6 - 7
FATMAP difficulty grade
This long and beautiful ski tour takes you up the Cornet Creek drainage from the town of Telluride, over a high mountain pass, and down through Marshall basin and the Tomboy ghost town before returning you back to Telluride.
While the skiing itself is moderate in difficulty, the tour is long and requires a full day to complete.
The views in each of the basins are magnificent, and the vista from the divide at the highpoint of the day will leave you speechless.
No ski trip to Telluride is complete without experiencing some of the area’s mining relics, and skiing down through the abandoned structures in the Tomboy ghost town is both eerie and surreal.
The tour starts and ends on the streets of Telluride, and the first leg involves climbing above the valley floor on old mining roads.
The track soon enters the forest, where the route climbs gradually and follows a summer hiking trail past the old Liberty Bell Mine.
Shortly past this site, the route emerges from the trees and into an alpine basin below the stunning San Sophia Ridge, with its countless spires and gendarmes, that is the crown jewel of the entire Telluride area.
In this basin, there are good opportunities for ski turns on the aprons of this ridgeline and of Mendota Peak, to its east.
At the high east end of the valley, the route climbs a final headwall to a divide, and suddenly, Marshall and Tomboy Basins come into view.
These high alpine valleys are spectacular and rarely visited in the winter.
They are also home to much of Telluride’s Victorian past, when small villages and gold-mining operations were tucked high into the mountains.
From this divide, the route drops down into Marshall Basin with almost 2,000 feet of fall-line skiing.
Turning past mining relics into the valley below, you’ll meet up with the Tomboy road that traverses west and downwards back to Telluride, dropping you off almost directly at the Cornerhouse Grill, a local haunt for cold beer and wings to celebrate your day.
This tour crosses many large avalanche paths and should only be considered in periods of good snowpack stability.