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CB/Telluride/Taos

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I am considering a trip in late January, and am not real familiar with the area.  I was wondering if any CO locals/experts might have any advice for me.

 

I am thinking about skiing 2 days on crested butte, 2 days in telluride and a day in Taos.  I envision the trip going like this:

-fly in saturday morning.  I could fly direct to Gunnison, or I could fly into denver and drive.  Advantages of Gunnison are that it's right there and I don't have to risk a long drive through potentially cruddy weather.  Advantages of Denver are that I can fly Delta (where I am  a platinum medallion FFer), have many more flight options,  and maybe could more easily rent a 4WD car?

-ski sunday/monday at CB, drive to T-ride monday afternoon

-ski tues/wed at t-ride

-drive thurs to taos

-ski friday at taos

-drive saturday AM to ABQ and fly back to MSP

 

My main questions are:

-how crappy is the drive from DEN to crested butte?

-any car rental options at gunnison airport?

-how's the drive from CB to T-ride?

-how's the drive from T-ride to Taos?

-is this plan feasible or really really stupid. 

 

I am on a mission to ski a big chunk of the major western US/canadian resorts in a 5 year period.  In the last 3 years, I've hit whistler, squaw valley, heavenly, homewood, steamboat, vail, beaver creek, aspen, aspen highlands, buttermilk, snowmass, breckenridge, a-basin, loveland, park city, deer valley, canyons, alta, and solitude.  This year I've booked trips to winter park, keystone, copper, big sky and bridger, and I have two more week-long trips to make.  Still want to hit Mammoth, more of Tahoe, snowbird, brighton, powmow, snowbasin, sun valley, jackson/targhee, banff area, and whitefish.  We'll see how it goes.  Anyway, thanks in advance for any advice y'all care to share!

post #2 of 11
No plan is 100% stupid (unless Tony has a say about it...). My main questions are: -how crappy is the drive from DEN to crested butte? No crap at all! -any car rental options at gunnison airport? NA -how's the drive from CB to T-ride? 2 hours, piece of cake! -how's the drive from T-ride to Taos? Loooonnnnggg. -is this plan feasible or really really stupid. You don't ski on Thursday, stupid..... Drive from TRide to Wolf Creek Wednesday evening, ski Wolf, then drive to Taos. We'll be in Sky/Bridger/Targhee +/- 1/1-9, IYO, how many days each to cover the entire areas within each one?
post #3 of 11

For you future trips, Sun Valley, Jackson/Targhee and the SLC areas work out well together. They are each about a five hour drive from each other.

post #4 of 11

Yes that's lot of driving for a week, and it won't be a piece of cake if it snows.  You better find out what the drop charge is for renting from one airport and leaving from another.  My guess is that renting from Gunnison and not returning there could be exorbitant.

 

Crested Butte is historically the slowest destination resort in North America to get its expert terrain open, so that's the area I'd be inclined to cut from a late January itinerary to shorten the driving.  I'm sure its snowfall is above average so far, but we know the snow is a lot more above average farther south.  As noted in the other thread I normally don't recommend Taos before mid-February, but it's probably a favorite to attain full operation a month earlier than usual this season.

 

I'd recommend flying in/out of Durango or Albuquerque.  Taos and Telluride are both worth 3 days of your ski time if you have it.  I agree you should hit Wolf Creek on the day in between.  And you should also consider Silverton near the END of this trip when you're altitude acclimated.

 

Quote:
I am on a mission to ski a big chunk of the major western US/canadian resorts in a 5 year period.

I've done that over the past 20+ years and done a lot of these multi-area road trips.  With the itinerary you posted, I'd be looking for more than one week to cover that much ground, and I'd be doing it later in the season.  I mention this because you've listed 4 one-week trips in your opening post, so obviously you have some degree of time flexibility.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 11/24/13 at 2:37pm
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the detailed info guys.  Very helpful.  I definitely have some time before I book my January trip to see how the snow falls.  Probably going to do either the above-mentioned trip or Jackson/Targhee in January.  Otherwise it's WP/Summit county in 2 weeks, Big Sky/Bridger in mid february, and I am 90% sure I'll head to Utah mid march.  I do have a late april week off as well; any ideas if/where that might be worth skiing?  Of course, my wife may murder me if I try to sneak in a fifth ski week this year.  We're going to Maui is early January, but she gets pretty sick of the MN winter and tries to steer me to warmer climes for my vacation weeks.  Anyways, I'll keep my eyes on the skies and see where the season takes me.  Thanks again!

post #6 of 11

I'd strongly recommend you do Jackson/Targhee in late January and this itinerary in mid-March, pushing for a bit more than one week of time if doing both CB and Taos.  The reliability of Utah's Cottonwood Canyons is such that time of year is not as sensitive as other places. 

 

No surprise I'll recommend Mammoth or Bachelor for the late April trip.   Other reasonable choices would be Whistler, Banff, Summit County CO and Snowbird.  Alta runs daily through 3rd weekend of April, then one closing weekend after that.  Maybe take your wife on the late April trip for warmer weather.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
You've convinced me Tony. Jackson/Targhee is so much easier logistically, and I can turn it into a business trip, so it's kind of a no-brainier. I think southern CO will have to wait until next year as a few of my buddies are committed to UT in March. Again, I appreciate all the help and advice. Muchas gracias!
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beartown View Post
 

 

My main questions are:

-how crappy is the drive from DEN to crested butte?

-any car rental options at gunnison airport?

-how's the drive from CB to T-ride?

-how's the drive from T-ride to Taos?

-is this plan feasible or really really stupid. 

 

 

 

1. Google says 4:30 from DIA, taking US 285 to US 50. Monarch Pass gets a lot of snow, there are three other low passes on the route.

2. No idea.

3. Google says 3 hours. It skirts the major ranges and has a few low passes.

4. Ugly. 6:30

5. Its feasible, but your plan has you driving past a lot of quality skiing.

 

For me, I would add Silverton and Wolf Creek to the mix and do either CB or Taos. That closes up the driving by quite a bit. Telluride to Silverton, Silverton to Wolf, Wolf to Taos is not too bad.

 

Edit- also do not do this trip in January. January in CO tends to be dry, and a lot of these places won't have the terrain open with a base in place to really experience the area.

post #9 of 11

1) Google is about right but plan on much longer if the weather gets bad. If it gets really bad, you can always stay in Salida.

2) Hertz, Budget….

3) Just under 3 hours if the weather cooperates.

4 and 5) Agreed with above.

post #10 of 11

If you choose 550 over the San Juans, prepare for one of the more dramatic mountain roads in creation. Much vertical. Approaching Taos from the West via 64 is do-able. The rise and the sheer drop on long traverses will not be as dramatic, but the road is really very high.

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Z Taos View Post
 

If you choose 550 over the San Juans, prepare for one of the more dramatic mountain roads in creation. Much vertical. Approaching Taos from the West via 64 is do-able. The rise and the sheer drop on long traverses will not be as dramatic, but the road is really very high.

 

If you take US 550 South from Ouray in Winter, make sure you understand exactly what you are getting into. Its a road built to 1920's standards, narrow lanes with no shoulder (the white line is missing because the asphalt it was painted on has slid off the cliff in places), no guardrail, suspended on a cliff edge 500-1500 above the river below. It sees truck traffic, despite the fact that an eighteen wheeler can't really navigate the turns without taking up your lane too. Oh, and there are notorious avalanche slide paths to the tune of a few hundred that can impact traffic on the road.

 

I consider myself a pretty decent Colorado mountain driver. I get lots of practice driving Wolf Creek Pass in horrible conditions. Red Mountain is one of the only passes in Colorado that I WILL NOT DRIVE in the snow. It is white-knuckle in Summer. One of the most stressful things I have ever had to do was drive a moving van with all my worldly possessions over it a few years ago, and this was after convincing my wife to allow us to drive the road- she had driven it for the first time ever a few weeks prior and declared that she would never do it again.

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