Telluride ’15

Telluride review ’15
(5th in the string of 3/10 “Competing CO”  @ end of ’14-15 ski season

I’m driving “the rig” out of Durango all loaded and bound for Telluride, the last and perhaps greatest resort in Colorado. (Winter Park, Steamboat, Aspen, Crested Butte, and Vail will beg to differ!) But I’m stoked.  This is my 3rd attempt to visit this gem. I’m using the southern approach so at the day’s end I’ll have encircled the San Juan Forest when I re-enter Montrose. From there I’ll slide northeasterly toward Denver. I got an early start after my the complementary continental buffet at 6 AM.

Telluride is one of the top ski resorts in the world, but it’s tough to get here. There is an airport that’s perfect – 10 minutes – from the mountain but it’s basically for small jets and private craft, Yea, the ones you and I use to keep up with our jet-setters. Montrose (MTJ) is the next best, but that is a couple hours commute and limited to flights from the major gateways, large cities. But the ’15-16 schedule has is out,

It is a bit of a drive time-wise, but it was ameliorated again by my Great Courses disc. I’ve grasped how to maximize the learning process by pausing the player during times of road stress. Plus I learned to replay vital tracks for clarity and emphasis.

Upon arriving at Telluride, I took the first entrance which delivers you at the Station Village as opposed to the historic old mining town. The area is swank, you can visualize – “hoity-toity”- at its best. I cruised about on an quick initial inspection and stopped to ask questions. The parking fee was $7.00 if I recall, but it provided a minimal walk to the “shuttle-lift” that transport Mountain Villagers to the main lift and ticket sales area.

The reception area was exquisite, reminiscent of a hotel lobby as opposed to the sales area for tickets and lesson. And as I could have guessed, all the staff serving the public was young and good-looking. And of course all were dressed well sporting smiles like onto models for tooth paste ads.  As nothing wrong with that. The whole first impression made for presentation to behold. Seriously, I knew this was gonna be a good day

I introduced myself and presented my credentials, but added I was hoping to meet some of the people in administration I had talked with in my prior contacts. The young ladt smiled politely and informed me that would not be necessary or was it likely  or was the word “impossible. It seems no one is allowed through the green door except by invitation or appointment. But I did receive a recognition in respect to my credentials.  Hey, they were very polite and efficient.

So I exited to make the most of my day skiing at my Colorado’s “last holdout.”. Well don’t you know the first person I met but literally bumping into was the director of the youth program at Telluride. We did chat briefly after I introduced myself and I expressed the interest our area had in early season clinics. Tom then introduced me to a more mature  compatriot whose name tag read “Coach”. I marvel at peradventurous moments such as this.  Coach was deeply involved in the racing program, shared Kinsey’s maiden name and hailed from New Mexico, her childhood stomping ground, But there was more relationship. Both men had to hurry on to a corporate meeting (presumably behind the Green Door), but I did warn them as I received their cards, “I’ll be back.”

I will note that on this mild spring day, a rare (I’m assured) wind was billowing upslope at a velocity approaching 70 mph. A couple chairlifts servicing the upper summits (this resort is big!) were closed. There are two sides to every tale, and the good news here is attendance was low with the lines short to non-existent. But although I’m no speed merchant, I do ski faster than the average bear. For kicks and giggles, just short of my max speed, while crossing a transition (on a moderate pitch), I stood erect and spread my arms directly into the eye of the wind. Yup, as I expected, I can to a near complete  stand still. There’s only one point to this testimony: the wind was strong that day!

I ski a good portion of the mountain to my complete delight. Telluride boasts a vernicle of 4,425 feet and offer over 2,000 acres of terrain nearly half of which is considered advance to expert.  Of course there is no 1 lift serves all, nor stretches base to peak single. I admit I didn’t quite master the resorts layout. Maybe it was a function of my rapture?, or the sheer size?, or the altitude? Or is it was just my age?

My close friend John who ties to visit Telluride advised me of his choice runs, all of which I confess I didn’t experience or couldn’t get too. I did lift up with a local rider which worked in the local snowboard market. We traded histories and I learned he was living in his truck, which a moved a couple times each night to avoid detection and apprehension by the local enforcement officers who frown on such behavior. Only in Colorado, but who suspect swank, uppity Telluride?

My boarder friend did set me straight so I finally did make it to the peak to meet my challenge of a non-stop run down Bushwhacker. I was sucking for air from mid point or sooner, but I was a thrill. I set no speed record, an remained in control – almost- fore the most part. The crew rotates their grooming throughout the week and fortunately this run was manicured the prior night. Of course only a portion of the width was manicured, so popping in and out of the mogul field that stretched the entire length was a factor that made survival feasible. But wow, did my thighs burn at the base? You betcha!

The section I did delight in took me all the way into town. It bought back memories of Red River, NM in oone could conceivably ski out onto one of the side streets, so close to the base did the houses stack. And the historic mining town amazed me with it’s size. This is was the turf of Butch Cassidy’s “Hole In The Wall Gang”, and an obviously one time boom town of mining affluence. Every building seemed classic cowboy west, well perceived or at the least restored. No modern high rises downtown, They are tastefully segregated visually and by distance to the Upper Mountain Village where our modern affluence is tastefully showcased.

I rue the fact I didn’t have time to experience the evening, much less a night in town. I did squeeze out some time to drive the streets of titillating, historic Telluride.

Retracing my tracks to the parking lot, I stopped to chat with a mountain hostess. She too was so informative and helpful.  Been a bit closer to my generation she address with openness the straight forward inquiries I leveled regarding daily life in the valley especially the concerns, opportunities and expectations a person thinking of retirement ponder if indeed one were to finally settle down to take one last stab at growing up. By the way, she loves it. Lisa verified, “Working at Telluride is a delight, and has its benefits”.

Well to say I’ve skied Telluride is a lie. I can only  say I skied “at” Telluride. But I quickly add this vow, “I shall return!”

I proceeded on my route to Denver completing the two day circuit only when I re-entered Montrose. I retraced the scenic Black Canyon at dusk and continued on without stopping over the divide and through the high plain of Playfair muscling through a late, wet spring snow to finally pull into my safe haven, Kji  and Kinsey’s house close to midnight.

Come, Ski With Me! (OK! The ski is done, but I’ve I’m gonna continue my great circle with an Easter stop in Nashville before last leg home. But CO is now officially closed.

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Skier, rider (of sorts), wanderer, teacher, coach, blogger (wannabe), perpetual child, ...