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Our Guide to Skiing at the Telluride Ski Resort

Friday • August 10, 2018

Telluride is known for being a destination ski town – and for good reason. The Telluride Ski Resort is in a world of its own. Rated the #1 ski resort in North America by Condé Nast for five of the past six years, it offers a good mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced/expert trails ideal for your winter ski trip. 

With a total of 148 trails and 19 lifts on 2,000+ acres of skiable terrain, there's so much just waiting for you to enjoy this winter. Here are our favorite trails. 

 

Best Beginner Slopes

 

Local favorites: Double Cabin, Galloping Goose, Village Bypass

Skiing at Telluride may seem daunting the first time, but there is a slew of beginner trails perfect for easing into the slopes in Telluride. Almost 25 percent of the entire resort is beginner trails, making it a perfect place for even the newest skiers and boarders to learn. 

Prospect Bowl

The Prospect Bowl, which begins at the Prospect Express, is a popular place for beginner and intermediate skiers to hang out. Madison, Magnolia and Sandia are a few of the easier trails in this bowl that are groomed daily, while the Galloping Goose, the Telluride Ski Resort’s longest trail at 4.6 miles, also begins at the Prospect Express. 

Best Lift Access: Prospect Express

Sunshine

The trails accessible from the Sunshine Express (Lift 10) are another great place for beginners to start their day. The Sunshine Express takes skiers and snowboarders to an area separate from the advanced and expert terrain, ensuring that the company you keep has a similar skill level. Plus, most of the area is groomed daily. Popular trails in this area include Double Cabin and the Galloping Goose. 

Best Lift Access: Sunshine Express

 

Great for Kids

Local favorites: Enchanted Forest

The Telluride Ski Resort is an extremely family-friendly destination, with plenty of slopes designed for beginner skiers. For those who don’t want to venture out on their own, the Telluride Ski Resort also offers Ski and Snowboard School for all ages and skill levels. 

The Meadows

If you’re looking for a great place for the kids to start their ski and snowboarding careers, the Meadows is a great place to begin. With six beginner-rated trails all in the same area, skiers here will be alongside others with the same skill level. A newly-installed 320-foot covered surface lift helps bring those learning where they need to be, and a terrain-based learning program helps them learn to love the mountain. 

Best Lift Access: Chondola

Enchanted Forest

For kids who have a little more experience but are looking to ease into more advanced trails, the Enchanted Forest is the perfect stepping stone. Located off the Sunshine Express (Lift 10), the Enchanted Forest trail (rated blue) brings skiers past wooden statues and hidden tree gnomes (as if the day wasn’t exciting enough). Complete the route on Teddy’s Way, the Lower Galloping Goose or Double Cabin, all of which are beginner trails.

Best Lift Access: Sunshine Express

 

You Can Probably Do These If You’ve Skied Before

 

Local Favorites: Misty Maiden, Dew Drop

One of the most unique things about the Telluride Ski Resort is that there is at least one intermediate run off every lift on the mountain, and some of the most scenic sections of the mountain are accessible from these trails. Approximately 35 percent of the ski trails at the Telluride Ski Resort are considered intermediate, leaving plenty of terrain open for exploring. 

See Forever

See Forever is one of the most popular intermediate ski trails in Telluride. The trail is groomed daily and offers scenic views of the entire Telluride region, including Mt. Wilson, Wilson Peak, Mt. Sneffels and on a clear day, the La Sal Mountains in Utah. 

Best Lift Access: Lifts 6, 9, 14, 15

Polar Queen Express Zone

Polar Queen has the largest selection of intermediate terrain at the Telluride Ski Resort. Take the Village Express (Lift 4) up and head down Boomerang and Cakewalk to get on the Polar Queen Express (Lift 5). There you will find plenty of intermediate trails, as well as the Bon Vivant Restaurant. Dew Drop is a local favorite from this lift because of the fresh powder it offers in an intermediate setting. 

Best Lift Access: Polar Queen Express

Village Express

The Village Express also offers direct access to a handful of intermediate runs that range from the green Village Bypass to the double-blue Humboldt Draw. Misty Maiden is a popular trail that features the Gorrono Ranch, a great spot to sit back, relax and sip on a drink while chilling on one of the colorful Adirondack chairs with sweeping views of Mt. Wilson.

Best Lift Access: Village Express

 

Experts Only – Proceed With Caution

Local Favorites: Mountain Quail, Dihedral Chute, Genevieve, Giant Steps, Kant-Mak-M to Spiral Stairs to Lower Plunge, Electra to Lower Dynamo

These are only for those who are comfortable cruising down the side of 13,000-foot peaks after an extensive hike. Most of these are double-black diamond trails, making them ideal for advanced skiers and snowboarders only. 

Palmyra Peak

For some unbelievable views and even better powder, Palmyra Peak is the place to be. This hike-to-terrain has well over 200 acres and 2,000 vertical feet on the north side of the 13,320-foot Palmyra Peak. This trek shouldn’t be underestimated – the hike generally takes 1-1.5 hours past the Black Iron Bowl. 

Best Lift Access: Prospect Express + a hike

Black Iron Bowl

Black Iron Bowl is another great place for experienced skiers and boarders. It’s accessible via the Prospect Express (Lift 12) and a short hike to Prospect Ridge. The primary routes have 1,000-foot vertical drops and feature European-style faces, open glades and steep chutes. A few favorites accessible from this area include Mountain Quail, Dihedral Chute and Genevieve, all of which require a short hike as well. 

Best Lift Access: Prospect Express

The Gold Hill Chutes 

The Gold Hill Chutes offer terrain typically not offered inbounds at other resorts. Skiers and snowboarders can descend 1,900 vertical feet to the base of the Prospect Bowl, with the chutes getting steeper the further you hike. Gold Hill 1 and 2 are closest to revelation lift, while chutes 6-10 all require a 20-30 minute hike. These routes are not always open, so be sure to check signage before making any moves.  

Best Lift Access: Revelation Lift/Gold Hill Express

Into Town

With the exception of a few blue trails, most of the routes heading into the town of Telluride are double-black diamonds. While there are plenty of options starting at the top of the Plunge Lift, one of the best routes down is from Kant-Mak-M to Spiral Stars to Lower Plunge. Kant-Mak-M is known for its treacherous moguls and is located underneath skiers ascending the Plunge Lift – so don’t fall!

Best Lift Access: Plunge Lift, Apex Lift

 

Terrain Action

 

Photo via the Telluride Ski Resort

Whether you’re a beginner just starting out or an expert looking to fine-tune your craft, there’s a terrain park in Telluride for you. The terrain parks in Telluride are created for all ability levels and are changed often to keep every rider on their toes. 

Ute Park Beginner Terrain Park

For those looking to get a little bit of experience on some terrain, the Ute Park Beginner Terrain Park has around 25 beginner and 25 intermediate features for both skiers and snowboarders. The beginner line, which is to the left off the Ute Park Express, has all sorts of rollers, bank turns, a mini half pipe, small jumps and ride on/off boxes and rails. 

Best Lift Access: Ute Park Express

Hoot Brown Intermediate Terrain Park

The Hoot Brown Intermediate Terrain Park has 25 features, which are switched up every few weeks, located directly underneath the Village Express ski lift. Terrain ranges from wall rides, barrel rolls, cannons, 10-20’ jumps and much more. It can be accessed by riding the Village Express or also by the St. Sophia Angle Station off the gondola. 

Best Lift Access: Village Express or St. Sophia gondola station

Hoot Brown Advanced Terrain Park

For both advanced and professional riders, the Hoot Brown Advanced Terrain Park is a dream. It has 25 features, all of which are highlighted by Mt. Wilson in the background. Some of the key features include a 25’ to 50’ jump line, Pick Ax Rail, Hitching Post, Whale Tail, Elbow Rails and so much more. To access the park, take the Village Express or the gondola to the St. Sophia Angle Station and veer right off the first tree island.

Best Lift Access: Village Express or St. Sophia gondola station

 

Best Spots for a Snapshot

 

Let’s be real – there’s not a bad spot for a picture in Telluride. The mountain in the winter provides picturesque scenery from every angle, but we’ve got some recommendations for the best spots on the slopes to stop and take a pic. 

See Forever Trail

If you want the best of the best for photo ops while skiing in Telluride, be sure to hit the See Forever Trail. This ridge goes as high as 12,220 feet at the top of the Gold Hill Express, but some of the best spots to stop are along the ridge between the start of the trail and where See Forever meets Joint Point. Alpino Vino also has some killer views with an unreal backdrop for your pictures. 

Best Lift Access: Lifts 6, 9, 14 and 15

Palmyra Peak

If you manage to hike to the top of the 13,320-foot Palmyra Peak, you better be taking a photo. In addition to offering untouched powder on 12 total hike-tos in the Black Iron Bowl, the views from this peak cannot be matched. 

Best Lift Access: Prospect Express 

 

Best Spots for a Drink

There’s no better feeling than sitting down for a cold drink after slaying a run on the mountain. Better yet? There’s no need to go to the base of the mountain because there are plenty of options right on the slopes for your mid-day cocktail. 

Alpino Vino

As the highest elevation fine-dining restaurant in North America at 11,966 feet, Alpino Vino is worth a stop while skiing the mountain. The menu is a little fancier than your normal ski fare, but if wine and champagne are your things, this is your place. 

Best Lift Access: Gold Hill Express

Gorrono Ranch

Gorrono Ranch is the largest food and beverage area to kick back at on the mountain. Situated along the Misty Maiden run, the ranch offers live music daily and plenty of colorful Adirondack chairs to lounge in with clear views of the Wilson range. Gorrono also offers a slew of other fun activities, including a fire bit and bag games. 

Tomboy Tavern

Located in Mountain Village at the base of Village Express (lift 4), Tomboy Tavern is a great spot to catch a game or take down one of 30 local and domestic beers on tap. The outside bar, complete with Mountain Village’s largest heated patio, is another great spot to soak in the sights.

 

At Telluride.com, we offer discounted ski and snowboard rentals, lift tickets and lodging. Book now and save for your winter ski vacation! We are also the official central reservation site in Telluride and offer the largest selection of lodging. Start your search for your ski vacation rental now!