Telluride January 2006 1/2

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Last year I started what I hope will become an anual ski trip with a bunch of guys. We went to Lake Tahoe last time. I wanted to come back for more after skiing at Heavenly and Sierra last year. This year Ron Soltau (who does an awesome job organizing these trips) got us to Telluride, Colorado. If you love skiing and nature, this is the place to be. The village is old and is dripping with character that dates back to the days when miners, not skiers, were exploring the mountains.

Taking pictures wasn't really the goal of the trip, and I couldn't bring my good equipment up on tne mountain, so the quality of these shots aren't where I would like them to be, but it is hard to bring a full-size camera with lenses and filters on a ski trip.

And mountains there are! This part of Colorado has the highest concentration of peaks over 14,000 feet or 4267 meters in North America. I have never been at over 12,000 feet while still on the ground. To put that in perspective, that is close to half the height of Mt Everest, or higher than any mountain in Washington State with the exception of Mt. Rainier. To be able to ski that high up is a pretty rare treat.

While it is pretty cool to be able to ski that high up, the the village itself is at 8750 feet (about 2700 meters) which becomes apparent when you walk up a flight of stairs, especially when you first arrive. It does take some time to get acclimated to it. My driver back to the Montrose Airport (about 60 miles from Telluride) told me some people will actually get altitude sickness. While skiing you don't notice as much since you are so focused, besides it is the legs that take the most energy going down the mountain.

The skiing conditions were near perfect. The sky; almost cartoonishly blue. You could see straight over to Utah. More importantly, the snow was cold and crisp with a light layer of powder ( I would have liked a little more powder). The amazing thing about Telluride is the compartively lack of crowds. You never wait long at the lifts, and you can ski down the mountain without some Beginner in front of you doing something stupid. Ralph Lauren, Tom Cruise, and Oprah all have residents on the mountain (well, Ralph Lauren owns a huge farm nearby). What differentiates Telluride from Aspen or Vail is the awesome vistas and the smaller crowds. A big thumps to Tellruide.

The cast of January 2006 - Salty (Ron), Brownie, Becker, Tufts, Joel and me. Missing from last year - Randy, Bob and Curt.

The Brasilia EMB-120 puddle jumper that took us from Denver to Montrose

Ski in and ski out, the chairlift in front takes you up to the main mountain

From the condo - this is nasty double black diamond that takes you off the mountain and right to our door

Inside our condo which could sleep 9

Ron is all concentration

The Village of Telluride - about 2000 residents and lots of tourists

First run - Ron, Joel and I are the first ones out

Ron and I about mid-way up the mountain - nice moguls on Palmyra - which would be a black diamond run on any other mountain I've skied

Good advice - a lot of avlance control on the mountain
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