Can't control mother nature, but we can sit down and chat about the real estate market here in Telluride, or better yet get in the car and take a look. Here's a good read. Dan Henschel, telluride, real estate.
Accentuate the positive
New Year’s Day visitors in high spirits, Telski prepares to open two more lifts
Spirits were high at Telluride Ski Resort on Monday among tourists and employees. People had few complaints about the lack of natural snow or the limited terrain.
First-time visitor Kenny Williams, an oilfield manager from Leesville, Louisiana, hit the slopes for the third day in a row with his wife and two children.
“We’ve had a good time. We wish there was more snow, but you can’t control Mother Nature,” he said.
With only 16 percent of the ski area’s acreage available, the trails tended to be crowded Saturday and Sunday over the New Year’s holiday weekend, Williams said. Monday was much nicer in terms of dealing with crowds, he said.
“It’s been kind of tough to get into restaurants — we actually came from Louisiana with a group of 14 — but it is what it is, the holiday season and a lot of people,” he said.
Brady Escobar, of Midlothian, Texas, was on a ski vacation with his family. The lack of fresh snow was noticeable compared with his visit last year, he said.
“It’s pretty cool,” Escobar said. “There’s not as much snow as there was last year when we were here. They’ve done a really good job making sure they have lifts and slopes open for us.”
Monday was his first day to ski. “It was cloudy and cooler earlier in the day, but the sun came out, so it’s been icing over a little bit. It’s a little bit like spring-break skiing,” he said.
The slopes weren’t too crowded, but the lift lines stretched longer compared with last year’s experience, Escobar said.
Other visitors voiced similar sentiments. Their expressions were gleeful as they were happy to be on vacation, but they would have preferred more natural snow and more areas in which to roam.
Telski guest ambassador Gary Dey, of North Lima, Ohio, put it this way: “(The visitors) are saying that for manmade snow, it’s pretty good. I’m sure they’d love to have more (natural) snow, but this is how it is — and it’s affecting all of Colorado.”
Thus, despite the small percentage of overall ski-area access and a late start — the resort opened two weeks behind schedule, on Dec. 7, because of the warm and snowless conditions — it appears Telski got through the important holiday period largely unscathed in terms of pleasing its guests. That is, if Monday’s mood in Mountain Village was reflective of the 10 preceding days.
And even though the last bit of snowfall was a measly inch that fell in the wee hours of Christmas morning, the future of the 2017-18 season is looking brighter. Despite rampant rumors to the contrary — there has been talk on the streets of Telluride of a premature closure — the resort is planning to open more terrain this weekend.
Lifts 8 and 9 (Oak Street and Plunge) will open on Saturday. What that means for skiers and snowboarders: five more trails to conquer, along with ski access to the Oak Street Plaza area in Telluride (via Telluride Trail to Lookout to Bail Out to Telluride Trail).
In all, said Matthew Windt, Telski’s vice president of sales and marketing, 20 percent of the ski area’s 1,000 acres of developed terrain will be open starting this weekend.
“It puts us at over 20 trails,” Windt said. Telski counts 148 trails of varying difficulty.
“Our snowmakers and groomers remain in ‘terrain expansion mode’ as the forecast is for cold temperatures into the foreseeable future,” Windt said.
The resort “is committed to making snow on all our available terrain and we anticipate continuing to make snow well into January, beyond our normal snowmaking calendar, to provide the best skiing experience possible for our guests,” Windt said.
The rumors of some type of closure are simply that — rumors, Windt said. Company officials and employees, he said, are positive about the remaining months of the season, which is scheduled to end April 8.
“In the winter, the ski resort is the economic driver for the region,” he said. “We’re going to do everything we can to keep making snow and opening more terrain.
“It’s a testament to our mountain operations team, and our snowmakers and groomers. They are doing a phenomenal job. The feedback from the holidays from guests — whether it’s their first time here or whether they’ve been coming every year for a long, long time — is that they’ve had an amazing time on the mountain and they’ve really enjoyed the hospitality.”
He noted that the season is still in the early stages. Skier visits are behind last year’s pace so far, but the booking pace for the remaining months is strong, Windt said.
“If we were one of the other resorts, and there was a lack of snowfall, there wouldn’t be much to do,” he said. “We’re really fortunate to be in Telluride where you can go skiing for a couple of hours and when you’re done, this community offers so many other things for guests to do. That’s one of the things that makes us special.”
Robbie O’Dell, owner of Oak Fat Alley BBQ in Telluride, said sales are “down substantially” so far compared with last year’s start to the season. On Monday afternoon, though, the restaurant was packed.
“People are enjoying what they can. We’re busy. Everybody’s happy; I’m glad anybody’s walking through the door.”
A dissenting opinion about the weekend experience came from Mike Ramsey, a Denver resident and self-described “highly skilled snowboarder” who was in town to party with friends on New Year’s Eve.
“There’s no way I’m getting up on those trails until more snow comes and the crowds spread out a bit,” he said. “I’ve got no desire to get body slammed by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. I’m not just saying that because I’m hungover.”
Ramsey and others who are yearning for more snow might get their wish. The latest National Weather Service forecast on Tuesday afternoon called for a 90 percent chance of snow on Saturday (3-5 inches) and more white stuff on the way Jan. 9-11.