season kicks off November 24, 2016, at Telluride Ski
Resort, where there is something for everyone to
enjoy both on and off the snow.
Colo. ó A sapphire sky on a sunny day. The aroma of
rich, creamy mushroom soup. Larmandier-Bernier Champagne
chilling. Bon Vivant restaurant puts a luxurious twist on
the skierís outdoor picnic lunch ó just one of the
refined touches at Telluride Ski Resort, where the season
kicks off Nov. 24.
I first skied here 20-plus years ago, the once rough-hewn
edges have been polished to a fine sheen. The on-mountain
food is among the best in the Rockies. And as of Dec. 17,
new Great Lakes Airlines service from Denver makes it even
easier to reach.
mountain isnít huge ó just a little more than 2,000
skiable acres. But it still boasts more than its share of
expert terrain, which was its original lure, while
offering an abundance of intermediate and beginner runs as
such as Spiral Stairs, Plunge and Power Line rise above
the town and dare skiers to test their mettle on the
double black-diamond pitches. When the resort opened in
1972, these were among the steepest runs in the Rockies.
The above-tree-line runs on Black Iron Bowl and Palmyra
Peak opened in the early 2000s, and they challenge even
the most skilled skier.
middle portion of the mountain is awash with superlative
groomed runs. The Village Express and Polar Queen Express
chairlifts serve acres of intermediate terrain, and the
Sunshine Express lift provides access to some stellar
family-fun and learning runs.
Queen, Humboldt Draw and Silver Tip are just three of the
trails that can easily fill up an afternoon of cruising.
mountainís terrain is clustered according to ability; itís
difficult for skiers to take a wrong turn and end up on a
run thatís over their head.
scenery is breathtaking from almost every run but
especially on the aptly named See Forever, which traces
the spine of the resort. The trail is skiable by an
intermediate and shouldnít be missed. The true test on
this run is to find a place to stop at the side and take
in the beauty without getting in the way of other skiers.
a relatively small resort, visitors still have plenty of
choices. There are two centers for lodging, meals and
entertainment. At the base of the mountain is the town of
Telluride; about 800 feet higher on the mountain is
Mountain Village. Each has its own appeal.
to roughly 2,300 permanent residents, Telluride has all
the flavor youíd expect from a town thatís been around
since the 1870s. A walk along Main Street makes it easy to
imagine what it was like at the height of the late 19th
century mining boom.
can pause outside the Mahr Building and visualize the old
San Miguel Valley Bank, the site of Butch Cassidyís
first bank robbery. Funky shops and restaurants are
neighbors with the well-stocked, old-time hardware store.
range from local hangouts like La Cocina de Luz (www.lacocinatelluride.com),
serving superb Mexican food and margaritas, to the
exquisite French cuisine of La Marmotte (www.lamarmotte.com),
located in an old ice house.
New Sheridan Hotel (www.newsheridan.com) has been open for
nearly 125 years. The rooms, updated in 2008, make for a
great marriage of history and comfort.
with convenience in mind, Mountain Village is a cozy
collection of excellent resort-style lodging and
restaurants that are good but donít measure up to the
selection in town. Amenities differ among the properties;
the 32-room boutique hotel Inn at Lost Creek was perfect
for my needs (www.innatlostcreek.com).
makes this sort of split personality work is the Mountain
Village-Telluride gondola. Celebrating its 20th
anniversary this month, the free gondola runs between the
village and the town from 7 a.m. to midnight, eliminating
the need to drive or take a taxi.
on a ridge at the 10,550-foot midpoint of the gondola trip
is the resortís premier dining spot, Allredís (www.tellurideskiresort.com/allreds).
Huge windows deliver diners unparalleled views to go along
with outstanding, locally sourced food and a fabulous wine
who wonder how skis are made should take the Wagner Custom
Skis factory tour (www.wagnerskis.com), which plans to
move from Placerville to Mountain Village later this year.
Tours can be arranged by calling 970-728-0107.
who are serious get their clubs sized specifically for
them," founder and owner Peter Wagner told our tour
group. "I thought that would be a good idea for skis
Wagnerís focus is on high-end, custom-made skis, the
company also makes a line of rental skis available at
Telluride facilities; inquire at the rental shop.
resorts are becoming hot spots for distilleries, and
Telluride is no exception. Telluride Distilling Co. (www.telluridedistilling.com)
is just 10 minutes outside of town. It makes vodka from
100 percent sugar cane instead of grain or potatoes. The
result is an ultra-smooth version of the old standby,
perfect for a martini or bloody mary.
a great mountain with a historic town, season with fine
food and amenities, and you have the recipe for a ski
resort that consistently is ranked among the best in North