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SAM Magazine—Keystone, Colo., Feb. 18, 2019—Arapahoe Basin has decided it will not renew its pass partnership with Vail Resorts for the 2019-20 season, citing parking and facility crowding.ABasin

In a letter to fans and followers, A-Basin COO Alan Henceroth stressed the importance of retaining A-Basin’s culture and vibe. “Looking forward, we strive to provide ready and easy access for our guests. Our goal is to minimize waiting and crowding and maximize experiences and fun.”

A-Basin has invested $40 million in improvements over the past 15 years, and has been part of the Vail Resorts season pass program for more than 20 years. Both the investments and pass deal have helped boost the resort's visits. But as VR's Epic Pass numbers have grown—to roughly one million this season—overcrowding at A-Basin has become a thing.

A-Basin has formed no new pass partnerships yet, but plans to pursue discussions with other resorts and resort groups.

With the departure of Arapahoe Basin from the Epic Pass program, VR is replacing the Keystone A-Basin Pass with a newly minted Keystone Plus Pass. This will include access to Keystone with holiday restrictions, late spring skiing at Breckenridge starting April 1, 2020 (Breck plans to operate into late May for this season and beyond, weather permitting, similar to A-Basin), and five days at Crested Butte with holiday restrictions.

Addressing the move by A-Basin, Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer for Vail Resorts, said, “We want to thank Arapahoe Basin for their partnership for over 20 years. We are disappointed, but given the success they have had and their recent investments into the resort, we respect that this is the right time for them to move in a different direction.”

SAM checked in with Henceroth regarding the decision. He said Vail Resorts has been a great partner over the years, but parking capacity and base area crowding on weekends have become an issue. “Business is so good, we really wanted to take control of our own destiny,” he said.

Vail Resorts Epic Passes will be valid at A-Basin through the remainder of the 2018-19 season.