Ask any ski bum: Bear Creek—a swath of bowls, gullies, and chalk-covered shoulders just outside Telluride—is some of the best backcountry in Colorado. It’s one of the reasons hard-core skiers still live in this mountain town, despite its influx of Oprahs and TomKats. And why they’ve been willing to hike 45 minutes for a single run, again and again. Imagine, then, how jaws dropped when Telluride Mountain Resort announced its plans to build a lift almost directly to Bear Creek’s front door.
Starting this winter, the Revelation Lift will drop skiers within a short walk of the Bear Creek gate. This is experts-only territory—take an avalanche awareness clinic with San Juan Outdoor School ($95; tellurideadventures.com) and never head out-of-bounds without a partner, gear, and training. For the rest of us mortals, the lift will also lead to Telluride’s new Revelation Bowl, which delivers an inbounds experience so close to backcountry skiing, you’ll wonder if you should have brought a beacon. Though the area is small (50 acres), its northeast-facing slopes are sure to capture plenty of blown-in powder from southwesterly winds. Runs range from blue to black, meaning low-angle hero turns when the fluff starts to fall (tellurideskiresort.com).
Stay: The new Capella hotel brings a Moroccan-themed bistro into downtown Telluride (doubles from $375; capellatelluride.com).
Dawn Patrol> The early morning race for first tracks just got easier. A free, resort-wide ski valet program lets Colorado’s Crested Butte hotel guests stash their boards with slopeside porters at the end of the day and pick them up first thing the next morning (non-hotel lodgers can use the service for a fee). Hint: The 250 acres of new terrain in Teocalli Bowl promise an even better start to your day (skicb.com).
Southwest Showdown> At the end of last season, Taos shocked its purist fans by opening its doors to snowboarders for the first time. The northern New Mexican mainstay kicks off its first full rider-friendly season this month with a new, nondiscriminatory rental fleet and a snowboard school—and leaves ski snobs with just three more holdouts nationwide: Alta, Deer Valley, and Mad River Glen (ridetaos.org).
King Lines> From the Montana resort that first gave us backcountry gates comes inbounds terrain with a chance of avalanche. A new lift at Bridger Bowl leads to the 300-acre Schalsman area (named for a 19th-century miner who died here in—you guessed it—an avalanche), which is the resort’s first expansion in 30 years. A beacon is required to ride the lift; shovels, probes and partners are highly recommended (bridgerbowl.com).