Telluride Ski Area Cutting Back: Not Always Running All Lifts in 2013

If you’re staying in town and looking to get to the top of lift 9 on a powder day, I believe you can effectively add an additional 10-20 minutes to your routine of making your way up the mountain in the morning. Perhaps add even more time (and frustration) if it’s a powder day and you’re forced to wait in line for the only way up – that being the Gondola – from the center of Telluride.

Much to the disbelief of many local residents, the Telluride Ski Area has announced this year it will no longer operate lift 8 on a regular basis and may only open it up when if deems necessary. No, this isn’t an April Fool’s day post, it’s smack dab in the heart of the ski season when we’re actually starting to get some snow and the conditions are back up to being “decent” from a very long stretch of a “poor” rating.

On the official Telluride Ski Area website, there is a claim of an “Unhassled Mountain Experience”; however, to get up to the upper areas of the mountain from the center of Telluride is anything BUT an unhassled mountain experience in my estimation and 20 year experience as a local. So, you now need to:

  • wait in a longer gondola line (with 8 no longer running)
  • walk in your ski boots up to the Telluride Trail after getting off gondola (or take lifts 4, 5, 6 -> to lift 9)
  • take the Telluride Trail cat walk over to Lower Lookout, if you’re on a snowboard … you may have to unstrap and “paddle” to get to Lookout

Similarly, if one wants access the Gold Hill and Prospect Bowl lifts, I believe it adds time to your trek by forcing you to go “Around the Horn” (Gondola -> 4, 5 -> 12/14) vs. my preferred route of 8, 9 -> 12/14 … which includes a run down Happy Thoughts on the way to the base of the Gold Hill lift.

All in all, this decision to stop running lift 8 will cost you time; and on a single day lift ticket – priced at $106 for an adult, you’re cost “per minute” on the ski area suddenly went up in my estimation!

If I were planning a trip to Telluride, I’d think very carefully now about your lodging situation & how you plan to access the mountain in the mornings. Personally, I’d never stay in the Telluride Mountain Village … while it might be a good choice for some people, it’s just not my style in any shape, way, or form. So, it’d leave me with a difficult choice. I’d probably want to stay by lift 7 and avoid what could be the massive Gondola line. Then again, at $106 I probably wouldn’t be looking at Telluride given how cheap season passes are in Summit County. For a few days of skiing in Telluride, you could buy a full season’s pass at A-Basin or Keystone, if not Vail, Copper, Winter Park, etc.

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