Just under a quarter of Telluride’s terrain is rated beginner and the resort is a great place to learn, with an excellent ski and snowboard school offering specially tailored classes. The wide, uncrowded slopes served by the Sunshine lift (10), Ute Park lift (11) and Prospect Bowl lift (12) are all good for first-timers to learn and then progress on, with trails up to two miles (3km) long. There is also a wonderful 4.6 mile (7.2km) trail, Galloping Goose, also served by the Prospect Bowl lift (12) that’s suitable for beginners once they know how to turn and stop.
More than a third of Telluride’s terrain is rated intermediate with wonderful long runs on one of the five biggest verticals in the US. There’s a good mix of terrain with everything from perfectly groomed cruising trails to manageable mogul runs and intermediate standard glades (thinly wooded runs) and powder bowls. There’s even a heliskiing operation which can access intermediate standard terrain. The main intermediate area is accessed by the Village Lift (4), the Palmyra Lift (5) and the Prospect Lift (12). See Forever is one of Telluride's most popular trails and a ‘must ski’ – it’s 5km long with fantastic views towards Utah's La Sal mountains.
A self-timing race course (Nastar) is located on the Bumpy Butterfly run, under the Village Express Lift (4), and is open daily.
About two-fifths of Telluride’s terrain is rated advanced with nearly 40 black runs on the mountain , the toughest arguably Locals Las, served by lift 9. The resort has been opening more and more new terrain for good skiers, most recently all of the famed Gold Hill Chutes from Gold Hill Ridge have opened following on from Revelation Bowl the previous winter. The chutes offer 500m vertical descents into Prospect Basin with mountain faces, chutes and couloirs above the tree line. Away from the groomed terrain Telluride also has back country terrain in Bear Creek Basin, accessed from the top of the resort, and Colorado’s only heliski operation, Helitrax, which can take you in to a 250-square-mile area of untouched terrain with runs suited to intermediate and advanced skiers.
Snowboard / Freestyle Skiing
Telluride’s terrain parks and overall snowboarding scene have been highly rated in ski media user polls of recent years, with one ranking their main park (of three) the best in Colorado. And of course Colorado has some of the world’s best terrain parks. The resort is also a rare North American stop on the Snowboard World Cup circuit. Telluride’s fast efficient lift system makes it easy to get about the mountain too and of course the extensive freeriding and back country terrain means there’s normally plenty of powder to enjoy.
The main park has a superpipe among its long list of assets and is floodlit for night jibbing several evenings per week (additional lift ticket required) when it is served by the Race Hill Lift (Lift 2). During the day the main Village Express (Lift 4) can be used to reach it. Telluride’s parks include the Hoot Brown Park for advanced riders and the Ute Park with beginner features.
Rather than just preaching about how great their terrain parks are Telluride invites anyone with a view on the matter to send in their suggestions on how to make the parks better still
Cross country skiing is becoming increasingly popular in Telluride, where the beautiful scenery makes the sport particularly pleasurable and the altitude means the snow is normally good throughout the season. There are numerous loops all around the town and ski area, suiting all standards and both classic and skating styles. Tuition and rentals are both available, again for all ability levels. The six areas close to the town and resort are found in the town park, in the valley floor (20km of tracks), at Trout Lake (6km of tracks), Priest Lake (12km of tracks) and on the golf course in the Mountain Village (another 12km of tracks) with an altitude loop at the top of Chair Ten (TopAten) where there are 10km of tracks in the ski area itself.
Rentals, maps, tuition and other information are obtainable from Telluride Nordic Center (+1 (970) 728 1144) and Telluride Nordic Association Telluride (+1 (970) 728 1144).
Average Snow and Weather Conditions
Telluride’s lifts stretch above 3,700m, making the resort’s slopes among the 20 highest on the planet and so when the snow falls, as it does in abundance with an 825cm (about 27 feet) average annual accumulation, it hangs around. The area does, in common with most other leading North American ski centres, try to open its slopes in late November each year to cash in on the lucrative Thanksgiving Holiday and, again in common with other leading North American resorts, early on it may be reliant on its snowmaking system, which covers about 10% of the slopes, but by mid-December it is almost always dumping down heavily with light, fluffy powder.