Happy  New Year `19.
I propose: 2019 is past time for mucho more and extra bueno funny business.  And toss that lousy, malo. monkey business we have been living within...primarily festering from Washington D.&C. and far-flung pests:  that always cranky Middle East paradise, add some Russia oasis, China spiced fentanyl, don`t exclude exploding Indonesian resorts.  Some few other fingerpointings:  gun-toting mental outpatients visiting the school kids, churches/synagogues/ mosques, et al.  These taints on our maps are no longer outliers.  Sad, bad juju.  We all know it.  2018 had a lot of stink.
The Daily Planet feature, here, sublimely illustrates one way Telluride has historically thumbed noses (predominantly owned by the Ski School) at the above bad, miscreant boys and girls.  That unhinged monkey crowd.
The fans here do rather love the parade.  Plus, this season we have good snow.  Crisp little storms continue to visit as we wait for the big dumps...our base is good.  Our food  is better than good.  We look nice.  The treasured guests are all dressed up and coming from all over our lovely planet.
So...leave those hoodlum mean monkeys to their bullshit own.  It`s all I can think to do, for `19... try this delightful Telluride parade...
Happy New Year `19, again,
The scene from this year’s Christmas Eve torchlight parade. (Photo by Ryan Bonneau, courtesy of Visit Telluride)
Torchlight parades are an iconic marker of the winter holiday season in the Telluride area. Christmas Eve marked the first of two such display, as ski school instructors lit up the mountain trails that evening along the classic route down Coonskin and Telluride Trail to the Telluride Gondola Station and the base of Lift 7. Up to 50 Telluride Ski & Snowboard School instructors participated in the Christmas Eve parade.
On New Year’s Eve Monday another torchlight parade will descend to both the towns of Mountain Village and Telluride at 6:30 p.m. Around 150 ski school employees will participate in the New Year’s Eve parade. Mountain Village will also host a fireworks show to accompany the torchlight parade.
Larry Hopkins has led the torchlight parades for the past 27 years and has participated in it since 1985, when he began as a member of Telluride Ski Resort ski school 33 years ago. Telluride ski patrol started the torchlight tradition in 1972, he explained. The construction of Lift 7, completed in 1977, allowed the torchlight parade to descend towards the Town of Telluride along the front hillside.
At first, the parades were small, with only around a dozen or so ski patrollers participating and only 30 people watching, according to Hopkins. After several years, ski patrol transitioned the parade to the ski school — a “passing of the torch,” as Hopkins called it.
Ski school members use burning highway flares to illuminate the ski slopes, which is why members of the public are not allowed to participate. The flares are from a company in southeast Colorado, the same brand that the torchlight parade has used since its inception in the 1970s.
According to Hopkins, the event depends on the skiers’ skills, but the group does not take practice runs beforehand. When asked how often people practice before the first torchlight parade of the year, Hopkins laughed. “We don’t,” he said.
As Mountain Village grew, the ski school decided to incorporate the town into the New Year’s Eve torchlight parade. Hopkins manages the Telluride side of the parade, while Noah Sheedy of Telski oversees the Mountain Village descent.
The New Year’s Eve torchlight parade is open to all ski instructors, while the Christmas Eve parade only features more seasoned employees because of the steepness of the route.
“It takes very expert torch people to get down Coonskin. Holding live torches on the way down Coonskin is very difficult,” Hopkins explained. “It’s a real dedicated group of senior instructors that help out and make things happen.”
Hopkins even uses an LED flashlight to navigate around snowmaking machines and other obstacles. He’s proud to report there have never been any injuries during Telluride’s torchlight parades.
Hopkins loves this special Telluride community celebration.
“It is something I can do that makes people happy,” he said. “The big thing I wanted to say is this is a celebration for the Telluride community and our guests. When we ski down we see camera flashes going off all over town and also can hear folks yelling and having a great time.”
The torchlight parades have become a special piece of the local community, he added.
“There are people who reserve the same seat at the same restaurant every year so they can watch the torchlight parade from there,” he said.
Due to a dry early season, Hopkins was unsure if the torchlight parade could follow its traditional path down Coonskin and Telluride Trail.
“This year was touch and go for a bit. Descending from Lookout to Easy Out, I thought was too dangerous,” he said.
Luckily, there was enough snow by Christmas Eve to navigate the route. The New Year’s Eve parade is planned to continue as planned, Hopkins said.
For those who want to watch the New Year’s Eve celebration, Hopkins explained the best locations are anywhere near the San Miguel County Courthouse in Telluride and Mountain Village’s Heritage Plaza or “the beach” at the bottom of Lift 4.
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