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Fat Tuesday In Telluride

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BY MARK LASSETER

After 12 days of rain late January in Whistler it was time to get a powder fix after not having a single one all season. Tired of getting photo after photo from friend Vince Boelema of the pounding storms in the San Juans, specifically in Telluride, it was time to head down there. It was off to be sleepless in Seattle arriving at 1 AM at the airport in my normal bench spot by the Starbucks to get the cheap flight at 6AM that flew right into Telluride via Phoenix, total convenience. This week was also Mardi Gras which is eventful in Telluride.

 

After meeting up for afternoon cocktails up on the hill and suffering from high altitude sickness, it was time to take some altitude pills and pass out on Vince's couch. An early wake up call the next day was in order as Vince was going to take me into Telluride's backcountry area known as Bear Creek. It was a perfect Bluebird day and only a 10 minute walk to the gondola from Vince's house through the cool small town of Telluride. The town of Telluride has maintained its' small town western feel with no franchises or other such businesses allowed to operate in Telluride.

 

After a straight boot pack up through the gate we were in Bear Creek. With many options from the top such as the easiest dropping straight in, Vince wanted to show off the surroundings so we traversed and side stepped up to the far side. Milking it for all it was worth, we took advantage of the wide open pitches and creamy snow with Vince showing off his special backyard.

 

Bear Creek also had to have some of the best scenery I have ever seen. After taking it all in and working our way down, we hooked up with some of T-ride's local freeride crew, behind some trees who were lining up a cliff. After the huck session it was time to ski down a pretty narrow chute and then down climb/side jump down an area called 'The Monkey Bars' to get out of Bear Creek. Aptly named due to the permanently kept ropes pegged into the approach above the sketchy descent over rocks, you really need to hold onto the ropes while exiting, definite p-tex job required after this descent.

 

The next day we were off to nearby Silverton (see Keeping it Smooth in San Juans Part 1) and on the drive back 2 nights later to Telluride it was puking the light fluffy stuff and knew that Tuesday morning would be indeed be a Fat Tuesday to remember. With 14 inches overnight, getting to the main lift at only 9:15 I thought I would be in store for a huge typical powder day lineup. But not in Telluride, there was only about 175 people there waiting in anticipation at Chair 4. Lucky again to be shown around by Vince we trashed and bashed our way through secret tree spots and timing chair openings at exactly the right time, which never had more than 5 minute waits anyways. The snow was the lightest and most consistent I had ever skied anywhere.

 

The whole town was going off in a frenzy on the hill this day, with hoots and hollers all while skiing and snowboarding with big Mardi Gras beads around their necks. At 3PM I got my biggest face shots of the day in a tucked away unmarked tree run located only as high as mid mountain. At 3:15 I had to beg Vince to stop as I was spent!

 

So of course to top off the perfect Tuesday it was off to the Half Moon bar for a nightcap and see Colorado's version of Porn Funk, 'Hairy Ape BMX'. The bar was going off with energy that had been brewing all day in town from the epic day and was amplified by the humorous and playful style of the band similar to Whistler's Slow Nerve Action and in addition sniping out the occasional rap vocals as well. 'Yo, yo its about the 3 P's. Had #1 on the hill today, enjoying # 2 as I dance the night away, later tonight hoping #3 will be laying next to me. Peace in the 970, word.'

 

DETAILS

www.telski.com

Season: Late November to April 3, 2005 Getting there: fly into Telluride (TEX) or Montrose (MTJ)

How to be cool: Combine a visit to Telluride with one to Silverton Mad props to Vince and Rachel and Ted Loehr at Telluride Ski Resort!

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