This is one impressive mountain! I expected something pretty good of this place I have heard so much about. However this being a resort I did temper my expectations. Well those were easily beaten. This place has something for everyone and a heck of a lot for BC skiers and generally advanced skiers. Groomers are kept to a minimum, some of them are not even groomed the day after a storm, only a couple of days later. These guys know how to not waste the powder… In many ways this resort, especially in the higher terrain, reminds me of Les Grands Montets in the Chamonix valley where they only groom one way down from top to bottom and leave all the rest untouched.
The valley floor here in Telluride is at 8,725 (the Coonskins lift) and the highest lift will drop you off at 12,570 feet (Revelation). That’s not all though, if you are ready to hike there are another 800 feet to gain by boot packing to the summit of Palmyra Peak at 13,320 feet. Now you are up to a total vertical of 4,500 feet. Here's a cool fact about this side contry, from the top of Palmyra Peak to the point at which you get back into lift served territory (Prospector Express base) you have dropped 2,500 feet of never groomed terrain.
There is a bunch of good lift-served skiing but for more interesting lines get out the gate beyond the lift served skiing. One huge attraction is that even though you are beyond the lift served terrain as long as you stay inbounds its all avalanche controlled. You also have gates to get out of bounds into Bear Creek which is absolutely monumental. One attraction there is the San Joaquin couloir.
This place is also full of cool history and here is one example of that: Butch Cassidy got started on his new career here. He robbed his first bank, in Telluride and took off with $24,000 from the San Miguel Valley Bank on main street (West Colorado Ave). He got away with it, the posse never caught up.
I owe a debt of gratitude to Jack, a coach with the Telluride Ski Club that I stumbled into on my very first venture out. He showed me some really good ropes and the optimal order for some of these lines that enabled me to grab bonus lines all the way down. Thanks Jack!
Here are some pictures taken today (click to enlarge):
|View up towards Palmyra Peak (13,320) although |
the summit is hidden in the clouds.
|Mountain Quail (left) and Dihedral Face (rigth) both in |
the Black Iron Bowl area.
|Close up of Mountain Quail|
|Mountain Quail in the distance,|
|Looking down Dihedral Face|
|Looking down Dihedral and beyond.|
|View of Review.|
|Looking down Review|
|Jack who showed me around.|