Before I launch into what might be perceived as a rant, let me firsts thank Jeremy on lift maintenance for rectifying a an equipment failure I suffered last week at the top of lift 7. I lost a not on one of my binding straps and he happened to have a replacement screw and nut to allow me to have a “real” final run of the day down Milk Run – let alone more safely. Thanks again Jer!
Now to Milk Run: it’s been a sore spot for me ever since I put “2 and 2 together” while sitting on the bench in front of the Coffee Cowboy and noticed a straw column decending down the center of Milk Run during the late Spring (early Summer) a few years ago. I knew something was up, but the full impact of what was going down didn’t weigh in until the subsequent season started next fall. Telski was going to groom Milk Run and cordon it off into an alpine race venue.
Let me say right off that I’m all for individuals pursuing their passions; be it official alpine or freestyle competition or simply free-riding for fun. Moreover, I understand everyone has their agenda in so far as shaping the landscape in so far as getting from A to B in pursuing their particular passion. What I’m not a fan of is a process which does not allow all parties to voice their opinion in so far as shaping such policies. In other words, the transformation of Milk Run into a groomed alpine race venue seemed to be a unilateral decision – lacking public input. The latter is no surprise – even in light of the use of public lands (NFS), but to me it’s akin to domolishing a landmark such as Wrigley Field or Penn Station.
In subsequent posts, I’ll go into greater depth regarding reasons why, but for now let me explain why the Milk Run of old was a jewel on the mountain:
Telluride Ski Area is a very dichotomous in terms of the type of terrain: either long steep sustained bump runs or long sustained flat & mostly sub-cruisers. For reasons I’ll explain later, the ski company has long opted to groom what they deem as suitable steep runs to provide more advanced intermediate terrain (I believe to cater to their target market – which is profiled to purchase real estate). The “old Milk Run” was somewhat of an anomoly in that it wasn’t super steep, yet was definitely not flat … thus the bumps which evolved were more tame but still challenging. In fact, the old Milk Run bumps were probably ideal for freestyle competition.
However, what set the old Milk Run apart from ALL OTHER RUNS ON THE MOUNTAIN is the tranformation into “hero bumps” on either powder days or spring slush days. The sun exposure is one of the most intense on the mountain — easily bringing the run into the realm of softedness by 11am in mid-March. The natural countour of the run allowed a variation of tight bumps on rider’s right into more “GS bums” on rider’s left … with a compromise down center left. Top-to-bottom lift 7 runs were the real deal & a spring time ritual; connecting with either “Stumper” or “O’Reilly’s” at the very bottom. If it wasn’t spring, it was “mopping up” territory on a powder day.
This was taken away. I can’t let go. More later.
For now, this afternoon, I’ll probably try to make lemonade out of lemons.