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Arapahoe Basin Mountain Tour: Montezuma Bowl


Mountain Tours

Get insider insight on our backside, aka Montezuma Bowl, with this brief video tour. Zuma Bowl boasts cornices, chutes, tree skiing, rock drops, wide-open bowls and several groomed intermediate runs, plus some of the best views on the mountain. A-Basin ski patroller and trails foreman Scott Bickel shows you around this special terrain.

The 400-acre, south-facing Montezuma Bowl was the largest terrain expansion in the U.S. for the 2007-08 ski season and A-Basin's first major growth spurt. Zuma was formerly backcountry, and adding it to A-Basin's in-bounds area grew our in-bounds terrain by 80 percent that season. Much like The Beavers terrain, Zuma bowl was on the mind of A-Basin's founders, who were considering the possibilities of this terrain in 1946. 

We brought Zuma into the fold the "natural" way by letting the terrain speak for itself, carefully shaping already-good routes instead of bulldozing large pathways. Only a few trees were removed and no service roads were cut. Lift towers were set in place by helicopter and wind energy was purchased to run the Zuma Lift. 

Terrain Overview

  • 400 acres
  • 36 runs (6 intermediate, 21 advanced, 9 expert)
  • Groomed runs: Larkspur, Columbine, Shining Light
  • 1,100 vertical feet
  • Lift ride time: 9 minutes on a quad

The Montezuma Bowl Experience

The top of the terrain begins around 12,460 feet. You can access it from the Lenawee and Beavers lifts; just grab onto the Lazy J tow and cruise up to the drop-in spots. Intermediates can enjoy various combinations of Larkspur, Columbine, Independence and Shining Light. From those runs or from the lift, you can observe the bowl's steeper terrain and decide if it looks right for you. Experts should be sure to make their way to the edges to explore.

Once off the groomers Montezuma Bowl maintains some of its old backcountry feel, especially in the hike-back terrain just below the lower boundary. There are seven exit gates that allow you to explore rarely visited expert terrain, pillow drops and challenging glades in areas like Lightning Trees and Davo.

The south-facing terrain usually opens in December or January and is full of powder stashes after just a few inches. The high altitude keeps the snow dry and powdery well beyond when most south-facing bowls turn to mush, and is a spring skiing favorite of many locals. 


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