There are ski resorts and there are ski towns. Telluride, Colorado is the latter. When you enter Telluride, you enter a different time and space altogether. You enter a box canyon as far from I-70 as one can imagine, so that if you wake up on a powder day, you’ll never have to worry about road closures or parking. Instead you’ll walk to the lift, distracted by the beauty of the peaks that surround you, not the line of cars in front of you. If what you want is the real deal when it comes to the ultimate ski town experience, consider these top five reasons to come to Telluride for this winter’s ski vacation:
Easy to Get to, Hard to Leave
With 14 direct flights from 11 major U.S. cities, Telluride has some of the best air access in ski country. Fly direct from Newark, La Guardia, Chicago, Atlanta, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles to Telluride/Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ).
The Beauty: Telluride’s beauty is unparalleled, period. After growing up in Telluride, my mom took me to Chamonix, France and Verbier, Switzerland and I thought they were just okay. When friends, who grew up in Aspen and Vail visit, they stop in the middle of Main Street in awe of the surrounding jagged peaks that seem just a little closer, higher, and less attainable. And even the oldest Telluride locals saturate their Facebook pages with weekly pictures of the valley floor and surrounding San Juans. Apparently, beauty in Telluride never gets old.
Main Street: What Telluride lacks for in size, it makes up for in heart and soul, which is grounded in its off-camber Main Street lined by coffee shops, cafes, bars, yoga studios and independently owned-shops. Here, you’ll see more bikes than cars parked at the chairlift, and that lift lines are the exception rather than the rule. You’ll see that skis are stashed in office closets rather than sport coats, and meetings are over powder instead of martinis. You’ll slow when you walk down Main Street, discovering that you’re no longer in a hurry, but instead focused on the mountains around you whose beauty always seems to change.
The Telluride Ski Resort has something for everyone from the most extreme skier in your group to the expert après aficionado. For those always looking for adrenaline, hike to the top of Palmyra Peak at 13,320 and ski its extreme North chute. Park rats of all abilities can find jumps and rails to fit their level. Beginners can start above Lift Ten in Ute Park then progress to the terrain parks below Lift Four before flying high in the Hoot Brown Air Garden. For those who want to cruise from one glass of wine to another, follow groomers to Bon Vivant and Alpino Vino before shushing, See Forever, the mountain’s most famous top to bottom groomed cruiser. Groomers, bumps, chutes, and an extensive hike-to network, Telluride Ski Resort has it all.
The Free Gondola, or “G”, as it is endearingly called, doesn’t only ferry skiers to the middle of the mountain, it serves as free transportation connecting the area’s two complimentary towns: the funky, eclectic Town of Telluride and the manicured, amenity-rich Mountain Village. The Gondola acts as a ski lift, shuttle, romantic evening interlope and hours of entertainment for the youngest in your family.
The greatest thing about Telluride is that it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s a beautiful ski town that makes its own rules. It’s a take it or leave it sort of place. But those looking for the real deal when it comes to the genuine ski town experience, always elect to take it – and then end up coming back for more.