Free Skier Hearts Telluride
Our little mountain haven, heaven to many, has been getting a whole lot of love from the main stream media these days. First Forbes, then Vogue, Architectural Digest, and W Magazine. Michael Goldberg, one-half of the new partnership that now owns the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, sent a link to this article by Donny O’Neill from FreeSkier. O’Neill maintains: “The grand scale of Telluride, Colorado, can shrink even the biggest skiing egos.”
To truly experience Telluride, Colorado you must embrace feeling small—minuscule, actually. The former mining community turned ski town has a way of dwarfing and humbling you. And it can all start with a hair-raising flight into Telluride Regional Airport (TEX), which rests at an elevation of 9,078 feet, making it the highest commercial airport in North America. If you’re a true adrenaline junky, you may even enjoy touching down into Telluride while a formidable winter storm infiltrates the region, something I experienced firsthand in late February.
After some doubt that we’d be able to land in Telluride due to the weather, our 19-seat turbo prop plane broke through the dark gray clouds revealing a snow-covered valley floor below and towering peaks with capes of white in every direction. We passed the rounded summits of Last Dollar Mountain and Whipple Mountain to the left, the foreboding, razor sharp pinnacles of the San Miguel sub-range—home to three of the state’s 58 fourteen-thousand-foot mountains—to the right while the steep ribbons of Telluride Ski Resort rested in the background.
The small plane rumbled through the air and descended toward the uplifted, cliff-riddled plateau masquerading as a runway. It seemed each of my fellow six passengers on this flight were holding their breath in anticipation of landing. The plane rocketed toward Deep Creek Mesa and with a thunk landed safely upon the seemingly microscopic landing strip, inducing the echo of a collective sigh of relief throughout the chamber. The storm continued its approach from behind, while the world-famous terrain of Telluride awaited in front.
From the comfort of the Hotel Telluride—a cozy, boutique lodge on North Cornet Street—I watched as snow dropped in buckets upon the box canyon containing the town of Telluride and its surrounding mountainous amphitheater. As night fell and the forecast predicted 24 hours of precipitation, it was clear that the next few days would be straight out of a powderhound fairy tale. And when the sun rose, the resort reported 14 inches of fresh snow since closing bell.
Some will say that storm skiing is the best type of skiing…
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