Telluride, Colorado was named after a mineral that was never mined there. The small resort town is nestled in a beautiful valley a couple of hours north of Durango and east of Moab, Utah. Butch Cassidy robbed a bank in this town 100 years ago and created a name for himself. Oprah, Jerry Seinfeld and Tom Cruise all bought homes in these jaw dropping peaks. Quentin Tarantino liked it so much he filmed The Angry Eight here. This was my first visit and I expected Telluride to be similar to other Colorado ski resorts I’ve seen. In reality, it’s oozing with its own personality and is one the most beautiful ski towns I’ve ever seen in my travels.Wilson’s Peak is part of the mountain range that frames the town and you can’t help but think you’ve seen the mountain before .It turns out that probably have if you’re a beer drinker.It’s the logo on the Coors bottle. The mountain is so scenic that Coors used it instead of their own mountains in Golden, Colorado where they’re based. Jeep also uses the peak as a background for many of it’s commercials. Bottom line: you won’t find a more scenic place to ski. The town is like one of those snow villages you’ve seen as Christmas decorations and you’ve asked yourself if there really is such a place. There is. It’s called Telluride.
I was in Telluride for the second annual fire festival. The second “anything” is never usually huge since it’s only the second one, but the festival had a respectable lineup of talent for such a new event and of course anything with fire is welcome on a cold night in Colorado. Inspired by Burning Man, the festival offers an alternative locale to witness amazing artists and fire displays. There was a fire organ, fire performers, strange blazing contraptions that looked like they belonged in a Mad Max film, and even fireball shots in the nearby bar. The town is very receptive to promoting festivals and has developed a reputation for having some of the finest in the west. Most of the fire festival takes place in Mountain Village, a companion city to Telluride, and a short ride up the gondola. There’s something happening almost every week in both summer and winter including a film festival, horror festival,comedy festival, and even a hot air balloon festival. You can find a list of some of the upcoming events at: www.telluride.com/telluride-festivals-and-events.
You can walk across most of Telluride in less than ten minutes. There’s a free shuttle bus that will whisk you around the town. The gondola ride is also free and offers a stunningly beautiful ride. At the midway station at 10,550 feet, you can grab a drink or dine at Allred’s, one of the area’s most famous restaurants. Not only is the view breathtaking as you look down over the town, but the restaurant has an award winning wine list and a great menu. One of the most surprising things I discovered about Telluride was the quality of the restaurants. For such a small community, there was lots of choices including Japanese, Fondue, French, Italian, and pretty much anything you might be craving. These restaurants don’t look like the kind of restaurants you find in a small town. They’ve learned to cater to clients with a taste for finer things.
The skiing was fantastic. It didn’t hurt that it was the perfect day: Fresh powdery snow, sunshine, a Snicker’s bar in my pocket and lots of ski lifts and runs for all skill levels. There were so many choices, I never took the same run twice. Telluride has 45% expert trails and the rest is evenly balanced with beginner and amateur. It’s also one of the highest rated resorts in Colorado by such websites as onthesnow.com and powderhounds.com. I don’t how such things are decided, but I know that I’ve never seen such a beautiful view (except maybe Cortina in the Italian Alps). The snow was fluffy and powdery and I never fell down. Okay, maybe once.
he nearest airport is Montrose and is serviced by Southwest Airlines, Delta and several other airlines. You can drive from Denver, but that can take 6-8 hours. Telluride is on the “other side” of the mountain and it’s probably it’s remote location that keeps the crowds at a manageable level.