Ski Area / Mountain Resort Planning & Design Environmental & Land Use Permitting


Arapahoe Basin 2006 Improvement Plan Environmental Impact Statement

Arapahoe Basin’s intimate and unpretentious atmosphere, combined with challenging terrain, has attracted a devoted following since 1946. Each and every decision that A-Basin management makes is focused on preserving and improving the “A-Basin Experience,” which sets it apart from other resorts in the competitive Colorado Front Range market.

SE Group prepared an Environmental Impact Statement to analyze the effects of implementing projects contained in Arapahoe Basin Ski Area’s 2006 Master Development Plan Amendment (also prepared by SE Group). The EIS anlayzed proposed projects including: liftserving almost 400 acres of terrain in Montezuma Bowl with a single single chairlift, upgrading the existing base lift with a high-speed detachable quad (Black Mountain Express), and construction of additional parking.

Controversial issues included proposed development within an Inventoried Roadless Area, impacts to backcountry skiing occurring within the ski area special use permit boundary, and effects to wildlife and stream health. The Record of Decision approving these projects was released in 2006, and when Montezuma Bowl opened for lift-served skiing in the 2007/08 season, it increased A-Basin’s skiable terrain by 80 percent, resulting in immediate and sustained increases in the ski area’s annual visitation.

Considering the complexity of the A-Basin EIS, it was completed in a relatively short amount of time—14 months, including the administrative appeal process.

  • The Record of Decision was appealed on the grounds that the project area was partially overlapped by an Inventoried Roadless Area. However, research and analysis presented in the Final EIS allowed the Region to successfully uphold the decision against every appeal point.
  • All lift and trail construction was completed in Montezuma Bowl without the need for or use of additional roads
  • Overstory vegetation removal in Montezuma Bowl was minimal (less than 4 acres).