouched lines. There’s a ropeline at the Lightning Traverse, that marks the end of the lift-accessible terrain, but if you’re jonesing for a few more turns, you can keep heading downhill into the hike-back zones below the lift. You have to work a little, but hardly anyone skis there, so you’re all but guaranteed fresh.

Go Right: Skate as far as you can out the Zuma Cornice, then sidestep your way up the ridge to the top of Jump. From there you’ve got a bunch of options: the steeps of End Zone, the trees of Gentling’s Glade, or the open pitches of Elephant’s Trunk. Catch the Montezuma’s Revenge traverse, then drop into the pillowy, open Crags, which dumps you out at the bottom of the hike-back terrain.