It feels like Europe says my brother. We are traversing into Telluride's newest terrain addition: Revelation Bowl. And yes, I think to myself, that's exactly what this is like.

With its striking, high altitude bowl, steep, wind-hardened snow, and views of technical terrain in every direction, Revelation Bowl could easily be mistaken for the French Alps. There's even a euro-style view deck by the base of the chairlift from which to sip beverages and marvel at the surrounding San Juans.

The Revelation chair hardly adds huge swaths of terrain to Telluride's already-impressive official sweep. Instead, this addition is more of a tweaking of the Telluride experience—or perhaps a continuation of the inevitable evolution toward high-altitude open bowl skiing.

With lift-served skiing now reaching 12,570 feet, Revelation Bowl sits well above tree line, offering groomed and wild terrain that feels exposed enough to put the butterflies back in your in-bounds ski experience.

A few runs of this, and my brother and I zip back to chair 9's steeps, which suddenly feel a whole lot flatter. Yep: just like Europe.

It's Day One of our yearly week in Telluride, and already the mountain has offered up a memorable start. Adding to the attractions: the Gold Chutes are open for hike-to skiing. These steep-skiing lines were officially closed to the public last year—at least while we were visiting.

And of course, there's always a date with Palmyra Peak on the agenda. This year I've got my full backcountry kit to make the Up a little easier, plus two beacons, just in case my brother decides to join me. As for true backcountry endeavors, I think I'm going to do my best to behave. Solo ventures in unfamiliar waters really aren't smart. Maybe if it was March—though I'd sure love to drop down into Bear Creek Canyon. Maybe peek into San Joaquin Peak's north couloir as well...

— February 22, 2009

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents

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