Help us by reporting Telluride’s trail conditions and maintenance needs!
It’s that time of the year!
This summer season, the Telluride Mountain Club will be implementing a new trail maintenance program that will help supplement and support the USFS (and other trail landowners) in regard to trail conditions. We’ve hired our first part-time trail maintenance position to assist with Telluride trail needs. This program will work best with on the ground community support, so we are asking for your feedback as you’re out recreating.
Location on the trail: Please identify how many miles in the issue you are reporting is (and from which trailhead). Alternatively, feel free to send us the GPS coordinates. You can figure out coordinates on many cell phone applications.
What’s the problem: Please help by letting us know what the problem is. Are there downed trees? Is there a rock in the middle of the trail? How many trees are there? How big are they? As much information as you can provide is best for us.
Pictures are awesome: If you can snap a picture of the problem, that is icing on the cake.
Once we hear of trail maintenance needs, we’ll dispatch our trail maintenance person or coordinate with the proper landowner and let you know when the issue has been resolved. We need YOU to make this program work best.
The Peter Inglis Avalanche Education Fund is back for its fourth season of Telluride Backcountry Chats. Join us to increase your knowledge and awareness of and in the backcountry. Check back often as we will be adding more dates and information soon. This season’s chats will be held virtually online via Zoom. If you miss the live event, the recording will be made available. We hope you can join us!
A great backcountry awareness program to kick off your season is Know Before You Go (KBYG) from Friends of the CAIC. Not much science, no warnings to stay out of the mountains, no formulas to memorize. In about an hour, you will see the destructive power of avalanches, understand when and why they happen, and how you can have fun in the mountains and avoid avalanches. Watch for the first time or refresh your memory via this link: https://support.friendsofcaic.org/pages/know-before-you-go-online.
Group Communication Tactics for Effective Decision-Making with Jayson Simons-Jones
Effective Decision Making is imperative in the high consequence world of professional avalanche work and winter recreational backcountry users. Communication tactics are at the cornerstone of how the decision-making process is carried out leading to either effective decisions with good outcomes, or ineffective decisions with unintended outcomes. Much in the world of avalanche education course curriculum has been focused on giving tools or checklists to implement communication as a skill to be employed in backcountry decision making tactics. I am hoping to explore a bit of the deeper psychology behind the communication process in how it plays out in groups, and specifically to initiate a conversation on how both specific communication behaviors and tactics can elicit effective team decision making, and what to be aware of in the process to determine if your group or professional team is working towards good or bad decision making communication strategies.
Jayson is an IFMGA Mountain Guide based in Colorado, where he has been a backcountry ski guide, avalanche forecaster, avalanche course educator, ski patroller, snowcat ski guide, and avalanche consultant throughout the scope of his career over the past 20+ years. These days he is balancing the new frontiers of working as a mountain guide amidst a global pandemic and a sketchy Colorado snowpack year with graduate studies in group communication and development strategies, hoping to add value to the conversation around increased decision making tactics and theories in a high risk, high consequence environment.
Building Expertise with Sarah Carpenter & The American Avalanche Institute
This presentation is an exploration of building expertise – how can we improve our skills and knowledge in an environment where we don’t often get good feedback? Backcountry skiing is complex and demands knowledge and experience with so many skills. The goal of this presentation is to offer some tools and techniques to foster life long learning.
Sarah Carpenter is a co-owner of the American Avalanche Institute. She teaches avalanche courses to both recreationists and professionals and loves sharing her excitement about the winter environment with others. Sarah also works as a ski guide in the Tetons. She lives in Victor, ID with her husband, Don, in a house they built together (with a lot of help).
Powder Fever and Longevity in the Backcountry with Bill, Fischer & Coop
The values of a process-oriented approach to skiing in avalanche terrain
We all know the feeling, standing on the top of untouched powder and already dreaming of the turns to come. That’s why we do it, we love to ski. It’s a way of life and it has lead all of us to this town in the middle of the San Juans. But how do we grapple with our inner desire to get the fresh tracks? How do we temper our decision making and focus on our process so that we can sustain skiing as a way of life for many years to come? In this chat, we highlight the values of a process-oriented approach to skiing in avalanche terrain.
Fischer Hazen was born and raised here in the San Juans. Skiing was his first passion in these mountains and is what keeps him here dreaming of winter. He spends his year working for Mountain Trip guiding big snowy mountains around the world, teaching avalanche education courses and backcountry skiing guiding!
Jonathan Cooper (“Coop”) has been searching out adventure and powder skiing all around the mountain west for just over a decade. He landed here in SW Colorado and has been on a journey to understand his own human foibles through the complex nature of the San Juan snowpack.
Assessing and dealing with risk in avalanche terrain can be a confusing and mentally exhausting process. It is tempting and potentially catastrophic to lean on our intuition and the decisions of others, rather than doing the hard work of disciplined evidence gathering and patience. Fortunately, we have access to super useful conceptual framework tools and cognitive triggers. In this PI Fund backcountry chat, we’ll discuss a very practical-down and durty to quick and purty- “Dirtbag Risk Assessment and Treatment”.
Ryan Howe has worked as a full time, blue collar avalanche professional since 1998. His career path has followed a wobbly orbit as a guide, educator, ski patroller, operations manager and author.
Welcome Back Winter + Getting Your Head in the Game
If you are headed into the backcountry this winter, join us for a little refresher on all the things you’ll want to think about this season. Joining us will be Matt Steen (Snow Safety Director at Telluride Helitrax), Jon Tuckman (Snow Safety Director at Telluride Ski Resort), and Mike Barney from the CAIC. We’ll be covering:
Snowpack: current hazard, trends, and observations
CAIC website, observations, and weather
Ski area boundaries and what you need to know
Backcountry gate etiquette
Telluride Backcountry Radio Program
GET THE CHANCE TO WIN A ONE OF A KIND REMADE PIECE FROM THE NORTH FACE. The North Face is giving a little love and a smile for the New Year to the Telluride community! Enter to win a one of a kind Remade piece from The North Face between January 8th and January 22nd, 2021, here: https://remadecontest.com/. Thanks The North Face Telluride!
Avalanche Education Scholarships in the San Juan Mountains
The Peter Inglis Avalanche Education Fund is proud to help sponsor scholarships pertaining to avalanche awareness and safety. The idea behind the scholarship fund is to increase avalanche awareness, safety, and education in the San Juan Mountains. The scholarship recipients will receive partial tuition reimbursement to take their desired avalanche education course.
Applications are now OPEN for the 2020-2021 season.
In order to apply, please create a word document with the following questions and answers (or download it here: PI Fund-Application) and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org when you are ready to submit. Questions and answers must be received by Tuesday, December 15, 2020, for consideration during the 2020-2021 winter season. You will hear back from the PI Fund by Tuesday, December 22, 2020, in regards to your partial course reimbursement. Please note, you may not receive the full amount you apply for. How many applications we receive is a factor in your total awarded scholarship amount.
How does it work? Scholarship funds will be partially reimbursed directly to the course participant after they have successfully completed the course. We will require a letter from your course provider stating you have finished the course in its entirety or a certificate of completion from the course you applied for. Please email email@example.com when you have this documentation and are ready to be reimbursed post-course. We will send you an email with the amount you will be receiving prior to your course education. If you ever have questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PI FUND SCHOLARSHIP QUESTIONS:
Employer Contact Info (for Pro Course scholarship requests only):
What course are you interested in taking and with what provider?
When do you want to take it?
How much financial assistance are you applying for?
What is the original cost of the course?
Essay Submission (500 words or less): Please answer the following question: Why would you like to take this course and why are you applying for funding support?
Past Scholarship Assistance
During the 2019-2020 season, the PI Avy Fund awarded $3,000 in scholarships to 17 individuals for avalanche education courses. Scholarships were given for companion rescue courses, Avy 1 courses and Avy 2 courses.
During the 2018-2019 season, the Pi Avy Fund awarded $3,160 in scholarships to 20 individuals for avalanche education courses. Scholarships were given for companion rescue courses, Avy 1 courses and Pro 1 Avy Courses.
Why take an avalanche education course or class? The question should really be why not. With scholarship assistance from the Peter Inglis Avalanche Education Fund (learn more about that here), there are no excuses not to elevate or continue your learning for the backcountry. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of courses in the Telluride region. In addition to the courses listed below, most guide services and schools in the Telluride region offer custom courses. So grab your ski/snowboard buddies and progress your learning and education this winter!
Remember: if you don’t know, don’t go. Or, hire a guide. If you are frequenting the backcountry, any/all of these courses should be on your radar. Learn more about the AIARE program here and the AAA programs here.
2020-2021 schedule is tbd.
Learn more and sign up for courses from Mountain Trip here.
Telluride Avalanche School
December 10th: AIARE Rec. Avalanche Rescue Course
December 11th – 13th: AIARE Rec. L1 Course
December TBA: AIARE Avalanche Rescue Course plus Wilderness Fist Aid (3 days)
January TBA: Avalanche Rescue Course
February 16th – 18th: AIARE Rec. L1 Course
March 5th – 7th: AIARE Rec. L2 Course
March 19th – 21st: AIARE Rec. L1 Course
Learn more about course offerings from the Telluride Avalanche School and sign up here.
Telluride Mountain Guides
Custom Avalanche Education courses based on your group’s background, educational goals and future aspirations. Check it out here.
Intro to Backcountry Skiing, private groups only. This is a great option for those still getting acquainted with skiing in the backcountry. Learn more here.
Here is a list of some our favorite backcountry bookmarks to keep your head in the game this winter. From daily forecasts with the CAIC to education opportunities, avalanche learning opportunities, and more. Most recently, TMtC and the PI Avy Fund have partnered with Friends of the San Juans and Silverton Avalanche School on a repository for backcountry awareness tools and resources. Check it out and start exploring at nobackcountrydays.com!
The CAIC puts out daily forecasts for different zones around the state. Bookmark this page and read it daily. It will give you a good understanding of the current snowpack, any avalanche problems that might exist, and observations from CAIC staff and fellow skiers.
Happy New Year from the Telluride Mountain Club! We hope your 2020 is off to a happy and healthy start.
We wanted to let you know that starting January 1, 2020, our membership structure has been modified to simplify your membership experience and benefits with the club. Our memberships now follow a calendar year, starting January 1 and expire December 31. This will allow TMtC to better track your membership and access to our events.
We hope this makes it easier for you to know where you stand with your current membership and when it has lapsed. You can become a member online here (https://telluridemountainclub.org/membership/), at our winter fundraising event on Feb. 5 at the Sheridan Opera House or at our summer bbq and membership drive in July.
Because our events are a membership benefit, we have special pricing to encourage your support.
Winter Film & Fundraising Event = $15
This includes a full year membership and access to both the winter and summer events (if you become a member at our winter event, access to our summer event is free)
Summer Membership BBQ Event = $15
This includes a membership for the remainder of the year as well as dinner at the event
If you have concerns or would like to speak about an exception in 2020, please reach out to us at email@example.com. We hope you will consider renewing your membership in 2020 and help support the Telluride Mountain Club’s many projects and initiatives.
The Peter Inglis Avalanche Education Fund is back for its second season of Telluride Backcountry Chats. This year we have teamed up with the Telluride Avalanche School to bring avalanche awareness and education to the community. Join us to increase your knowledge and awareness in the backcountry. Check back often as we will be adding more dates soon. We hope you can join us!
Wednesday, November 7 6:00 PM Jagged Edge Mountain Gear
Avalanche Accidents: The illusion of control and the perils of positive outcomes
with Dale Atkins
Have you ever read the avalanche report of an accident and thought, “What were they thinking?” And maybe added, “I’d never do that.” This presentation and chat will introduce a novel way of thinking about accidents that escapes hindsight and seeks sense-making and interruptions. Traditional avalanche education and accident reviews focus on missed cues, but missed cues are not the problem in accidents with avalanche-trained people. Rather it is a failure by the person to redirect their actions. This presentation will help you avoid being (metaphorically) that reluctant bride or groom caught up in pre-wedding activities who lets momentum carry you along.
Dale Atkins Bio
For more than 30 years Dale has been training and working with avalanche professionals and mountain rescuers around the world. He’s an expert in rescue, avalanche accidents, human factors and prevention with numerous articles, books and films to his credit.
Monday, January 7 6:15 PM Jagged Edge Mountain Gear
Welcome Back Winter
It’s time to get your head back in the snow game. If you are headed into the backcountry this winter, join us for a little refresher on all the things you’ll want to think about this season. Joining us will be Matt Steen (Snow Safety Director at Telluride Helitrax), Jon Tuckman (Snow Safety Director at Telluride Ski Resort), and Jeff Davis (Avalanche Forecaster with the CAIC). We’ll be covering:
Snowpack: current hazard, trends, and observations
CAIC website, observations, and weather
Partners and decision making
Terrain: on maps and route finding
Ski area boundaries: what you need to know
Backcountry gate etiquette
Monday, January 28 6:15 PM Jagged Edge Mountain Gear
Putting It All Together: from morning coffee to dropping in + how hazard can change overnight
with Jake Hutchinson
Drop the line or back to bed? Better decision making tools can be the difference between a hero pow day you hit/miss, an epic avalanche incident, or a mellow day meadow skipping low angle pow. This chat will cover how a systematic approach to gathering, prioritizing, and organizing information from your first sip of coffee to the moment of truth, helps remove human bias and make decisions based on evidence rather than desire. It also helps you remain objective as conditions change from one day to the next.
Decision making tools
Gathering, prioritizing, and organizing information
Evidence-based decision making
Monday, February 18 6:15 PM Jagged Edge Mountain Gear
Backcountry Panel Discussion
In this installment of Telluride Backcountry Chats, we’ll be bringing together a diverse panel to answer your questions and talk about their approach to backcountry skiing and decision making. Our panel includes: Himay Palmer, Greg Hope, Ryan Howe, Amy Pertuz, and more!
Decision making in the backcountry
Backcountry education (how to continue your education)
And so much more!
Monday, March 11 6:15 PM Jagged Edge Mountain Gear
This is our final Telluride Backcountry Chat of the season and it is extra compelling. A group of people who have had close calls with avalanches will be presenting their stories. More info coming soon.
Update: As of fall 2019, the Magic Meadows Trail is completed.
The Magic Meadows Trail replaced sections of the previous “Alta Lakes Trail” that connects Prospect Trail to Sunshine Trail. The following trail recap provides information on this new trail build. Thank you to everyone who donated their time to help complete construction of this new inventory trail.
Magic Meadows Trail
In the fall of 2018, construction began on the new Magic Meadows Trail in the Alta Lakes area. The new trail replaced the previous Alta Lakes Trail that had been in existence which crossed private land (which happened during the Wilson Peak land exchange). The new Magic Meadows Trail was built and funded by the United States Forest Service (USFS), Norwood Ranger District and Colorado Parks and Wildlife with assistance from the USFS Lake Tahoe Basin Trail Crew and Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC). In addition, Telluride Mountain Club (TMtC) and San Miguel Bike Alliance (SMBA) hosted public trail work days to encourage local and regional participation in the build of the new trail. Trail work began on September 1, 2018 and was finished in the fall of 2019.
The Magic Meadows Trail links the Prospect Trail from the Telluride Ski Resort to the Sunshine Trail (T-35) along Highway 145. The entire length of the trail is around 6 miles from trailhead to trailhead. The segments of new trail have all been built on USFS land making the trail a legal, inventory trail. This trail accommodates mountain bikers, hikers, trail runners, and equestrians. It is closed to motorized vehicles.
The purpose of this new trail build and reroute is to move the existing trail onto USFS land and not cross private property. The original Alta Lakes Trail was a user-created trail, dating back to equestrian use when the Skyline Guest Ranch was operational. The trail was on a patchwork of public and private lands. The new Magic Meadows trail will use some existing portions of the original Alta Lakes Trail and will have new routes to avoid private property.
This trail is being built to accommodate multi-use but is being designed with mountain biking at the forefront of use. This means that special consideration is being given to trail grade, switchback radius and will feature mountain bike-specific features.
The current user group that dominates use in this area is mountain bikers. The trail often sees use from hikers and trail runners. Equestrian use is limited and mostly during the fall hunting months. This trail will accommodate intermediate through advanced recreators.
The Magic Meadows trail will be a fundamental connector trail in the Telluride region and will see quite a bit of use.
The new Magic Meadows Trail is shown on the map below. The yellow highlighted lines show the existing portions of the Alta Lakes Trail that will be used for the new trail alignment. The pink highlighted lines show the new, rerouted sections that will be built in the fall of 2018. The purple highlighted lines depict existing USFS trails segments. The map also shows sections of trail that will be reclaimed and closed. The map also shows property ownership.
When completed, the entire length of the Magic Meadows Trail will be approximately 6 miles. The sections of trail that will require a complete rebuild will be around 3.2 miles.
Trail Design & Construction
The Norwood Ranger District hired Mountain Sage Trails, LLC to aid in the layout and design of the new trail. The USFS Lake Tahoe Basin Trail Crew will be constructing the trail with help from SCC.
Both the Telluride Mountain Club and San Miguel Bike Alliance will be assisting with public trail work days starting on Saturday, September 8th and going through the completion of the trail build.
Maintenance & Stewardship
Once completed, the Magic Meadows Trail will be added to the USFS trail inventory. This means that they will be in charge of the trail and will maintain the trail in the future. Telluride Mountain Club anticipates helping with trail maintenance through public trail work days as much or as little as needed. The Telluride Mountain Club is currently in communication with the USFS Norwood District office to adopt this trail.
The highly anticipated Magic Meadows Trail will begin construction on September 1, 2018 and is expected to be completed by the end of that month. The new trail will be built entirely on USFS land using existing sections of the Alta Lakes Trail combined with new trail segments. Though the trail will be enjoyed by trail runners, hikers and equestrians, it is being built with mountain bikers in mind.
The Telluride Mountain Club encourages your participation in public trail work days on the Magic Meadows Trail in September 2018.
The Peter Inglis Avalanche Education Fund is working in conjunction with the Telluride Mountain Club to come up with a Code of Ethics for backcountry skiing and snowboarding in the Telluride region. We have been working with various avalanche professionals to come up with our first draft, below. We are seeking your feedback – what should be added, deleted, etc. – in order to make this a code that all skiers and snowboarders in our region can follow.
The Peter Inglis Avalanche Education Fund is proud to present a series of Telluride Backcountry Chats during the 2017-2018 winter season.
Our hope is that active backcountry users and those getting into the sport will come out and learn to make our regional backcountry a safer place to ski and snowboard. We look forward to seeing you this winter!
February Event – Feb. 11
Sunday, February 11
6:30pm at Jagged Edge Mountain Gear
Risk Management with Special Guest Doug Krause
What is personal risk management?
How does this affect your decision making in the backcountry?
How should this affect your decision making in the backcountry?
Doug will be covering many topics in relation to personal risk management. Doug encourages questions from you, so come prepared. BYOB and camp chair!
December 2017 Event:
Monday, December 18
6:30pm at Jagged Edge Mountain Gear
Getting Your Head Ready for Avalanche Season
Gear Prep: what you should always carry in your backpack
Current State of the Snowpack
State of the Ski Resort
January Event – Jan. 24
Wednesday, January 24
6:30pm at Jagged Edge Mountain Gear
* Matt Steen – Telluride Helitrax
* Jon Tuckman – TSP
* Bill Allen – Mountain Trip
* Brian “Speed” Miller – Helitrax Founder/Guide
* Preparation and Evaluation
* Backcountry Teamwork
* Action and Reflection
We will also be integrating questions from the public into the chat. BYOB, camp chair and questions for the panel.