True Telluride: Mountain Tour

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Telluride's layout is straightforward. The easiest terrain lies on the west above Mountain Village; hardest terrain is on the east side, which drops into Telluride. The hike-to runs of Gold Hill and the Prospect Bowl expansion area lie to the south. Lift 9 is the center of the universe for Telluride's hottest skiers. It accesses 10 black and double-black runs and countless secret tree lines and hidden shots. For those who don't have the knees for 2,126 vertical feet of bumps, lap after lap, See Forever and Lookout are the groomed options here. The ski resort also "split-grooms" some of its runs (most notably Plunge; half of the upper trail is bumps, half corduroy) to make the harder runs more manageable. On the west side, steep, short runs drop down through glades around Lift 6 onto flatter terrain leading into Mountain Village. Lift 6 is being relocated; this winter it will top out farther to the south, making the hike up to the chutes along Gold Hill slightly shorter. Some of the best snow lies around Lift 5, which accesses almost a dozen blue runs at the base of Gold Hill. This area has both cruisers and moderate mogul fields. Lift 4 services wide-open intermediate slopes and the snowboarding terrain park immediately above Mountain Village. The easternmost lift, Lift 10, has been derided as "the real estate chair." This quad runs almost 2 miles through gentle terrain, offering glimpses of log and stone palaces tucked into the surrounding trees. The terrain off Lift 10, and around adjacent Lift 1, is a good place for beginners and families with young children to meander across wide trails.