Telluride, CO, Mar. 17-19, 2019

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Telluride, CO, Mar. 17-19, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:15 pm

We drove from Snowbird to Telluride Mar. 16. Telluride had the same substantial dump of 2+ feet that AltaBird did Mar. 13-15 and also the same sunny weather since. Telluride is higher and probably a bit cooler, so nearly all of the north facing side above town retained winter snow all three days. High temps were about 35F every day though Sunday was the warmest as it was clear and calm.

We stayed in a comfortable Airbnb across the parking lot from the Coonskin lift. The combination of the excellent snow year and Epic Pass affiliation has been excellent for business in Telluride. Hotels on short notice during our time frame were either sold out or at least as expensive as the nicer places we have stayed in the Alps.

Every day we started with Chair 9’s Bushwacker and Plunge (each appeared to be groomed every third day), 2,100 vertical dropping due north from 11,885 feet, two of the best fall line groomers anywhere.

View south from top of Chair 9:
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The San Juans are among the US mountains that have some resemblance to the Alps.

The upper left quadrant of this picture would make ideal alpine ski terrain.
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It would be quite a project to connect it to Telluride’s existing ski area though.

Revelation is at left, 13,150 foot Palmyra Peak at right.
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The tower formations at center are similar to those above Furtschellas at St. Moritz.

View SW over the Chair 5 intermediate terrain and the Chair 10 beginner runs beyond.
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We skied to Chair 14, then into Revelation Bowl, the expanded terrain since I was last here in 2004. View from skier’s right boundary of Revelation:
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At right is the Bear Creek drainage, a 3,800 vertical backcountry ski route into town. Bear Creek was off limits during our visit due to the high avalanche danger persisting from last week’s dump over weak layers common in the San Juans.

After a couple of Revelation laps we went through the gate to Gold Hill 1. The rest of Gold Hill was closed due to snow instability. However north facing Palmyra Peak was open to hiking from the Prospect Chair 12.
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You can see a line of hikers on the ridge ascending from center right, a few people on the peak and three skiers, one high up and two lower down. The hike is 1,300 vertical feet, twice that of Highlands Bowl and ending 700 feet higher, so there was no way I considered it. The sign says allow 2 hours, so perhaps comparable to Staley’s hike of Entre Rios at Las Lenas. The picture above reminds me some of Eduardo’s, which I did ski at Las Lenas because it is lift accessible.

Gold Hill 1 proved to be enough of an adventure. The fall line below Gold Hill 1 narrows into a choke so it was roped off. You need to traverse right through the trees to Little Rose. The traverses are tight and the one I took was above the rope but still too low, approximate red line in picture below.
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I had to squeeze through a couple of confined areas, and the west facing snow below was crusty and partly melt/frozen. The correct traverse (green line) was marked by wooden green circles nailed to trees along it and fortunately Liz saw those and went the right way.

I skied Little Rose, met Liz halfway down and we decided to ski groomers the rest of the day. Here’s the view of all the Gold Hill Chutes from the Prospect chair:
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Only the first one at far left was open.

After a Prospect lap, we skied Galloping Goose to the Lynx poma about 3PM, then Sundance down to the Meadows base. The outlying lifts all close 3:15 or 3:30, but we rode the Chondola and Chair 4 to get to Chair 5. It too is posted as closing 3:30, but fortunately it has been extended to 4PM in late season. We skied Polar Queen and Stormin’ Norman, then Butterfly on Chair 4. We descended into town mostly via Telluride Trail.
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Sunday I skied 21,600 vertical.

Monday started out mostly sunny but was completely overcast from noon onwards. Thus we stuck with chair 9’s packed powder even longer, following the Plunge and Bushwacker groomers with one of Telluride’s famous mogul runs. Liz on Kant-Mak-M:
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After that we needed a break with some gumbo at Giuseppe’s:
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Giuseppe’s and the nearby Vino Alpino are the highest restaurants in the United States. Note also the dense forest behind Giuseppe’s at 11,885 altitude.

We tested the chair 5 groomers at 1PM and found them in excellent condition despite the west exposure and no sun. Liz is here on Silvertip, a short mogul run dropping north between the two main groomers.
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This was one of the first places Adam skied powder at age 7 on our 1992 trip.

Next we rode chair 6 and skied to Spiral Stairs, which has perhaps the most impressive view down into town.
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We thought Spiral Stairs’ steepest pitch was a bit longer than Kant-Mak-M’s.

I continued into town via Bail Out, expecting to ride chair 8 back to meet Liz at chair 9. But Chair 9 closes at 1:30 so I had to use the gondola and Telluride Trail to Lookout.

By the time we got into Prospect Bowl it was past 3PM, too late to take any laps there. So we rode 14 and skied See Forever to Mountain Village. From Chair 4 we skied ungroomed Humboldt Draw, which Liz remembered for practicing moguls on her first visit 20 years ago. To no surprise they were crunchy in the overcast Monday. We skied Milk Run to town to finish the day, 23,900 vertical for me. On both Sunday and Monday we could sideslip through some trees below Kid’s Hill to our building at Mountainside Inn.

On Monday we walked through the center of town and saw this Christmas tree made from skis, star on top from poles.
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It was lit after dinner under the near full moon.
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Anybody else remember Molnar skis?
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Molnars were favored by some skiers for powder in the 1970’s as they had soft flex and were slightly wider. No one back then asked the question, “Why don’t we make them a LOT wider?”

Tuesday started with scattered cloud and became mostly sunny for the rest of the day. However there was a breeze, so temperatures/snow softening was between Sunday and Monday.

As we had packed to leave Telluride, we got out early but Liz had to ski into Mountain Village for morning coffee. We were both pleased to see that Telluride grooms the Chair 4 runs intensively to minimize morning hardpack despite the west exposure. Nonetheless after coffee we went to Chair 9 to ski Bushwacker and freshly groomed Plunge.

Liz next got her mogul fix on Chair 6’s Zulu Queen.
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Zulu Queen is mostly shaded by the trees, as is skier’s left of Allais Alley below.
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These were the most challenging runs Liz skied at Telluride 20 years ago.

From the top of Chair 6 we have a good view of the distinctive San Joaquin Couloir.
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Note the powder tracks in the foreground leading into the Bear Creek drainage.

We then skied See Forever to Gorrono Ranch for lunch. Gorrono Ranch is noted for specialty burgers and meat sandwiches far above the usual ski area norm in quality.

After lunch we skied down to Meadows and rode the 2.5 mile long Sunshine Express to get to Prospect. The lower half of Sunshine is similar to Deer Valley, crossing roads and numerous mansions. Sunshine is also one of the premier beginner terrain pods anywhere for its length, excellent snow and scenic views. An instructor requested we take 4-year-old Ellie on the ride up.

Liz had never skied Prospect before as it opened between her visit and my second one in 2004. She took a couple of runs there while I hiked looker’s left up the ridge toward Black Iron Bowl. The sign says it’s half an hour to Mountain Quail. But at 12,000 feet it took me 15 minutes to climb all of 170 vertical feet. At that point Lakeview looked good enough for me.
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I also had to consider we would be on the road with 4 more ski areas ahead before any break.

Lakeview still had winter snow but it had stiffened up some over the past 4 days. The short hike and ski route are marked on this picture I took Sunday.
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The rest of the day was all cruisers: Sandia and Magnolia in Prospect, a lap in Revelation, then West Drain and Milk Run on the north side. I finished with 23,900 vertical.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
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Re: Telluride, CO, Mar. 17-19, 2019

Postby sierra_cement » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:29 pm

Spectacular scenery. No wonder many consider Telluride one of the top resorts in USA. I also enjoyed reading this blog: https://skinorthamerica100.com/telluride-colorado/

I hope to make it to Telluride in a few years when I get the Epic pass again. Visit Sun Valley, Telluride. The lodging situation in Telluride scares me. There are no points hotels and Airbnbs tend to be very expensive with onerous cancellation terms.
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Re: Telluride, CO, Mar. 17-19, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:51 pm

I would hazard a guess that Telluride town vs. Mountain Village is like Aspen vs. Snowmass. As a retired couple we enjoy the historic towns and fine dining (Cosmo and 221 South Oak were outstanding on this visit).

January 1-5 in 2014 we stayed in a reasonably priced condo in Snowmass, booked only 10 days in advance. I suspect Mountain Village condos are not as expensive as the town of Telluride. With kids, especially beginners, you surely want to be based in Mountain Village. Zrankings includes Telluride in Top Ten for families but surprisingly not for beginners. It's hard for me to imagine better beginner terrain anywhere than the runs from Sunshine Express.

I won't make the case that Snowmass or Telluride Mountain Village are bargain resorts. But I do agree with Zrankings that they are close to ideal in terms of what most families want in a ski resort. So it's worth the investigation to see whether something can be found within one's budget. The lodging situation looked tough from our perspective, but we booked less than one week ahead during a big snow year so I hesitate to generalize.

Two key points about Mountain Village:
1) The free gondola makes it easy to go into town in the evenings.
2) 9,500 feet is very high sleep altitude, so not a good idea if anyone in your family has known altitude sensitivity.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Telluride, CO, Mar. 17-19, 2019

Postby sierra_cement » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:17 pm

Everything about Telluride is perfect until you start planning a trip. I tried this year as I have the full Epic pass. Flying is very expensive into MTJ and it's a long drive from closest major airport served by Southwest: ABQ. United has a flight from SFO to MTJ that I had set up an alert for late March. But they never released any award seats. No wonder this difficulty in going there makes uncrowded and a great resort for beginner and families. When I graduated to skiing blues and blacks, I was able to escape the beginner crowds on obscure lifts. I couldn't do that as a green slope skier in Nov/Dec.

Snowmass has a bunch of points/timeshare properties. The Westin is a great deal on points. I have enough points for a week and I'm considering going there in March/April time frame next. I'm getting the Ikon base pass for spring skiing at Squalpine so might as well use it for one of the best destinations on Ikon.
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Re: Telluride, CO, Mar. 17-19, 2019

Postby sierra_cement » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:20 pm

The elevation is also a problem for Telluride trip. I will do a 10 day trip, with limited activity on first few days. I had trouble in Keystone and then I started drinking a lot of water on my other trips to Beaver Creek and Park City. I do have difficulty sleeping first couple of nights. My wife and daugher have elevation problems too.
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Re: Telluride, CO, Mar. 17-19, 2019

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:30 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:the dense forest at 11,885 altitude.

Always shocking to note after skiing in the Alps.

sierra_cement wrote:United has a flight from SFO to MTJ that I had set up an alert for late March. But they never released any award seats.

It wasn't the right time period for your visit (only through the second week of March) but did you take advantage of the United award-flight sale that I noted just before Xmas? Sorry, the discussion was part of a thread in the Europe forum.
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Re: Telluride, CO, Mar. 17-19, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:55 pm

sierra_cement wrote:The elevation is also a problem for Telluride trip. I will do a 10 day trip, with limited activity on first few days. I had trouble in Keystone and then I started drinking a lot of water on my other trips to Beaver Creek and Park City. I do have difficulty sleeping first couple of nights. My wife and daughter have elevation problems too.


I'm going to say cross Telluride (and anyplace you would sleep at ~8,500+) off your list having three family members with altitude sensitivity. The exception would be a two week trip where the first week was at some intermediate altitude.

You could also test the effectiveness of a Diamox prescription. But you should do that at a drive-to resort like Mammoth to make sure it works before committing big $$$ to someplace like Telluride.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Telluride, CO, Mar. 17-19, 2019

Postby sierra_cement » Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:20 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:
Tony Crocker wrote:the dense forest at 11,885 altitude.

Always shocking to note after skiing in the Alps.

sierra_cement wrote:United has a flight from SFO to MTJ that I had set up an alert for late March. But they never released any award seats.

It wasn't the right time period for your visit (only through the second week of March) but did you take advantage of the United award-flight sale that I noted just before Xmas? Sorry, the discussion was part of a thread in the Europe forum.
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=12700#p79444" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;


I didn't take advantage of that sale. I used Southwest points to fly to RNO, SLC and DEN this season.
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Re: Telluride, CO, Mar. 17-19, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:40 am

My ex-wife was in distress at 9,000+ feet for 2-3 days sleeping in Crested Butte in 1992 and Taos in 1993. So in 1997 at Keystone she got a Diamox prescription and was much better.
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
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Re: Telluride, CO, Mar. 17-19, 2019

Postby Marc_C » Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:43 pm

sierra_cement wrote:The elevation is also a problem for Telluride trip. I will do a 10 day trip, with limited activity on first few days. I had trouble in Keystone and then I started drinking a lot of water on my other trips to Beaver Creek and Park City. I do have difficulty sleeping first couple of nights. My wife and daugher have elevation problems too.

If it's just for the first couple of nights, that's not an altitude problem - that's normal for someone who lives at sea level. When I lived in CT and semi-regularly camped and climbed in Tuolumne Meadows (8600', with a lot of the climbing between 9K-10K), it would take me about 3 days before I stopped feeling crappy. Yes, lots of water and minimal to no alcohol those first days makes a ton of difference.
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Re: Telluride, CO, Mar. 17-19, 2019

Postby Marc_C » Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:49 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:
sierra_cement wrote:You could also test the effectiveness of a Diamox prescription. But you should do that at a drive-to resort like Mammoth to make sure it works before committing big $$$ to someplace like Telluride.

Yes, try it in a low commitment environment first. While it definitely helps most people, it does have side effects, many of which mimic altitude sickness or AMS:

Common side effects of acetazolamide include:

dizziness,
lightheadedness, and
an increased amount of urine, especially during the first few days as your body adjusts to the medication.
Other side effects of acetazolamide include blurred vision,
dry mouth,
drowsiness,
loss of appetite,
changes in the sense of taste,
stomach upset,
nausea,
vomiting,
diarrhea,
headache,
tingling feeling,
ringing in the ears (tinnitus),
confusion, and
tiredness.
-marc
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Re: Telluride, CO, Mar. 17-19, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:03 pm

Diamox is a diuretic. You will be peeing more, so staying hydrated is extra important.

The above is the usual extensive laundry list for a prescription drug. Aside from the diuretic effects, the most common I've observed (not personally) is tingling fingers.

It's one thing to take on climbing or other rigorous activity without some acclimatization time in advance. But if you feel too crappy to ski the first 2-3 days of a one week vacation, that's another story. You need to choose a resort with a lower sleep altitude or try Diamox.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Telluride, CO, Mar. 17-19, 2019

Postby Sbooker » Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:38 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Diamox is a diuretic. You will be peeing more, so staying hydrated is extra important.

The above is the usual extensive laundry list for a prescription drug. Aside from the diuretic effects, the most common I've observed (not personally) is tingling fingers.

It's one thing to take on climbing or other rigorous activity without some acclimatization time in advance. But if you feel too crappy to ski the first 2-3 days of a one week vacation, that's another story. You need to choose a resort with a lower sleep altitude or try Diamox.


I’m thinking if Diamox helps with altitude sickness and it’s a diuretic then beer may help too. Which suits me just fine.
Seriously though I find it smart to keep alcohol intake to less than 6 beers the first night sleeping at over 8000 feet. :lol:
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Re: Telluride, CO, Mar. 17-19, 2019

Postby Marc_C » Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:12 am

Tony Crocker wrote:It's one thing to take on climbing or other rigorous activity without some acclimatization time in advance. But if you feel too crappy to ski the first 2-3 days of a one week vacation, that's another story. You need to choose a resort with a lower sleep altitude or try Diamox.

You bet! I've never gone to the Meadows for less than a two week trip.
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Re: Telluride, CO, Mar. 17-19, 2019

Postby jamesdeluxe » Fri Mar 22, 2019 9:59 am

And then there's Admin and crew making me bootpack up Jitterbug on my arrival day from 50 feet above sea level.
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