Telluride resort begins guided backcountry skiing

Dave Riley/Special to The SentinelA few adventurous skiers top out on Palmyra Peak at Telluride Ski Resort while enjoying the new backcountry guide service offered by the resort. The service includes both backcountry tours and guided trips to in-bounds, hike-to ski areas such as Palmyra Peak, Gold Hill Chutes, Black Iron Bowl, and Bald Mountain.

TELLURIDE — The desire to bring exciting, European-style skiing experience to southwest Colorado takes another big step with the start of Telluride Ski Resort’s guided backcountry skiing program.

The program is scheduled to begin as early as this week.

Terrain in both Bear Creek and Alta Lakes now will be accessible for guided backcountry skiing with Telluride Backcountry guides.

“We applied for a (backcountry) permit with the U.S. Forest Service several months ago to conduct commercial guide services in the backcountry areas of Bear Creek and Alta Lakes, which are adjacent to the ski area and accessible through Forest Service backcountry gates,” said Telluride CEO Dave Riley. “Last week we received a favorable decision from the U.S. Forest Service to provide this service to the public.”

Riley said trips will be scheduled in coordination with the Telluride Ski Patrol’s snow safety department.

Daily snowpack readings and avalanche conditions forecasts will be key to deciding where and when to go.

Participants in the guided backcountry program can set up an itinerary and book a trip through Telluride Eco Adventures (970-728-7300).

Participants must be expert skiers and boarders and skiing ability will be judged prior to each trip. All backcountry equipment, including shovel, beacon and probe, is available at Eco Adventures.

“Telluride offers the most incredible ski terrain in North America,” Riley said. “We’re pleased to be able to now help expert skiers experience Bear Creek and Alta backcountry, as well as our adventure terrain at the ski area, with the support of professional guides.”

Riley said each backcountry trip also will include “an educational component.” Such trips normally include tips on how to read terrain and judge safe routes of travel.


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