Marijuana: Arapahoe Basin exec stirs debate with warning about public pot smoking

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Big photos below.
As William Breathes has reported, many ski towns are allowing recreational pot sales. But that doesn't mean public weed smoking is any more legal at resorts than it is elsewhere in Colorado.

Still, the idea that ski areas will crack down on those who light up in plain view definitely stirs emotions, as Arapahoe Basin chief operating officer Alan Henceroth (seen here) discovered when he wrote about it not once but twice this weekend. See his posts and some of the passionate reactions to them below.

Arapahoe Basin was the first ski area in Colorado to open for the season. We recently shared a slew of photos from the big day and have included many of them below.

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Courtesy of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area Facebook page
Some of the folks taking advantage of the early opening enjoy firing up judging by a short item Henceroth placed on his blog Saturday under the heading "Marijuana." The post reads:
For good or bad, Colorado is notorious for the passing of Amendment 64 legalizing limited marijuana usage. I recently saw Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly making fun of Coloradans on The Daily Show. A very important piece of the new law clearly states that marijuana usage in public is still illegal. A-Basin is a public place and you cannot smoke marijuana here.

Already I have kicked several people out of here and taken their ski passes for smoking in public. Those passes will be gone for a very long time. We will not hesitate to call the cops on this issue.

Marijuana smokers, please use your heads on this. You cannot smoke marijuana in public while at A-Basin.

What followed was an avalanche of comments -- more than 150 at this writing. Some of them offered support for Henceroth. Here's a sampling of three positive reactions:
Post one: Thank you Al!!!! And as one with Asthma sometime also remind guests that smoking anytime on the lifts and mazes is against Summit County law an subject to a fine . I have been close to needing to call ski patrol for emer Oxygen service after having smoke blow back during a lift ride.
Post two: Thank you for taking some initiative towards this. I was on the mountain this morning and the entire park smelled like weed the whole time I was there. There were at least 2-3 people smoking in the trees at any given time.

I'm not against weed or the legalization of it, but turning public places into smoke spots is not cool.

Thanks again!

Post three:

Al,

Thank you! You re-affirmed my decision to buy an Arapahoe Basin Passes for myself and my family. I can't wait to hit the slopes!

However, other readers were unhappy with Henceroth's announcement. Here are three examples:
Post one: Wow I'm surprised. Pulling peoples passes and ruining their season before it even starts? Over weed? Come on. I think I'll wait to start my season somewhere else after seeing this.
Post two: As the whole state goes to pot, leave it to the ski hills to keep the dream of prohibition alive. This from a hill that prides itself on a very strong bloody mary alcohol breakfast as a trademark.
Post three: Shielding children from adult activities is one thing but pulling passes for weed... when it's legal in the state?! Always been a huge abay supporter but this seems pretty hypocritical, and not all helpful to those who are MM patients or recreational users. If you want anyone to listen to this advice I would try to set forth a realistic policy other than "we'll call the cops." Maybe I'll call the cops next time I see people getting on skis when they leave the bar or light up a cigarette. Not the way to get people on your side about this, disappointing this kind of close-mindedness is going on. Intolerance in any form is ugly and ineffective guys, lets try to get along here together somehow....
Among the readers of these comments was Henceroth, who quickly followed with another blog entry on the same topic, with this one sporting a conciliatory tone.

Continue for more about public marijuana smoking and Arapahoe Basin, including photos.



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166 comments
Maria Smiley
Maria Smiley

Ha... And the mountains are filled w all the free spirit people WHO ALL SMOKE POT...

Chris Dixon
Chris Dixon

Yes, they should. If you are impaired in any way, you are a menace. I have skied with stoned competitors who could have easily beaten me, and I toasted them because their actions were inhibited, slow and unsharp.

Matthew Denniston
Matthew Denniston

I voted for legalization because I believe in freedom, not so entitled asshats could blow noxious smoke in my face while I'm standing in line. Go smoke off to the side somewhere (like tobacco smokers already do) and no sane person will care.

Mike Mango
Mike Mango

Welp! Guess I'm done with A-Basin for the year! Good thing Key opens next week

Craig Struthers
Craig Struthers

Alan Henceroth go f*&k yourself. If he doesn't want the business good boycott his ski area.

John Barrett Siegfried
John Barrett Siegfried

LOL!!!! Ill stay in the back country, use my sled and smoke in freedom. Probably save a bunch of money in the process and deal with way less ignorant fools.

Paul Malczewski
Paul Malczewski

another dinosaur that will some day soon not be running a ski lodge. Go have a cocktail and curl up by the fireplace and wither away. your a fool to think you can enfource this policy.

Nick Arce
Nick Arce

What an Ahole. Pulling passes! Lame. My only issue is if smokes blowing in people's face that don't want smoke blown their way. Same as cigarettes. I say have a drink or smoke, or both if you wish. Just be respectful about it, have a great time, and remember there's kids up there.

Aundra Thompson
Aundra Thompson

Just like being drunk you're a hazard to yourself and others

Gordon Stafford
Gordon Stafford

Wow, what a dink from the past, can't believe this guy, there is a special place in hell for this dictator, a guy telling me what to do. I've never yet punched a person, but if he said anything about me smoking marijuana, he might be my first violent encounter. And that goes for each and every human being under the age of 65 ( that's when we all learned the truth about weed). If you don't like and approve of weed, I hate your living guts. No excuses, no exceptions.

Amelia Ebert
Amelia Ebert

most of Colorado's ski areas are on national forest land which is public land.

Amelia Ebert
Amelia Ebert

The Basin gets lamer every year. They are gonna lift service the Beavers! Now they want to stop pot smoking? Spacin at the Basin is Summit County's favorite past time. Don't kill the vibe, Alan. I heard yall don't do the free breakfast for employees any more either.

Lynn Stiles
Lynn Stiles

Everyone in this state sure loves the benifits of the profits from marijuana, but I think if you complain about pot, you should nolonger benifit from the profit.

Rusanne King
Rusanne King

People have been skiing on lots of Irish Coffee and no one threatens to pull their lift tickets....people just need to smart about it......

DougHubka
DougHubka

I would think that in this free market economy , a privately owned ski venue can do whatever they want and take the gains and losses with it. Maybe some big bucks tourists don't want their kids to be around marijuana. They would have a choice to go to this place or somewhere else. It's really no big deal.

Xander Tailor
Xander Tailor

Let him. Also, let him watch his profit margins take a dive as well.

Amanda Pacenza
Amanda Pacenza

No who gives a shit, this is Colorado! We smoke weed waiting for the light rail, why wouldn't we smoke on the lift

Diana Reavis
Diana Reavis

Will they pull tickets for those skiers that drink alcohol? Same same...

Michael Metzger
Michael Metzger

Lol and lose prob 60% or more of your business?? But lets let em get drunk and ski??

Kevin Kline
Kevin Kline

No thats stupid. Ski at your own risk. If u wanna smoke and ski go for it. I know I won't be buying a pass to A basen this year.

Michael Beckerman
Michael Beckerman

Private property owners are allowed to restrict the behavior of their guests/customers however they like (as long as it doesn't constitute discrimination based on one of the recognized protected classes, of course). If ski resort owners want to put up a "No Pot Smoking" rule so their non-smoking customers do not have to be constantly subjected all day to the vile, putrid stench of skunk weed while skiing, they have every right to be able to do so. Conversely if one resort want to set aside one or two runs as designated pot head runs where only stoners are allowed and all pot smoking is restricted to, then they can do that as well.

Ski Steve
Ski Steve

No. Just give them a ticket if they are near other people and families.

Don Finley
Don Finley

That's up to A Basin to decide. Here's a question though. Should Westword drop its agenda driven reporting and try basic journalism for a change?

Nick Jones
Nick Jones

I'm blazing on the Mtn errrlday!

Christiane Leigh
Christiane Leigh

For Fucks Sake. Ridiculous. Are they going to stop selling alcohol to morons who drink and ski/board?

Justin Day
Justin Day

No seeming as Abasin's "beach" crowd happen to be drinking to points of excess from time to time.

rio_cub
rio_cub

@Amelia Ebert 

Right, which is why it's illegal there. Or did you miss that part?

Federal Land = Federal Laws

rio_cub
rio_cub

@DougHubka 

Sure, if they own the land too.  Unfortunately, the vast majority of ski areas are not on private land, but Federal land. Thus, they have to follow Federal law if they wish to continue to operate their business there.

rio_cub
rio_cub

@Michael Beckerman 

If it were private property, you'd be correct.

But really, the true issue here is that the ski area is on Federal land.  So, they actually can't set aside one or two runs that designated pothead runs as you state. 

rio_cub
rio_cub

@Angie Martinez-Long 

Because it's legal federally

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