When you live in Telluride, skiing another Mountain is like having an affair. It’s new and exciting and you are ecstatic at the possibilities. At first, you admire everything it has that your Mountain doesn’t — less bumps, more above-tree-line terrain, wider chutes.

You rush to get to know the new Mountain. Every traverse, every hike-to reveals something fresh. You ski it, giving a little more of yourself. The new Mountain reciprocates and recognizes characteristics in your skiing you had forgotten. Your adrenaline rushes and you begin to develop feelings for this new place. You ask yourself if this is lust or if you‘re falling in love.

This new Mountain is charming, so diverse. You ride the lift with some locals and drop that you’re in a long-term relationship with Telluride. They know Telluride, they think it’s cool. They tell you to follow. You’re the guest, they let you take the first line.

Now you’re in with the Mountain’s best friends. For the first time in a long time, you feel you’re being listened to; you feel understood.

You end your day with a cozy après cocktail. You begin asking yourself if the beer is colder here and the people better dressed. You contemplate a commitment.

You met this new Mountain on its best day, and the honeymoon resumes for a few more. But, as you continue your visits, it becomes moody. On one trip, there’s low visibility. Those chutes that welcomed you with soft powder a few weeks before are now windswept and hard. You try the glades the locals showed you, but they’ve become sun-baked and crusty.

You feel a small pang of loneliness. You won’t admit it, but you begin to miss Telluride, at least a little. You think about your most recent powder day there and ache for its familiarity. You miss knowing how to navigate the powder line — when to take Lift 8, and when to take the G. You miss being the first when a rope drops. While skiing your Mountain, you can anticipate every move, every opening. You know, on your Mountain, that on a powder morning the first laps on Nine will be great, then it’s time to circle Lift Six in anticipation for Gold Hill to open.

As you think more about your Mountain, you realize you love it on a powder day, but that you have also come to love its quirks and idiosyncrasies. You understand it in its entirety; you know how to navigate it when it is not at its best.

You know, by the direction the wind blows, that Revie will be filled in and Little Rose will be scraped off. You know that Mak’m and La Rosa will never let you down, and that on any given Spring day, if Apex is crusty, Milk Run will be perfect. You know that Upper North Chute is a great way home, and when the snow pack is right, the options are endless.

You begin to see your relationship with this new Mountain for what it is — a fling, a brief affair. And though you love to flirt and the excitement of the chase, you realize where your heart truly belongs.


6 Responses

  1. Sunny Griffin says:

    I can’t remember when I have ever enjoyed reading something so much. Great article! Almost makes me wish I weren’t in Thailand.

  2. Cindy Fusting says:

    Fantastic. Loved every word.

  3. team schultz says:

    well done jesse!! come flirt with us in Utah or Tahoe anytime, but we know where your heart is!!

  4. Melissa Plantz says:

    Love it!! Sums up my feelings exactly.