Telluride is arguably America’s most spectacularly beautiful ski resort. The magnificent alpine peaks of the San Juan range soar above, offering vast powder fields and terrain to challenge the best.
Way below, tucked into a box canyon, the town of Telluride is just 8 blocks by 12 blocks big. Designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1964, it retains all the Colorado wild west era charm blended with the latest hipster mountain culture and businesses, and a variety of accommodation to suit most budgets.
In between, accessible from town by free gondola, the mid-mountain village offers superb ski in/ski out convenience and luxury accommodation options to satisfy the most demanding client.
Whichever you stay at, you can access the whole 2000 acres of great skiing. This runs the gamut from long green trails and endless alpine corduroy to seriously steep bowls and truly gnarly chutes. These feature more of Colarado’s officially Extreme Rated terrain, including one incredible couloir line called “Seniors” into Palmyra Bowl. Something to work up to perhaps. Telluride’s new aerial photo trail maps of these terrain options give you a good idea what you’re in for.
“There’s a lot to be said for a natural high, but when planning a visit to Telluride make sure you’re ready for it. With a base elevation of about 2700m and topping out at over 4000m, this is one of the highest resorts in Colorado. If visitors haven’t adjusted to altitude before arriving they will find skiing and even walking through town way tougher than expected – particularly if you want to hit the challenges hidden in Telluride’s steepest terrain. If you are on a multi resort trip through Colorado’s 28 ski options then starting at a couple of the lower ones makes sense” says Snow Action’s Features Editor Bronwen Gora, who has been a frequent visitor to Telluride for over 20 years.
“Being acclimated also makes skiing Gold Hill, Telluride’s highest region along with Revelation Bowl, all that much more satisfying. Lapping this high-speed quad for even an hour gives anyone some of the best views in ski country, plus a real workout on some of the most challenging in-bounds runs in Colorado. The Gold Hill lift lets passengers off at a heady 3740m, from where there are more than a dozen wonderfully steep slopes with names like Millions through trees and into gullies or through wide open bowls. Some are so steep and exposed they are accessed only via gates, which in turn are only open when ski patrol deems it safe enough to venture out there. That said, you still need to know exactly what you’re doing up here. Tumbling is often not an option.”
“While 41 per cent of Telluride’s 810 skiable hectares is ranked advanced or extreme, it shouldn’t put off intermediates and beginners. It takes quite a few years to work up to these sorts of runs, especially at this altitude, and Telluride has loads on its lower slopes to keep intermediates and beginners busy. Some of my favourite days have been spent cruising at high speed around Prospect Bowl’s intermediate runs or fanging it down the groomed expanse of See Forever.”
In fact, there is at least one blue run off every chair so that almost everyone can get to experience the entire mountain. Enjoy the uncrowded cruising runs at your own pace, Telluride is too far from big cities to attract day trippers. The incredible views are as good as skiing gets anywhere. Stop for lunch and watch others do the hard yards accessing and skiing those wilder lines. And no matter where you ski you can always toast your achievements at Telluride’s 3647m high Alpino Vino, the highest wine bar in the USA.
Getting to Telluride
Access to Telluride is easier than ever: from Australia fly non-stop to LA, San Francisco or Dallas, then connect to Montrose-Telluride Regional Airport(MTJ), 65.5 miles, or approximately 1 hour 20 minutes away with express shuttle services. From New Zealand you can also fly non stop to Houston and on to Montrose-MTJ.
From Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT) Telluride is approximately 133 miles, 2 hours 35 minutes or from Durango-La Plata County Airport (DRO) Telluride is approximately 125 miles, 2 hours 25 minutes.