Who books a ski vacation based on scenery alone? Folks who’ve been to Telluride, that’s who. Sitting inside a breathtaking box canyon in the San Juan Mountains, surrounded by stunning peaks, Telluride (No. 1 for Scenery) has readers raving. “It is the most scenic resort I have ever skied.” While getting there is a challenge, those willing to make the trip are rewarded with a quaint mountain town coupled with world-class skiing. One reader hits the nail on the head: “It’s a pain to get to, but that’s really a plus.” Be one of the relative few to make the haul and you’ll find a top-notch array of accommodations, dining, and shops along the main drag, Colorado Avenue, with a grid of side streets boasting more finds and earning the resort its No. 2 Character rank. On the mountain, steep, tight chutes and open, rock-littered bowls satiate gung-ho big-mountain skiers, while winding groomers are on hand for families. Or join the locals and take to one of Telluride’s bootpacks. “Amazing destination, has it all.”
On-Hill Lunch >> Bon Vivant’s 40-foot umbrella provides a tasty refuge at the top of the Polar Queen express (Chair 5). The French country fare includes duck confit and elk-sausage cassoulet.
Bragging Rights>> Palmyra Peak boasts 2,000 vertical feet of skiing into Revelation Bowl; gold Hill Chutes reward hikers with aesthetic lines and tight couloirs; Bald Mountain is a great option for an intro to hike-to terrain.
Don’t Miss>> Commuting in Telluride is as cool as it gets; free gondolas are the transportation between downtown and the slopeside Mountain Village. Rich in character, downtown Telluride is a snapshot of the good old days, while Mountain Village is refined and modern. For the party-hearty, the free gondola runs until midnight.