Shadowed by the towering peaks of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, Telluride’s historic downtown remains a ski town some have dubbed the “anti-Aspen”.
There are no chain stores here, and the funky, frontier vibe (it was here that Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank) is a big draw for skiers and snowboarders looking for something a little different.
With a vertical drop of 4,425 feet from a lift-serviced elevation of 12,515 feet, Telluride Ski Resort has runs for all abilities. While nearly 60 percent of the 2,000 acres of skiable terrain is beginner- and intermediate-friendly, expert and advanced skiers will still find plenty of challenging runs. There are four hike-to-terrain areas with extreme terrain, as well as three all-level terrain parks. Telluride resort has a lift capacity that accommodates more than 22,380 skiers an hour, making for famously scarce lift lines. The average snowfall at Telluride is 280 inches and snow-making covers 220 acres here.
The resort’s ski and snowboard school has everything from private lessons for beginners to three-day heli-ski camps for the more advanced. There are numerous ski and snowboard rental options in both Telluride and Mountain Village, including Telluride Sports, which has multiple locations in both towns. Telluride is now included in the Epic Pass.
For those wanting a break from skiing and boarding, the resort has more than 6 miles of Nordic ski and snowshoe trails, not to mention snow biking (lessons and rentals are available). Telluride’s Town Park has both tubing and ice skating.
The season at Telluride Ski Resort starts just before Thanksgiving and runs through to the first week of April. Some note that March is the best time to go, based on snow levels and the amount of terrain open, as well as available deals on lift passes and lodging as the season starts to wrap up.
Tickets start at $139 for adults and $83 for kids (5 and under ski free). Packages include lift and lodging packages and a mid-winter ski week package. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling (970)-239-7045 .
Nearly 60 percent of Telluride’s ski terrain is dedicated to beginners and intermediate skiers, while the rest is sure to thrill more advanced powder hounds. Here are the best Telluride trails for each level, according to resort staff:
Start your morning off from Mountain Village with a warm-up run down The Meadows, then hop on the Sunshine Express. Ride back up Sunshine Express, then disembark at the top into Ute Park and the Ute Park Express. As you ride the Ute Park Express, the uniqueness of Telluride and its green runs becomes apparent. On this lift, you are transported along at the top of the mountain where you can take in the same great views of Prospect Basin expert-level skiers have.
Hop on Village Express (out of Mountain Village) promptly at 9a.m. — all the freshly groomed corduroy early in the morning is well worth making it to first chair. One of the best-kept secrets on this chair is Peek-A-Boo ski trail on a freshly groomed morning. Head right off the top of Village Express and find your zen first thing in the morning by enjoying this trail, likely all by yourself. Head back up Village Express, this time following the upper section of Boomerang to Cake Walk and Polar Queen Express. The trail network encompassed by Polar Queen Express chair is perfectly tailored to the intermediate skier.
After your legs are thoroughly warmed up from several thousand vertical feet of 40-degree slopes, make your way to Revelation Bowl via the Gold Hill Express. Revelation Bowl offers above-tree- line bowl skiing and is Telluride’s most east-facing terrain, so you’ll maximize the morning sun while enjoying unparalleled views of Bear Creek. Silvercloud is another of Telluride’s iconic steep, groomed, expert-level ski trails.
Avid skiers and boarders might want to stay in Mountain Village, which has a number of hotels, condos and townhouses, just minutes from the lifts. The Lumiere Hotel has 11 luxurious rooms and 18 residences, on-site ski valet and rentals, and is pet-friendly . Nearby, the Bear Creek Lodge has 41 condos, ranging from one to four rooms, each with granite counter kitchens and gas fireplaces. The property also has a heated outdoor pool, an indoor pool and hot tubs.
Down in Telluride village, Camel’s Garden Hotel at the base of the gondola is just two blocks from Main Street and boasts marble bathrooms with over-sized tubs, a magnificent hot tub with views to the ski area and an on-site barbecue hot spot, Oak. A quiet option is Dunton Town House , an upscale bed and breakfast with five European-inspired rooms, close to downtown, with ski and soak packages that include stays at their sister property, Dunton Hot Springs, in Cortez.
For a small town, Telluride – and neighboring Mountain Village – have a lively dining scene. Within a 125-year-old building that once provided ice for the town, La Marmotte offers rustic French bistro fare in downtown Telluride, from coq au vin to juniper berry-dusted rack of venison. For mountain-top dining, try Allred’s Restaurant at the top of the gondola, where you can take in the alpenglow while enjoying elk loin or cider-brined pork chop. For cocktails and tapas, head to There… and ask the master bartender for “the black list” while nibbling on grilled Kobe skewers with horseradish whipped cream dipping sauce.
Telluride has plenty of spots to choose from for a slope-side libation. At Bon Vivant, skiers and boarders can enjoy cocktails with fabulous views at the top of the Polar Queen Express lift before heading down for a beer and a taste of the “secret menu” at Oak — The New Fat Alley, at the base of the Gondola and Chair 8, or just stick around for their barbecue and sweet potato fries. In the village, stop in at the Tomboy Tavern and sink into their over-sized leather couch with a Telluride Brewing Company beer, some of their San Juan Nachos and enjoy the game on the big-screen televisions.
Telluride is located in the southwest corner of Colorado. By air, the best choice is to fly into Montrose Regional Airport, and take advantage of the regular transportation from the airport on the Telluride Express to Telluride, about 65 miles away. Another option is to fly into La Plata County Airport in Durango, about 124 miles away, which is also serviced by the Telluride Express shuttle.
Once here, Telluride is easily walkable, though local taxi services and Uber available. The free gondola connecting Mountain Village and Telluride runs from 6:30 a.m. to midnight every night, extending to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
It’s no wonder visitors from all over the world flock to Telluride. Nestled amid Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, this energetic...