Telluride, CO, Nov. 28, 2000--Over the Thanksgiving holiday, while some geared up for the Christmas shopping season, I was fortunate enough to carve my turkey and some perfect turns within the confines of the imposing and rugged San Juan Mountains.
Five feet of natural snow since the end of October lured a spirited crowd to Telluride's opening week and their charitable Donation Day. Amidst this lively atmosphere, I thought it fitting to demo skis that matched varied conditions.
On Nov. 21, Donation Day opened the season and 70 percent of the mountain was skiable thanks to a bountiful snowfall and a $3 million snowmaking expansion. The Telski sponsored event raised over $15,000 (4X last year's total and a new record) for Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club (TSSC), the central organization that oversees all Telluride competitive youth programs. Two of these youths anticipate competing in the 2002 Olympics and many athletes attend national competitions that would otherwise be unfeasible.
El Bandito Espléndido
Between enjoying the Alp-like vistas of Telluride's backcountry and gourmandizing around town, I had the opportunity to demo the new Rossignol Bandit X.
Conditions on the mountain ranged from powder in the trees to crust, crud, and bumps on the steeps to groomed packed powder and a few icy patches on the intermediate runs.
The Bandit X behaved like a superstar ATV on the range of terrain I encountered. It charged through the crust of tracked-out powder and bumps on Kant-Make-Em, and thrived on The Plunge's hard-pack, arcing sturdily like a GS race ski. Besides being a little slow to exit high-speed turns, I found the Bandit X to be a great freeride ski and perfect for the diverse conditions I met.
Now back in the office, I'm thankful for experiencing excellent snow and a great pair of skis. Telluride also has a reason to be thankful and shouts an ecstatic, "Thanks for giving," to all their gracious patrons on Donation Day.