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Crested Butte, Telluride in January?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I'm an expert skier, seeking out Colorado steeps. I have to book flights ahead of time and will be there over MLK weekend (Jan 14-16), which I understand can sometimes be a bit risky for solid snow cover for the steep, hike-to terrain. A few questions:

 

- I'm interested in Telluride and Crested Butte because of their "extreme" in-bound steeps. Is this terrain usually open by mid-January? I know there is always some risk, but am trying to figure out if it's generally open by mid January in 90% of seasons vs 50% of seasons.

 

- Between the two, which mountain would you recommend in mid January? Does the expert terrain at one tend to open a little earlier than the other? Does one suffer from holiday crowds more than the other?

 

- If you think they are both too high-risk for terrain being open over MLK, what other mountains would you recommend that have both great early-season steeps as well as manageable holiday crowds?

post #2 of 18
Maybe 50% chance the North Face terrain will be open then, maybe less. Not sure about Tride.

Aspen/Highlands are the best bet for expert terrain in Colorado. Snowmass a little less so.
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

Maybe 50% chance the North Face terrain will be open then, maybe less. Not sure about Tride.

Aspen/Highlands are the best bet for expert terrain in Colorado. Snowmass a little less so.


To clarify, I think @Shredhead is saying that both Aspen(Ajax) and Aspen Highlands are good for expert terrain. And I agree.

 

Early season with lots of snow and no crowds? Wolf Creek comes to mind. I don't think any mountain would meet all these perfectly, but my choices would be:

 

1) Aspen / Aspen Highlands (but crowded?)

2) Wolf Creek (but limited vertical)

3) Telluride (but probably crowded)

4) Crested Butte (not likely the extreme stuff would be open)

post #4 of 18

I can't speak for Crested Butte, but Telluride's face will almost certainly have enough snow by then to be open with Spiral Stairs and Kant-Mak-M giving you plenty of steeps.  The Gold Hill terrain is not quite as certain, but my guess is that some of the chutes will be open by mid-January.

 

As for crowds, you won't have anything to worry about at Telluride while skiing the steep stuff.

post #5 of 18

DCS24, have you skied expert terrain before?  T-ride and CB have great expert stuff but like most expert areas it's closer to 50% than 90% likelihood of being open mid Jan.  Good tips above about considering Aspen and how T-ride still skis well in slow snow years.  None of these areas will be busy even during the holiday.

 

If however, you're just looking to get into advanced skiing (a common scenario of first time posters), you're much more likely to have good options at each.

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for the input so far! I'm a "legit" expert skier but unfortunately can only really get out of state to ski during holiday weekends. Last year went to Jackson Hole over MLK weekend, and was lucky with both existing snowpack as well as getting some fresh snow. Corbett's and Casper Bowl weren't yet open but pretty much everything else was, and I got to lap Alta & Expert Chutes and the Hobacks to my heart's content. This year I was hoping to hit up CO although maybe not Aspen -- it's the one place in CO I've already skied, and I liked it although I found that the expert terrain wasn't quite as varied as the options at Jackson or Squaw (my closest hill). But the problem with Tahoe is that the snow isn't dependable in January, and anyways California mountains are totally jammed during holiday weekends.

 

I'm more into powder and steeps than bumps and trail runs, which is what attracted me to Crested Butte and Telluride. So I'm assuming that's mostly the Gold Hill or North Face type terrain. It sounds like it might be too early in the season for those either of those areas to be likely to be reliably open, so may not want to risk booking a trip... if it's 90/10 I'm ready to risk it but 50/50 is tough odds for buying flights...

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcs24 View Post
 

Thanks everyone for the input so far! I'm a "legit" expert skier but unfortunately can only really get out of state to ski during holiday weekends. Last year went to Jackson Hole over MLK weekend, and was lucky with both existing snowpack as well as getting some fresh snow. Corbett's and Casper Bowl weren't yet open but pretty much everything else was, and I got to lap Alta & Expert Chutes and the Hobacks to my heart's content. This year I was hoping to hit up CO although maybe not Aspen -- it's the one place in CO I've already skied, and I liked it although I found that the expert terrain wasn't quite as varied as the options at Jackson or Squaw (my closest hill). But the problem with Tahoe is that the snow isn't dependable in January, and anyways California mountains are totally jammed during holiday weekends.

 

I'm more into powder and steeps than bumps and trail runs, which is what attracted me to Crested Butte and Telluride. So I'm assuming that's mostly the Gold Hill or North Face type terrain. It sounds like it might be too early in the season for those either of those areas to be likely to be reliably open, so may not want to risk booking a trip... if it's 90/10 I'm ready to risk it but 50/50 is tough odds for buying flights...


Welcome to EpicSki!  You might learn something useful reading through last season's regional thread that includes southern CO.  The new thread for 2016-17 will be starting soon.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/128763/2015-2016-four-corners-s-co-az-nm-weather-discussion

post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by 50kVert View Post
 

 

 

Early season with lots of snow and no crowds? Wolf Creek comes to mind. I don't think any mountain would meet all these perfectly, but my choices would be:

 

1) Aspen / Aspen Highlands (but crowded?)

2) Wolf Creek (but limited vertical)

3) Telluride (but probably crowded)

4) Crested Butte (not likely the extreme stuff would be open)

 

Aspen's never very crowded and I don't think any of the others would be either over MLK. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dcs24 View Post
 

Thanks everyone for the input so far! I'm a "legit" expert skier but unfortunately can only really get out of state to ski during holiday weekends.

I'm more into powder and steeps than bumps and trail runs, which is what attracted me to Crested Butte and Telluride.

 

Did you ski Highland Bowl?   It probably has the best chance of long steep powder in the state, but it's a bit of a slog.

 

If you are willing to do some driving, you could book flights into Montrose (MTJ) and then just drive to wherever has the best snow in the region.

If it's a short holiday weekend only and you don't want to drive. Then Aspen's your best option, with really good directs from SFO.

It's still too early to book flights.  Aspen currently only has one direct in the system and MTJ none, but they will probably start adding additional flights in September.

post #9 of 18

I think that January is early for both those areas.  I have only been to Telluride once and conditions sucked but great terrain!   Was at CB in late December and nothing steep was open...was there another time in Feb and got massively dumped and had a blast.  If you can wait to book that would be good, otherwise, a return to JH might be your best option. 

 

I think what Shredhead was saying was that Highlands may get more early season snow and not there there isn;t good terrain at CB or Telluride?

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post

 

I think what Shredhead was saying was that Highlands may get more early season snow and not there there isn;t good terrain at CB or Telluride?

 

It's not that it gets more snow. 

It's more of a combination of multiple mountains,  with a variety of exposures, on terrain that get a good deal of preseason manicuring and a really good Ski Patrol.

Aspen gets it's expert terrain open ASAP.

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post

 

I think what Shredhead was saying was that Highlands may get more early season snow and not there there isn;t good terrain at CB or Telluride?

 

It's not that it gets more snow. 

It's more of a combination of multiple mountains,  with a variety of exposures, on terrain that get a good deal of preseason manicuring and a really good Ski Patrol.

Aspen gets it's expert terrain open ASAP.


Now you have me curious.  Especially because Telluride was added to the MCP.  I'm flying to ABQ in early Feb for a trip to Taos.  Thinking about tacking on a couple days at Telluride afterwards.

 

Does a big snowstorm that hits Aspen also usually dump on CB and/or Telluride?

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

 

 

Does a big snowstorm that hits Aspen also usually dump on CB and/or Telluride?

 

 

All are generally favored by a SW flow, but the amounts still vary widely. 

post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

 

 

Does a big snowstorm that hits Aspen also usually dump on CB and/or Telluride?

 

 

All are generally favored by a SW flow, but the amounts still vary widely. 

Does Taos get something from the same flow?  Guess I'll be paying more attention to the South CO/NM/AZ thread this season. 

post #14 of 18

Telluride and TSV are usually benefit from the same southerly tracked storm. While CB & Aspen are on a slightly more northern track. 

CB & Aspen are little more than 20 miles apart. However, since you can't get there from here. The drive is usually over 3 hours. 

post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Now you have me curious.  Especially because Telluride was added to the MCP.  I'm flying to ABQ in early Feb for a trip to Taos.  Thinking about tacking on a couple days at Telluride afterwards.

 

Does a big snowstorm that hits Aspen also usually dump on CB and/or Telluride?

love Telluride, but I don't think I'd recommend it if you only have a couple days and are looking at driving from Taos. That's an extra 12 hours in the car if the roads are in great shape, and in midwinter there's a good chance they won't be. It's a long, lonely drive through valleys full of elk and pronghorn and over at least two very high passes.

 

If you can take more time and go at a more leisurely pace (say, drive from Taos to Alamosa, then ski a day at Wolf Creek before continuing on; on the way back, ski a day at Purgatory and spend the night in Durango), it could be a really fun trip. But for focusing on MCP skiing, I think T-Ride pairs a lot better with Aspen or Alta-Snowbird.

post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Utah View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Now you have me curious.  Especially because Telluride was added to the MCP.  I'm flying to ABQ in early Feb for a trip to Taos.  Thinking about tacking on a couple days at Telluride afterwards.

 

Does a big snowstorm that hits Aspen also usually dump on CB and/or Telluride?

love Telluride, but I don't think I'd recommend it if you only have a couple days and are looking at driving from Taos. That's an extra 12 hours in the car if the roads are in great shape, and in midwinter there's a good chance they won't be. It's a long, lonely drive through valleys full of elk and pronghorn and over at least two very high passes.

 

If you can take more time and go at a more leisurely pace (say, drive from Taos to Alamosa, then ski a day at Wolf Creek before continuing on; on the way back, ski a day at Purgatory and spend the night in Durango), it could be a really fun trip. But for focusing on MCP skiing, I think T-Ride pairs a lot better with Aspen or Alta-Snowbird.


Appreciate you worrying about it, but what I didn't mention is that my ski buddy lives in Albuquerque and we are both retired.  So what I'm considering is heading back to Albuquerque from Taos, then head to T-Ride.  Might make a last minute decision based on weather.  Changing a Southwest flight is easy.  I like to explore.  Used the MCP the year before the Gathering to get a sense of whether or not to attend the Aspen Gathering because I had another reason to be in Denver in March.

post #17 of 18

You'll get some expert terrain open at CB, but not all of it. Mid January, Third Bowl and Teo2 are near guarantees to be closed, Spellbound / Phoenix are solid maybes. I think it's reasonable to expect the North Face zone, Teo1, Headwall, maybe some of the frontside runs to be open. 

 

It's a really fun town with low crowds and lots to do off the hill. 

post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Now you have me curious.  Especially because Telluride was added to the MCP.  I'm flying to ABQ in early Feb for a trip to Taos.  Thinking about tacking on a couple days at Telluride afterwards.

 

Does a big snowstorm that hits Aspen also usually dump on CB and/or Telluride?

I;m thinking about doing the same! I have the MC for this year as well.

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