My expectations were high when we visited Telluride. It was my first visit. We arrived in a whiteout that had us driving 30 miles an hour on the highway there. The first night the hill received several inches of snow and it kept snowing all the next day. The second day the sun came out and I got to ride Telluride the way it’s meant to be ridden — on steep pitches with over a foot of fresh pow.
Telluride is a town named after a rare exotic metal that became a rare — and in it’s own way exotic — destination.
Telluride has been a mythical place for me ever since I heard about it in the ski movies that my family watched each year in the weeks leading up to opening day. Narrators always spoke about Telluride with deep reverence. It was a legend.
When I finally visited in 2013 the resort it lived up to my ideas about it as a young boy. Pretty much every house in Telluride is a ski-in ski-out if you’re willing to walk a few blocks in your boots. Tourism development has been kept largely separate from the old mining town itself, helping to maintain it’s old mountain town charm. The mountains are as epic as any I’ve seen.
When we visited we asked the locals how they felt about it. This is what they told us.
Do you think Telluride could be the best ski resort in the USA?
When I opened up the Crested Butte trail map for the first time in my hotel room I was awestruck. I had never seen so much black on a trail map. Black and double-black diamond runs appeared to occupy more than half of the resort. About one-third of the Crested Butte’s 1,547 acres was, it turned out, was in fact extreme double-black diamond terrain.
The video above contains lots of useful information, but, if you want to carry have this information on the hill where it will really come in handy, bookmark this guide on your phone. Continue Reading…
We arrived at Crested Butte at the wrong time. Crested Butte is a real big mountain rider’s paradise. The north face is a huge area with amazing cliffs, chutes, and steeps. Unfortunately, it had been a few weeks since they’d had a good dump of snow, which is pretty necessary to enjoy that kind of terrain.
The saving grace of the trip was the opening of the High Lift T-Bar, which accessed previously closed terrain. So, although there was no fresh snow, there were some fresh tracks, and the local pros lit it up. This is what it looked like.
Crested Butte was a great surprise for me on this tour. I had heard little about the mountain before we arrived. When I opened up a map of the hill at the hotel desk I was pleasantly surprised by the swaths of black and double-black diamond runs blanket the north face of the mountain.
I was also very stoked about the small ski-town charm. Crested Butte is a perfect example of a small ski town, just like the one I grew up in. Authenticity like that can’t be bought or replicated. Those were all things that the locals told us they loved.
What do you think? Could Crested Butte be the best ski resort in the USA?
Heavenly certainly has a lot going for it. At 4800 acres, it’s one of the biggest ski resorts in the United States. It also stands above two unique landscapes — Lake Tahoe and the Nevada desert — which makes for beautiful views unlike those found anywhere else. Heavenly is a Vail Resorts property, and as such the mountain has photographers stationed strategically at particularly beautiful spots to take visitors’ photos, which are then sent to them via the Epic Mix app.
I travel, write stories, and take pictures for a living, but what I love more than anything is attempting ridiculous adventures in far-flung places with a total lack of planning and common sense. Nobody buys those stories, so I publish them here. If you'd like to read more about me, you can read more here.