- The Telluride backcountry skiing options are endless, with access from the resort and across neighboring peaks.
- There are backcountry access gates near Bald Mountain and on the Gold Hill Ridge in the resort.
- Avalanche danger is very high in the San Juans, and it's best to travel with a guide.
The Telluride backcountry is a powder-lovers paradise. Endless bowls, steep chutes and powder-loaded cliffs seem to expand forever in every direction. Snow stays fresh for weeks after snow, and the hustle and bustle of lift lines and crowds is nowhere to be found.
It is important to be safe, however. Sporadic heavy snows, consistent high winds and plentiful sunshine make this some of the world’s most avalanche-prone terrain. Always make conservative choices and be smart. A guide is a good choice for the inexperienced. And make sure to check the Avalanche Report before you go.
Where to go Backcountry Skiing
From the Resort
There are two main backcountry gates off of the ski resort. A gate near Bald Mountain provides access into the Alta Lakes Basin. The descent is short but sweet, and skiers must either skin back up to the resort or exit out the basin to Highway 145, a long and mostly flat trip.
Another gate exists along the Gold Hill Ridge above Lift 15, providing access to Bear Creek. This terrain is some of the most spectacular but dangerous in North America. Filled with giant bowls, hundred-foot cliffs and narrow chutes, Bear Creek get loaded with snow by the predominant winds and conditions remain good for weeks after snow. It is best explored with a knowledgeable guide.
Ophir and Lizard Head
There are several backcountry tour tracks in nearby Ophir and along the stretch of highway linking Lizard Head Pass and Rico. Ophir and Lizard Head generally receive more snow than Telluride and hold fresh powder all season. The terrain is variable and remote, and is best explored with a local or guide.
Guided Tours & Rentals
Several outfitters in the region offer guide services and touring equipment. Telluride backcountry skiing is best done with a knowledgeable guide.