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Trip Report: Telluride 2/20-23

post #1 of 11
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I got back from Telluride on Thursday night. I had a good time. There was never any significant new snow till following our last ski day so naturally the morning we left it was bluebird with 6"-8" of fresh new snow.

It was my first visit to Telluride since I did my ACL there on the first morning of a trip seven years ago. Since then, they've added chairs 12 and 14 (superstitious bastards) thereby increasing acreage from roughly 1000 acres to roughly 1700. Personally, I think that number is generous and reflects total inbound acreage and not actual, skiable terrain. For the relatively modest size of Telluride it's surprising how much time one spends on catwalks and dull traverses to get from one lift to another. This resulted in doing laps under succesive lifts till desperation for a change of scenery set in and then enduring a relocation.

The scenery in Telluride is spectacular, particularly up at the top pf Prospect Bowl, where the area's situation at the end of a box canyon provides a view of nearly 360 degrees of bald, and craggy peaks.

The crowds over the holiday weekend were large and there were even some (gasp) lift lines. Tuesday and Wednesday after the holiday were serene.

I dealt with Bob Gleason's shop The Bootdoctors for everything from apparel, to demos to some bootfitting issues and at every juncture, the shop excelled. It's a shame that such a great bootfitter is so relatively difficult to access. They do the best work I've encountered and do so efficiently and in a cost effective manner. Gleason's staff of mostly Austrailian, personally-trained assistants all left a great impression on me.

While I was there I had a chance to chat with Paul Hochman while he was getting footbeds made, who was in town shooting segments for The Winter Revolution. He's a very nice guy...very soft-spoken, a good listener and appreciative of feedback.

Telluride as a ski resort lacks a few amenities. There are two places to eat on-mountain and one is often closed. The other has your basic soup and burger fare at mountain prices. For a pittance more one can get lunch at 9545 at the base of lift four and get a great meal.

Before my trip I read the release about Telluride's new get tough policy on reckless skiers. What a joke. I have never been anywhere that the Patrol was so invisible. At lunch I sat and spoke with an older gentleman that wore a gold National Patrol badge on his sweather. He told me that T-Ride has an all volunteer patrol of about 50 with approx. 30 on the mountain on a given day. I'd have guessed the number closer to 6. Thankfully, I really didn't see anything at the area that helped me understand what prompted Telluride's pioneering crackdown. People seemed pretty clueful and polite there and slid with relative care. This is good as there was no way this patrol had the manpower to enforce a damned thing.

Slope ratings at Telluride remained a mystery to me through my four days skiing there. They employ double-green and double-blue designations liberally. Some single blues were tougher than some double-blues. Some double-greens were no easier than some blues. It would seem that perhaps the "double" designation simply denotes "not groomed." As for blacks and double-blacks, with one exception, a run on the town side of the ridge that had been set for a race course during the weekend, not one *single* black anywhere on the mountain was groomed. Some might delight in this but I don't/ I like steep groomers but every black on the slope was covered with major-league moguls.

Telluride the town has surprisingly good restuarants for it's size. I enjoyed La Marmotte, Rusticos and Hongas.

Overall I would recommend the place in spite of my criticisms. I'm not sure how soon I'd return, it's not easy to get to and I'll probably concentrate on places like Aspen, Vail, Steamboat and the SLC area where there's a lot more variety over a 4-5 day stretch.
post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 11
This is not a mountain for casual skiers. Telluride has some of the best steeps and bumps in the state although it has does have some nice cruisers as well. The same goes for Crested Buttte, Silverton, and Mary Jane. They make up with good terrain what they lack in amenities and grooming. If you like Steamboat (Steamboat does have the best tree skiing in the state) then try Snowmass also. You might want to avoid Aspen Highlands as well. By the way, if you can groom it, it ain't black.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
post #5 of 11
Winchcats do a decent job of grooming some pretty steep stuff.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Black is whatever is labeled black and plenty of that is groomed all over the place without winchcats. The statement was just pitch snobbery.
post #7 of 11
It really dosen't have much to do with pitch. Most black runs at places like Mary Jane, Telluride, and Crested Butte have too much irregularity to run a cat up and down. Winter park tried to make Outhouse (one of the classic Colorado bump runs) amenable to grooming for the mid-westerners by blasting out a bunch of rock ledges last year. It kind of changed the character of the run for the worse after they groomed it. I guess since more people who pay more money want groomed runs we will continue to loose unique terrain as more of of it is smoothed out and manicured. People can then go home and claimed to have skied "black" runs out west.
post #8 of 11
Did you get a chance to go the Sheridan?
Quite the tasty exotic menu they got.

My first time at Telluride was back in 1997. I don't know if they still have the policy, but at the time, if you waited more than 15 mins in a liftline, your ticket for the day was free. Personally, I absolutely love the mountain and could ski the left side (looking up) all day long. Gold Hill (or Mine Hill...whatever it's called) is always fun when it's not cruddy up there. I went back a few years later and got the impression that Telluride would become the next Aspen (for bad, not good). Do you sign any sign of that?
post #9 of 11
Oh, and their terrain park ranks among the best in my book.
post #10 of 11

Telluride Black Grooming

Maybe you did not know where to look for groomed steeps?

Telluride typically offers 2-3 Steep Runs per day.

The Front Face steep groomers are as follows:
The Plunge
Lookout (daily)
Milk Run

The first three are 2000+ vertical feet. There are few if any mountains in the US or Europe that groom steeps as long as the ones in Telluride.

On the Mountain Village side:
Woozley's Way

Telluride often rates these runs double blue --- because they are frequently groomed. However, these runs would rate expert/black diamond or more at any other mountain.
post #11 of 11
ChrisC, over Pres-Day weekend, those front face runs weren't groomed one bit, except Bushwhacker. They were great... nice extended runs with small, soft bumps on them.
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