Mountain Living Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride The Rockies: Mountain Living Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride The Rockies
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I wrote glowingly about fall in the Rocky Mountains in Riding the Gondola, a story I posted this time of year last year. Now I’ll tell you about that funny in-between time just after most of the leaves have dropped and before most ski areas open, the period from mid October through Thanksgiving.
The bare aspens now blend into the mountainsides like bristly hairs on a crewcut. Golden cottonwoods along the rivers and russet red grasses and shrubs in the fields and on the slopes now punctuate this autumnal season. Dusted in white, the mountains stand steely grey awaiting the long, steady snowfalls that will soon accumulate. We already had a few, enough to know that winter is ready to barrel in. It’s usually snowy by Halloween in our mountain towns, Thanksgiving for sure.
Now officially off-season, lots of folks in the ski towns take off for a long break before the start of the season. The rest await anxiously the arrival of the big snows. Huge, barrel-shaped snow guns have already been placed strategically across slopes all over the Rockies. The blowing will soon begin and mother nature will be aided in the mission of creating the finest skiing in the West, indisputably the best in the world.
Loveland ski area officially opened a couple of weeks ago; they briefly closed since it had been unseasonably warm but are now open again. (Denver hit record-breaking highs in the eighties over the weekend after having had a snowed-out Rockies game a couple of weeks ago.) A-Basin is open, too, and others will soon follow. I learned today that die-hard skiers have been hiking up to Silverton for some early season back country skiing. Copper Mountain is slated for a November 6 opening. And even if only a few runs are skiable, it’s still a great way to get out and have fun and begin to get in shape for the season. I’ve skied Wolf Creek early November as well at times when the whole mountain has been open, blanketed in deep powder the sort you’d expect in the dead of winter. No wonder they’re known to be the snowiest ski mountain in all of Colorado.
Like Aspen and many other resorts, we’ll open in Telluride at Thanksgiving. Time is sure to fly between now and then and there will be many people caught without their skis waxed or their bodies properly prepared. I began ski conditioning class yesterday and even after just one session, I can tell I have a long way to go before adequately strengthening my core and legs for the slopes. (Boy, am I sore today!) Yet everyone’s talking snow and the countdown has begun to opening day. Ski movies are playing in our small-town cinemas and the excitement is mounting day by day.
Now is the time to score some great bargains on everything skiing. Many of the resorts are still promoting pre-season pass and lift ticket deals (some offers valid until October 30). Terrific lodging specials are also available, especially if you book before November 15. Flush with brand new merchandise, many of the ski and snowboard shops continue to offer discounted prices. In T-ride, the KOTO Ski Swap, a one-day event that’s held annually in mid-November (this year on the 14th), draws crowds from neighboring mountain towns that clamor for new and used ski clothing and gear at killer prices.
There’s anticipation in the air over this year’s turnout as well. But no one’s holding their breath too long since we know how important ski vacations are to people. They’re a great way for families, friends, guys and girls to get together and although ski holidays might not be totally recession proof, we know that this is where some of the best memories are forged. So it’s unlikely there will be too many breaks with tradition.
As for me, I can hardly wait for the season to begin. I have one more trip to take back east, then I hope to hunker down here in my beloved Colorado. My kitties are already in quasi hibernation mode which tells me that it’s time for me to park it as well. I’m excited about resuming my job as ski instructor in Telluride, the perfect antidote for too many hours at my desk and on the road. It’s also a great way to have and share fun with others.
Now it just has to start snowing.
Telluride Ski Resort Deals, http://tellurideskiresort.com/TellSki/hot-deals.aspx
Aspen/Snowmass Deals, http://www.aspensnowmass.com/travelinfo/package.cfm