MINING FOR DIAMONDS
(1) Take the Plunge
Every now and again I am lucky enough to ski with a particular guest who regularly utilizes the Telluride Ski School. I won’t name him, but I always know that it’s going to be a special morning when I go out with him because he is adamant about one thing: skiing Telluride’s most iconic black ski trails—The Plunge and Bushwacker—on Plunge Lift (9).
Each night, the professional groomers of the Telluride Ski Resort alternate laying down the most perfect corduroy on one or the other of these two perfect pitches. Oh, and did I mention the vertical drop off these runs? A whopping 2,100 feet of pure bliss. I urge you to do the same as this guest—grab a grooming report and get over to Plunge Lift (9) ASAP in the morning for some of the most exhilarating turns you’ll make all day. And the best part is, if you get there early enough you’ll practically have these runs to yourself. Trust me—you’ll want to make lap after lap on these runs.
(2) Maximize the Morning Sun
After your legs are thoroughly warmed up from several thousand vertical feet of 40 degree slopes, make your way to Revelation Bowl via the Gold Hill Express (14). Revelation Bowl offers above tree line bowl skiing and is Telluride’s most east-facing terrain, so you’ll maximize the morning sun while enjoying unparalleled views of Bear Creek. Silvercloud is another of Telluride’s iconic steep, groomed, expert-level ski trails.
(3) Dip Your Toe
Before the temptation of Alpino Vino draws you in for an early lunch, ski past it and make your way to Woozley’s Way and back into Prospect Bowl. It’s time to dip your toe into the amazing hike-to experience that the Telluride Ski Resort offers advanced-level skiers and snowboarders. Not to worry, there is even a hike-to experience just right for expert-level skiers like yourself, the Confidence run, the first ski shot along Prospect Ridge. You can traverse into Confidence, but for a more authentic experience, take your skis off at the top of Prospect Express (12) and hike 30 yards to the top entrance into the run.
(4) Midday Après
At this point you’ll be famished from all the skiing (and hiking!) you’ve done. I highly recommend treating yourself by riding the Gold Hill Express (14) to Alpino Vino. Soaking up the sun on the Alpino Vino deck with a charcuterie plate is a lunch experience like no other. Resist the temptation to over-eat because you’ve got an afternoon of high-intensity skiing ahead of you.
(5) Southern Exposure
After lunch head toward Apex—a steep, off-piste run that softens up nicely in the afternoon because of its southern exposure. This will work out the lactic acid in your legs from lunch and will get the in the groove again. There are lots of playful lines in and out of trees in Apex that will keep you exploring for several runs on Apex Lift (6). In spring, there’s nothing better than Apex and “town” laps in the afternoon. So once you’ve had your fill of the Apex Lift terrain, follow See Forever to Milk Run—the epitome of spring corn skiing when the warm spring sun softens the snow to a perfect, milky texture. If it’s still mid-winter, opt for a run down Coonskin to finish your afternoon skiing directly into the town of Telluride.
CONQUER THE EXTREMES
1 Your Own Playground
As an expert skier in Telluride, the mountain is truly your playground. And as such, there is no better way to start your day than a hike to the top of the mountain. So, work your way up to the top of Revelation Lift (15), where opportunities abound for the expert-level skier. It’s time to experience Gold Hill, a mile-long ridge of steep, off-piste ski runs. You’ve gotten a good warm-up skiing to Revelation Bowl, so it’s the perfect time to take your skis off, throw them over your shoulder, and hike out to the iconic Gold Hill Chutes. Be forewarned—this is expert-level terrain. But for those with the experience and skill, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more “backcountry” experience in the controlled environment of in-bounds resort skiing.
2 The Perfect First Experience
Venture all the way out to the end of the ridge and hike up the Gold Hill Staircase to access Gold Hill 9 Chute (GH9). GH9 is the perfect first experience for expert level skiers new to skiing chutes. It’s relatively wide and opens up to a beautiful apron of playful skiing underneath the run-out of Palmyra Peak. View an aerial map of Gold Hill and Palmyra Peak. Make your way to the Sweet Martha zone of the apron where you’ll play amongst fun, natural features and well-spaced trees as you make your way back to the base of Gold Hill Express (14).
3 Like a Million Bucks
After experiencing the glory of Gold Hill Chutes and Palmyra Basin, it’s time to ski another iconic route in Telluride’s advanced/expert repertoire—Dynamo, then skiing left to Claude’s Couloir and finishing the run on Lower Millions. If this doesn’t simultaneously get you hooting and hollering, your heart pounding, and your legs burning, you’ll want to check your pulse.
4 Rite of Passage
Head back up the Gold Hill Express (14) and follow See Forever to Plunge Lift (9). It’s time for a rite of passage for any expert skier in Telluride—Kant-Mak-M, which is a solid 40-45 degree slope consisting of about 800 vertical feet of big, awesome moguls. The snow is almost always perfect here and, although the bumps are big, your smile will be bigger when you successfully make it down this pitch.
5 Not Done Yet
But wait, there’s more—at the bottom of Kant-Mak-M, follow the lift line traverse track and it will spit you out onto an equally-as-challenging mogul run called Spiral Stairs. As Spiral Stairs starts to flatten out, stay left and cut across to Lower Plunge to complete the bump run trifecta on the Plunge Lift terrain. If you can ski these three runs, consisting of over 2,100 vertical feet of steep bumps nonstop, please come talk to me in the Ski School offices—I may very well have a job for you!
6 Finishing Touches
Once you’ve finished Lower Plunge and have given your legs a break, finish off your town-side lap by skiing Jaws (more steep bumps!) to Cats Paw finishing at the base of the gondola in town. From here you have two options… if it’s the spring and the sun is still up, ride the gondola back up to ski Milk Run in the phenomenal corn snow that develops in the afternoon. If it’s still mid-winter and the sun is already hidden behind the ski area, take your skis off and walk in to OAK Fat Alley BBQ at the base of the gondola for a well-deserved après drink in a fun, relaxed environment that this mountain BBQ joint offers. Cheers!
Now is the perfect time to plan your last-minute trip to Telluride. Learn more about our Vacation Packages, check rates and availability online, call Telluride Resort Reservations for personalized vacation planning service, (855) 517-2906.