With a day to spare in Silverton before heading to Silverton Mountain, Marc
and I decided to spend a day skiing at Telluride. This would help us
acclimatize to the 10,000 to 12,000+ ft elevations we'd face at Silverton.

Our first night in Silverton. After a slight delay in flights, we got off
to about a 9pm start from Albuquerque. After almost 5 hours of driving
through rain and snow on roads with nearly invisible lines, we arrived at
the Triangle Motel. At $35/night, split 2 ways, lodging expenses were
quite reasonable.

Looking up, we see not stars but snowflakes.

After talking with the woman at Triangle, we learned that our "25 mile"
drive was actually more like 70 miles and would take 2 and a half hours.
It's good we planned on an early start. As we drive through the mountains
we look back to Silverton Mountain (behind the tree).

Another attempt at a picture from the moving car. Another failure
(Silverton Mtn. is to the left).

The drive was long and trecherous, but pretty.

Approaching Ouray the road hugged long steep cliffs.

Looking down toward Ouray.

I hear they have an "ice wall" here that's made by dripping hoses or
something. Sounds like fun for the ice climbers. We certainly saw a lot
of ice climbers in Silverton and Ouray.

Box Canyon Falls seemed like a mini-Mecca for climbers.

Finally, Telluride! It only took us 2 hours (only!). This was the
strangest morning of skiing I've ever experienced. We drove up on a
narrow, poorly-plowed one-way street that led to this small parking lot,
which was mostly empty, even though it was after 10am. When I got out of
the car, there was no one around and it was eerily quiet. It was clear
from the moment we arrived that this was not the usual crowded ski area.

Marc is the only person I know who puts on sunscreen on a cloudy day in the
middle of winter.

While Marc devours coffee and muffins, I head up for a test run. On the
way up the lift, I get a nice view of the town and our prime parking spot
(last one on the left in first row of cars).

After a few warm up runs, it's time to test Marc's new phat skis on a
diamond.
(AVI, MPEG movie)

After a few cautious turns at the top, he had no trouble adapting to the
new skis.

Cruising down the bottom part of Prospect Bowl in a couple inches of fresh
snow.
(AVI, MPEG movie)

The view from near the summit.

An attempt at a video through the trees on what we later found out was not
really a marked trail.
(AVI, MPEG movie)

Lower down we realize why it's not a marked trail, as the "CLIFF" signs
warn us of impending doom. Marc does a reversal of direction just above
the cliff.

Even the non-cliff area wasn't so nice. I went down a bit and scraped on
exposed rocks and trees. Marc stayed high and traversed farther over.

Marc finally making his descent, making it look easy, as he always does.
(AVI, MPEG movie)

We decided to stick to marked trails after that. With a name like "Happy
Thought" you just can't go wrong.

A pan from near the top after lunch. The sun is just starting to come out.

Heading down the steep side toward where we parked. This area had some of
the best snow and some incredibly long, steep runs. We stayed here all
afternoon. The altitude started to really kick in here. Skiing between
10,000 and 12,000 feet (after 5 hours of sleep and coming from sea level
the day before) required forced rapid deep breathing. I felt fine except
after a brief stretch of riding I would stop and be panting for no apparent
reason. After a minute of panting I was ready to go again.

We were surrounded by incredible scenery, with steep rocky cliffs and long
stretches of snow-covered mountains.

Mammoth is a great place to ski, but not when you're at Telluride.

Marc making his way down under the lift. There was enough snow to make the
trails look nice, but under it all was the hard stuff that you were actually
skiing on.
(AVI, MPEG movie)

Marc on the final drop down to the base. After a long search, we found a
pizza place (where do people eat around here?). Then I took a wrong turn
on the way home, so our return trip was around 3 hours. I thought I was
doing alright since we were on the right highway, but we were going south
instead of north (something they neglected to indicate on the highway
signs). When we got back, we immediately got started on sleep in
preparation for the following day at Silverton Mountain.

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