Telluride is a reminder not all ski resorts are created equal. America is full of great ski resorts, and Colorado alone has plenty. But out of the hundreds of options a select few places have that extra wow factor that sets them apart from the rest. ‘Ask Doctor Pete’ Stiebel explains why.
There are also plenty of great deals to make the Telluride experience accessible like pay 8 day pass / ski 14 days, pay 3 nights stay 4 and more – see details of those at bottom & from Mogul Ski World.
Want wow factor plus? Then do as more and more of your fellow seasoned snow travellers are doing and head to Telluride. It’s in a way become the new kid on the block being discovered by those of us who have skied a lot of resorts already.
The fact it’s now part of the Epic Pass will incentivise a lot more of us to check it out soon – you get up to 7 day’s skiing here on that, with no blackout dates.
Why the wow? The location and the terrain really set Telluride apart. The old silver mining town is located in a box canyon, a dead end road surrounded by massive 14,000 ft mountain peaks on 3 sides.
It has been around for a while though; think Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’s first bank robbery.
The ski area has plenty that is not for the faint hearted: I’ve never seen so many gun skiers skiing so many long and steep runs. Even the home run back to town is black and double black! But don’t worry if you don’t ski like the Doc troops, 60% of the terrain is actually cruisy greens and blues, just usually with way better views.
There is also a newer mountain village built in recent times on a ledge about one third of the way up the mountain. Built in the classical North American ski town architecture of stone and multi gabled roof lines it is a pedestrian only village of modern luxury hotels and nearby mountain homes.
All of this is accessible by a free for pedestrians gondola that connects the old town to the mountain village. It is also one of the main access lifts for skiers to hit the mountain.
Interestingly the gondola is dog friendly as is much of Telluride with many dog hitching posts, aka “Puppy parking”, in town.
At the top of the gondola is the stunningly located Allred’s restaurant with jaw dropping views over the town and the encapsulating box canyon.
From here the ski down to the town under the gondola is a quad burning rather long, black run.
The pitch of many of Telluride’s piste runs are steep and quite a few lead into off piste peaks, one even accessed by a ladder spanning across a rather steep and deep gully.
On mountain facilities, other than the readily accessible Mountain Village and its bars and restaurants, which at least at its edge are ski in-ski out, are the on mountain eateries in the middle of the ski area.
There are also a few smaller, intimate, high end sit down affairs scattered around the mountain, such as Alpino Vino and Bon Vivant, catering to a more relaxed long lunch experience.
What really sets Telluride apart is the steep and deep terrain and the sensational scenery.
There is also the old silver mining town atmosphere with many quaint restaurants and bars, and a variety of smaller hotels and guest houses and some larger hotels.
All are of Victorian architecture and served by a busy Main Street with shops and restaurants. Of note is the refurbished grand old Victorian, the New Sheridan Hotel. There are also quite a few wild western pubs in town.
Telluride is in the San Juan mountain range in south west Colorado, a little off the beaten track, but becoming better air served in recent times as it has become more popular.
It really should be on everyone’s bucket list, and not just the expert skiers – so many American resorts do the basics well of runs, grooming, lifts, service and more, but none have a setting like this.
It keeps getting better, too – Telluride continued its ongoing multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment last winter with snowmaking upgrades and technology to improve efficiency and reduce carbon footprint. In 2017-18 beginners got an expanded 15-acre terrain-based teaching facility, plus there’s an expanded grooming fleet to enhance the manicured terrain across the resort for all levels.
Getting to Telluride
Access to Telluride is easier than ever: from Australia fly non-stop to LA, San Francisco or Dallas, then to Montrose-Telluride Regional Airport(MTJ), a 90 minute shuttle ride away. From NZ you can also fly non stop to Houston and on to Montrose-MTJ.
Be aware of altitude effects when staying at Telluride. The town is at 8,750 ft / 2667 m and the Mountain Village is at 9,545 ft / 2910 m.
The top lift served elevation is 12,570 ft., and Telluride has a maximum elevation at 13,150 ft/4010 m.
Telluride Resort info and packages
Telluride lift pass and accommodation specials
• Lift pass specials include pay 8 days ski 14 days, or pay 6 ski 7
• Epic Pass (not Epic Australia Pass) holders get up to 7 days skiing at Telluride
• Pay 3 nights stay 4 at Mountain Lodge Telluride
Conditions and black out dates apply, for international bookings check with www.mogulski.com.au for details – they have plenty of specials.