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Telluride Attack Plan ???
I have been skiing there off and on for 35 years, including twice last week, so I am probably in the "expert" category you are seeking. Assuming that you are an expert skier, and can handle almost anything the mountain has to offer, I can give you the plan my friends and I usually use.
T-ride has a nice quality of separating the lifts/terrain so that you do not have to stand in lift lines with intermediate skiers, although it never has much in the way of lines on any lifts. From a skiing perspective I completely avoid lifts 4 and 5, which have intermediate groomers, or very short bump sections. Lift 5 has a nice mellow angle bump run in the middle of it, but long flats before and after.
We usually start with lift 9. They always groom Bushwacker or the Plunge every night. Those two and See Forever to Lookout provide some steep warm up cruisers. For the second or third run try the far left side of Mammoth to the intersection with Joint Point. There is a trail to the left into the trees that will get you back on the Plunge. That way you can ski some bumps and get back on the groomed, at which point you can cruise the Plunge or fork to the Spiral Stairs if you want more bumps. Also try Log Pile from Locals Glade or the Last Chance road off the Plunge. The top is pretty gnarly if you get in off See Forever, but it skis nicely from the lower entrances.
When you hit the road at the end of Log Pile you are at the top of the West Drain, but I do not think there is a sign. Do not let the one bump wide ditch at the top scare you. This is a classic run that should be tried, but not until your bump legs are warmed up. It opens up to a bump and half wide farther down. East Drain is shorter, but also drains you into some narrow forced bump turns. I have always felt the Drains are the best ski instructors there are. If you are not staying forward on your skis and carving your turns, you will be punished immediately with unwanted speed. If it is a cold day and you want to warm up, ski the West Drain. It will work you, but is always shaded and has good snow.
After a few on Lift 9 hit lift 6, but only ski from Alais Alley around to skiers left to Silver Glade. These are shaded and have good snow. The Apex Glade ski has thin cover and will be icy, except late on a sunny day. Be sure and check out Happy Thought, which is not an obvious choice from the top. You can get in it at the top off Lift 6, or the middle coming over from Lift 9. Skiers left on Lift 6 and all of Lift 9 will have some of the best snow (shaded) on the mountain.
Gold Hill still has a lot of rocks and stumps showing. Dynamo and Electra are in good shape, and Little Rose is not bad, but you will still find junk in the mogul troughs of most bump runs. You will see good snow under the Gold Hill Chair, but getting to it involves some bare spots, whatever direction you approach from. There have been multiple avalanches and people hurt going out of bounds off the back of Gold Hill into Bear Creek drainage, which skis into town, so it should be avoided.
Revelation Bowl is in pretty nice shape, except on the far skiers right. Gold Hill Chute #1 was the only "extreme" terrain open on that side last week. It skied really well, but I do not recommend it if you have good skis because the Goat Trail exit involves walking on a lot of rock (fixed rope traverse across a cliff, and then down and icy ramp that is tough if you take your skis off). The hike-to terrain off the Prospect lift was OK, but a lot of effort for what you get.
Another hidden gem is the North Chute. You get in about 100 yards down Look Out via a wild traverse. This is a short shot, but always has good snow because it never sees the sun. When you hit the road (Telluride Trail), instead of continuing down the lower North Chute, go 25 yards down the road to the right and try the Christmas Tree Chute. Another bump and half wide classic.
The town side runs off the Coonskin Lift tend to be slick, and I would recommend the Telluride Trail road instead of the last pitch to town on Coonskin. The mountain just reached the 50" base minimum for good skiing, so you will still find exposed junk on any ungroomed run, and the trees are still pretty dicey because of the thin cover.
The restaurants on the top of Lift 9 and the Prospect chair have free sunscreen and water, both of which should be used in abundance. Altitude inhibits your thirst mechanism, so you are thirstier than you think, and the terrain at T-ride is guaranteed to make you sweat.
At Telluride you find out how well your boots fit, because you will be in every freaking corner of them. If you need some boot tweaking, try the Boot Doctors in the Mountain Village. They know their stuff.
They call it "the most beautiful place you will ever ski," and I guaranty the views will blow your mind. Enjoy!
P.S. When skiing the Spiral Stairs the bottom is separated into 3 lanes. The upper left and right sides ski well, but take the exit on skiers right, or you will be climbing over rocks.
Edited by mudfoot - 2/3/10 at 9:19am
Milk Run can also be an excellent steep cruiser as can Coonskin. Mammoth, Joint Point and Electra had the best snow. A fun combo is Mammoth to Bushwacker after it's been groomed.
The hike to terrain at Prospect is fun for a few minutes, but then the run out kills the buzz. The views on top are great however and worth checking out at least once.
Have fun, but more snow is needed than the current 48" to cover hazards and open more options in the trees and elsewhere.
Normally I would feel bad encouraging people to ski one of my favorite places, but I was there on Sunday and (as usual) the place was empty. We literally skied onto every lift. On Wednesday it was down right lonely.
Telluride is an amazing ski mountain, but is expensive and hard to get to. If you want uncrowded steeps, and don't mind bumps by the bizillion, it cannot be beat.
For those in the know, would you change the way you approach the mountain during what looks like will be a freeze/thaw cycle? Thanks in advance! I'm sure it will be fun, no matter what happens.
Remember, the top of the Revelation lift is almost 4,000 feet above town, so it stays a lot colder up on the mountain. Only a very small portion of the upper runs will go through melt freeze, and only if they face directly into the sun.
Here's the latest forecast:
Tonight...Partly cloudy. Lows 15 to 25. South winds 10 to 15 mph after midnight.
Wednesday...Partly sunny. Highs in the 30s. South winds 10 to 15 mph shifting to the southwest in the afternoon.
Wednesday Night...Mostly cloudy. Lows 15 to 25. South winds 10 to 15 mph.
Thursday...Cloudy. A 30 percent chance of snow in the afternoon. Highs in the 30s. South winds 10 to 20 mph.
Thursday Night...Mostly cloudy. Snow likely in the evening... Then a chance of snow after midnight. Lows 15 to 25. Chance of snow 60 percent.
Friday...Partly sunny with a 20 percent chance of snow. Highs in the 30s.
Friday Night...Partly cloudy. Lows 15 to 25.
Saturday...Partly sunny. A 20 percent chance of snow in the afternoon. Highs in the 30s.
Saturday Night Through Monday...Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Lows 15 to 25. Highs 25 to 35.
Looks like another wee boys trip is in the works for Friday through Saturday or Sunday and I just got a hall pass. See whoever there. The new stairs and GH Chute 9 are on the itinerary.
Well, it didn't suck. Great snow, coverage and sunshine with more snow on the way.
(Sorry for the poor Blackberry images....spaced the camera) The hike above the Gold Hill Chutes:
Shot towards the new stairs (left) and Palmyra: The left then right into Chute 9: North flank of Palmyra down to the top of Prospect lift: Bottom of Chute 9: Looking up Chute 10 (closed today): Bottom of the chutes and the bowl below: Back up to the stairs and Chutes 9 and 10. Hopefully we'll be back over this week.....