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Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding
Telluride Ski Resort. Dubbed "the most beautiful place you'll ever ski," the Telluride Ski Resort once was known as an experts-only ski area. Indeed, the north-facing trails are impressively steep and long, and the moguls can be massive. The terrain accessed by Chairlift 9, including the famed Spiral Staircase and the Plunge, is for experts only. Hikes to Gold Hill, Bald Mountain, Black Iron Bowl, and Palmyra Peak deliver seriously steep chutes and plenty of natural terrain.
But then there is the other side—literally—of the ski area, the gently sloping valley called the Gorrono Basin, with long groomed runs excellent for intermediates and beginners. On the ridge that wraps around the ski area's core is the aptly named See Forever, a long cruiser that starts at 12,255 feet and seems to go on and on. The best areas for beginners are the Meadows, off Lift 1, and Galloping Goose, a long winding trail off Lifts 12 or 10. Near Gorrono Basin, off Lift 4, is another section that includes super-steep, double-diamond tree runs on one side and glorious cruisers on the other.
Slide through a Western-style gate and you come to Prospect Bowl, a 733-acre area with a network of runs cut around islands of trees. One cluster of intermediate runs is served by a swift high-speed quad (Lift 12). The terrain here runs the gamut from nearly flat beginner terrain to double-diamond chutes, cliff bands, and open glades.
Telluride also has four terrain parks, one open at night, for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. 565 Mountain Village Blvd., Telluride, CO, 81435. 970/728-6900 or 800/778-8581. www.tellurideskiresort.com. Late Nov.-early Apr., daily 9-4.
3,530-foot vertical drop; 1,700 skiable acres; 24% beginner, 38% intermediate, 38% advanced/expert; 2 gondolas, 7 high-speed quad chairs, 2 triple chairs, 2 double chairs, 2 surface lifts, 1 moving carpet.
Lessons and Programs
Telluride Ski & Snowboard School. At this well-regarded school, adult half-day group clinics are $85, and full-day adventure classes are $140. Lessons are available for alpine and telemark skiers as well as snowboarders. Children's programs are $160 per day and include a lift ticket, lesson, and lunch. The Women's Week programs include three or five days of skills-building classes with female instructors that cost $675 to $1,075, including lift tickets. Sessions are scheduled for January, February, and March. 565 Mountain Village Blvd., Telluride, CO, 81435. 970/728-7540. www.tellurideskiresort.com.
The one-day walk-up rate is $92. On multiday, advance-purchase tickets the daily rate can drop as low as $59.
Paragon Ski and Sport. Telluride's oldest and best-known ski shop rents all manner of skis, boots, and snowboards, along with backcountry gear and snowshoes. It also offers ski tuning, boot fitting, and repairs. 213 W. Colorado Ave., Telluride, CO, 81435. 970/728-4525. www.paragontelluride.com.
Telluride Sports. All manner of ski and snowboard rentals are available from the ubiquitous Telluride Sports, with several locations in Telluride and Mountain Village. The shop will deliver everything to your hotel for no extra charge. 150 W. Colorado Ave., Telluride, CO, 81435. 970/728-4477 or 877/754-7991. www.telluridesports.com.
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