Friday, February 15, 2008

The BEST Ski Run in North America

Yesterday, February 12th, 2008, Telluride Ski Resort opened access to Palmyra Peak- 13,320ft, therein providing the BEST lift-served, hike-to, in bounds terrain in North America. It is first time in history that the hike is open, legally, from the resort side. Palmyra Peak in Telluride

Telluride now has 4,600 vertical feet of skiing from the top to bottom.

For a lucky few of us who happened to get “the call”, check the website, or call the snow report, we were able to make the mad dash up to the peak before Patrol closed the hike at 12:30pm. Telluride’s Ski Patrol director Pat Ahern has been trying to open the terrain all season, but with the abundant snowfall, has encountered numerous obstacles in the form of snow safety and labor intensive control work to make it safe for the public. Yesterday’s opening served as a trial run on how operations would handle skiers making the trek up to this kind of terrain.

From the peak, there are 4 different exit couloirs, 3 shoulders/ramps, and then 3 different faces to traverse to from those couloirs. Once off the peak proper, the terrain opens up into 2 large bowls with further exit gulleys, and multiple features from which to huck your rad self. Snow gets loaded into this terrain as the bigger San Juan storm systems usually come from the South and drift in on the North side of the Peak, which is the aspect that is now open. The hike takes skiers anywhere from 40 minutes to 90 minutes from the lift- depending on from where you come- mountains vs sea level, respectively. The hike is not a walk in the park, and depending on wind effect and snow pack, offers slightly technical maneuvers and some healthy exposure.

Rumor has it that rest of the upper Gold Hill ridge, across from Palmyra, will also be opened westwards into the resort later this February. If that happens this season, there is no other place you want to be for varied incredible extreme skiing then Telluride. Lastly, slated for additional Palmyra Peak in Tellurideopening next year, via direct lift service off the top of the mountain aka Gold Hill, is Revelation Bowl, which will create up to five more runs for intermediate skiers… so, a little something for everyone.

This is the inside scoop on one of the ski industry’s best expansions in years. Come visit-




Anonymous Mike Sharp said...

While we eyeballed this anxiously on our recent honeymoon, I'm not sure this would win the "BEST" lift-served hike-to terrain in the country.

How about Silverton, just up the road, for example?

I could list some other nominations, but I'd like to heat what others have to say.

2/15/2008 3:31 PM

Anonymous Mike Sharp said...

Excellent description of the terrain. I think the second picture is more centered on the new hike-to. And the foreground actually obscures the bottom half of the runs.

That would be really sweet if they ever opened the southern bowl. Can't remember if there is a bc access gate there or not.

2/15/2008 3:35 PM

Blogger Kim Havell said...

Hi Mike,

Great comments! In my humble opinion, I think the runs off of the top of Palmyra rival that of Silverton (as well as other resorts i.e. Aspen Highlands, BC areas etc), with its phenomenal views, exposure, ease of access, route options, big picture etc..I was referring only to the new hike-to-terrain on the Peak and not the ridge itself and that is why the photos don't reflect the lower half.

The West facing ridgeline off of Gold Hill is about to be open and there is a gate to the Southern bowl- but that is not open from the top of Palmyra right now.

Glad you enjoyed the trip!

2/19/2008 9:55 AM

Blogger Paros Shepherd said...

Best is always subjective; great skiing regardless!

2/21/2008 3:57 AM

Blogger Kim Havell said...

Hi Paros,
Thanks for the comment! Agreed that best is in the eye of the beholder. With so much great snow in so many places this year, it seems that a lot of people are having great experiences in their home resort or vacation resort of choice..

2/24/2008 8:15 AM


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