Taking advantage of lovely weather across Colorado | AspenTimes.com

Taking advantage of lovely weather across Colorado

While the snow in Aspen this winter has been stellar, it’s been fantastic all over the state, too.

So I took the opportunity of prime Colorado snow conditions this season to venture forth from our epic staple of ski mountains and sample the goods offered by two mountains I’d never been to or only skied in crappy conditions.

My first stop was Telluride. I love the picturesque town and I love the San Juan Range it sits within, though most of the good times I’ve spent there have been in the summer. And while I’ve skied Telluride, it was only once around Easter and the junky conditions meant much of the mountain, including the front side, was closed.

This year, I fled Winter X Games weekend in my neighborhood and took off to visit a friend who lives in Mountain Village above the town of Telluride. And while a powder day would have been seriously mind-blowing, the sunny day I got with 25-degree temperatures atop a massive base was awesome.

The cushy conditions made it clear that Telluride is one of the best, if not the best, ski mountain in Colorado. The front side is wow-steep, the bowls are a blast and the hike-to terrain is plentiful and easily accessible. Plus it’s huge, and you get the distinct benefit of San Juan peaks ringing your experience and plastering a smile across your face.

Also, you get to hang in the awesome town of Telluride and eat Brown Dog Pizza. Next time you’re there try and find the little plaque on the clothing store on Colorado Avenue that commemorates the building as the site of Butch Cassidy’s first bank robbery.

Next I made the two-hour drive to Beaver Creek. I’d heard for years that Beaver Creek was better than Vail, but had never been there. A trip out West by some old Midwestern friends in February provided the perfect opportunity to remedy that situation.

The beginning of the storm cycle that brought about 6 feet to Colorado ski areas made the powder dreams I’d envisioned for Telluride come true at Beaver Creek. The fresh snow that just continued to fall made the mountain particularly fun to explore over two days.

The ski area lived up to its billing as better and steeper than Vail. I especially enjoyed the Grouse Mountain Lift and the access it provided to the Royal Elk Glade and the Black Bear Glade. It was some of the best glade skiing I’ve ever done.

And while the town of Beaver Creek is merely an extension of Vail’s snooty, monochromatic mall culture vibe and cannot possibly hold a candle to Telluride (or Aspen for that matter), we did have a fantastic meal at a restaurant called Splendido. Three of the 19 AAA four-diamond restaurants in Colorado are in Beaver Creek, believe it or not.

The “Aspen Bubble” means we too often forget the rest of the state around us is equally awesome. Prying yourself out of town and the Roaring Fork Valley makes coming home that much sweeter.


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