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Gold Pass

Telluride: Totally Worth the Trip

Many visitors believe that Telluride is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The town sits in a box canyon of the San Juans and the ski resort jets up from one of the main streets like a skyscraper. The mountains in the San Juan range are younger than mountains in northern Colorado so they are sharp, jagged and dramatic.

Telluride has a bit of posh with fine dining restaurants, some celeb appeal, and gigantic homes. It also has an uber athlete community, similar to Durango, where it is quite common for people to climb, ski, jump, trek, repel, hike, traverse and launch anything and everything in the most punishing conditions solely for bragging rights. In other words, these people are insane. Telluride has a bit of hippy love left over from its experimental years. For example there is a free box in town based on the old once mans trash is another mans treasure idea, and it seems like a dog and a bike are issued to every local upon taking up residency.

But thats just the town. Then theres the skiing. Revelation Bowl, Gold Hill Chutes, Palmyra Peak – some of the most challenging terrain in Ski Country – all in bounds.

This little garage houses WWII Howitzers. The 105mm Howitzers are leased from the US Army and used by Tellurides ski patrol for avalanche control on Palmyra Peak, Black Iron Bowl and Gold Hill. Patrollers had to attend training for the use of the 105mm Howitzer in Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a series of trainings for the four man teams which consist of a gunner, assistant gunner, loader and assistant loader.

Somewhere up here is the steel staircase and bridge that Telluride installed just a couple seasons ago. They airlifted a bridge and staircase to the left shoulder of Palmyra Peak by helicopter. The two sets of stairs measure 48 and 54 feet, and weigh 3304 and 3324 pounds, respectively. The bridge measures 24 feet in length and weighs 2750 pounds. All three components measure 30 inches wide, feature hand railings on both sides and serrated grated steel walking surface. Together, the stairway and bridge combine make up 126 linear feet ascending Gold Hill.

If you go, be sure to make dinner plans at Alpino Vino. Anytime you have to take a snowcat to the restaurant you can bet itll be a fun evening. Alpino Vino sits at 12,000 feet above sea level. It is a tiny cabin. There are maybe ten tables inside but lots of seating outside for sunny lunches. Only recently they started serving dinners.

Upon arrival, men in uniform with cordials in hand.

The restaurant used to be a care takers home and has lots of cute details. The hundreds of bottles of wine are kept upstairs in a loft accessed by a tiny spiral stair case.