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Nine Things You Dont Know About Telluride

Brad Larsen, Telluride Ski Resort Brad Larsen, Telluride Ski Resort

By Rachel Walker

While Colorado is full of family-friendly resorts, sometimes you just need to leave the baggage kids at home and get away to feed the beast. For this, I went to Telluride. In late January, I kissed my kids and husband goodbye, hopped on a short flight from Denver to Montrose/Telluride Regional Airport, and spent the next three days skiing my brains out.

Heres what I learned about this terrific, remote destination:

  1. I love steep skiing. OK, I actually knew this about myself, but its such a visceral reminder when the edges of my skis are biting into the pitch of Revelation Bowl. Granted, Telluride doesnt have a lock on Colorado steep skiing, but those jagged San Juan Mountains serve up a concentrated amount. Inbound days were spent building up lactate in my quads as I chased my friends down lap after lap of high-speed groomers.
  2. Telluride is easy to get to. By car, its at least a 7-hour drive from Boulder to Telluride. By air, the flight is less than an hour from DIA to Montrose, and then a shuttle can whisk you to Telluride in about 50 minutes. And the price of flights was surprisingly reasonable. Dont believe me? Check it out for yourself.
  3. Eat like a European. Europeans ski hard and eat well. So do the folks in Telluride. Sure, you could grab a burger at the on-mountain cafeteriaor you could order the antipasto plate, a gourmet “panino,” and a lovely glass of red at Alpino Vino. It was sunny and warm, so we sat on the deck, savored our food, and enjoyed the stunning views.
  4. You dont need a car in Telluride. I stayed in Mountain Village at Peaks Resort (as opposed to town), and still had no need for a car. When I wanted to hang out in town, the gondola from the mountain offered a sublime commute. There was the unbelievable sunset outside, the expansive views, and the simple thrill of being moved from point a to point b in a box attached to a cable.
  5. There is no end of skiing or snowboarding options. I visited Telluride in the middle of a long high-pressure spell. There hadnt been new snow for two weeks, and the coverage was getting thin. Still, the entire mountain was open. MoreBear Creek, a popular backcountry area, was open. Obviously you should only ski the backcountry if you have avalanche education and the proper gear, and, at least in Bear Creek, a guide or local to show you around. This concentrated area offers something of everything: open bowls, steep chutes, cliff drops, and more.
  6. The locals are hard-core. If youre going to make the requisite sacrifices to live in Telluride (i.e. settle in an out of reach, tiny, destination town with limited housing and job prospects), you are, by default, resourceful. Telluride is full of entrepreneurs who create their own jobs (looking at you Wagner Custom Skis) and athletes/mountain folks/free spirits who live in Telluride expressly because it isnt your standard suburb. These people get after it. They ski impossibly steep lines, think nothing of climbing up 3,000 feet backcountry slopesbefore workand revel in their outdoorsy lifestyle. It is super fun to rub elbows with them. Theyre inspiring.
  7. There is very little attitude in Telluride. I mean this in a great way. There are other ski resorts (not necessarily in Colorado) with renowned steeps and gnarly terrain, and where the locals are quick to shun the tourists or to adopt, well, attitude. I didnt encounter that in Telluride, and I greatly appreciated the friendliness.
  8. You can ride in a helicopter in Telluride. Telluride HeliTrax has access to more than 200 acres of backcountry terrain. The company leaves from the mountain, and its guides and pilots are among the best. Ride the bird for just one day or pony up for morewhatever fits your budgetand youll find yourself in exhilarating, remote terrain.
  9. Telluride ski resort makes its own wine. And it is really good. Find it at the on-mountain restaurant Allreds, or, if you prefer, choose one of the other 750 varietals on hand.