TELLURIDE – Skiers and riders hoping to make fresh tracks within the Telluride Ski Resort’s boundaries may do so, starting Friday, so long as motorized vehicles aren’t used and restricted areas are avoided, thanks to an administrative decision, by Telluride Ski and Golf Co., reversing the no-access policy put into place in the spring of 2012.
Telski’s reasoning at that time, behind the decision that caused public outcry and comment at several local government meetings in San Miguel County.: A growing concern, they said, for the public’s safety – and for the safety of Telski employees – led the company to close the mountain to hiking and skiing within the ski area boundary from April 9-30, so as to safely shut down winter operations.
This year, following the April 7 official closure of the ski area, Telski’s Vice President of Mountain Operations Jeff Proteau said the mountain will be safely shut down for the season by the end of the day today. Hiking and skiing access will be available starting on Friday, April 12.
“I worked with our crews to figure out what’s the quickest we can get everything put away and most vehicular traffic cleared off the mountain,” Proteau said. “We will be done by the end of Thursday, and on Friday you can access the mountain.”
There are, however, some areas on the mountain where access will be restricted. Proteau said there will be some continued plowing operations and vehicular traffic in the Lift 4 area, and there could soon be maintenance work on the Gondola near Mountain Village.
“The Lift 4 area, including from the Gondola down, is restricted,” he said. “That’s going to be a high traffic area for us. Other than that, people are on their own.”
While hiking access to the mountain will be granted, Proteau said it will remain off limits to vehicular access, including snowmobiles. This prohibition does not stem from a Telski administrative decision but, rather, has been a policy of the U.S. Forest Service through the 2002 Uncompahgre Travel Plan. It prohibits motorized vehicle use within the ski area while it’s closed and includes snowmobiles, ATVs, motorcycles, and cars. (This excludes the use of official Telski equipment.)
“There is no flexibility as far as snowmobiles are concerned,” Proteau said. “That is the Forest Service’s closure policy.”
Proteau added that Forest Service rangers expected to be patrolling the area to ensure there are no snowmobiling violations.