Telluride Ski Resort Guide
Imagine surrounding yourself amongst the dramatic 14,000m high San Juan mountains in southwestern Colorado with 2,000 skiable acres of snow packed runs with a charming historic town.
The name “telluride” may have been adapted from a mumbled “to hell you ride”, but with its spectacular views, it’s nothing like hell. Good infrastructure and a modern ski resort bring skiers and snowboarders back each year.
Bring your A-game to Telluride as it does favour the advanced and expert skiers, although there are plenty of beginner runs too.
Originally a mining town which minted more millionaires per capita than Manhattan, Telluride was once the best kept secret of Colorado, but now it is well known (even with the rich and famous – Oprah Winfrey has a house near Telluride). Telluride ski resort sits between the historic town of Telluride, Colorado and the modern alpine community of Mountain Village, Colorado.
There’s even a free gondola linking the two cities, so there’s no fuss to get around.
Telluride has a very small airport 6 miles from town with direct service from various major US cities including Denver, San Francisco, Dallas, New York/Newark and Phoenix. From Denver, it’s a 1-hour flight – a feast for the eyes with amazing views of snow-capped jagged mountains.
A charming stay in the old western style in Telluride town or a stay in the more contemporary Telluride Mountain Village? Either location is convenient, connected via the slopes and the 13-minute free gondola ride.
There are many fabulous ski-in and ski-out accommodations with an emphasis mainly on luxurious lodgings complete with ski valets, but there are moderately priced options for the budget conscious as well.
Pedestrian walkways throughout the Mountain village give it a European aesthetic, although the nightlife in this part is understated compared to the town.
The gem of the crown of the Telluride hotels is the 5-star Hotel Madeline Telluride – it’s conveniently located in the centre of the village and has access to ski-in and ski-out as well as a ski school for kids.
Old Victorian buildings, representing the town’s past, line the town of Telluride at an elevation of 2,668 metres.
This part seems less resort like, with many of the locals living there. You also have a wider range of restaurants, nightlife options, galleries and boutique shopping options.
A great place to stay here is the Camel’s Garden Hotel and Condominiums, feature oversized rooms and marble bathrooms.
On the slopes
Telluride is renowned for steep and deep trails with many expert runs, while also providing a large acreage (over 50%) for intermediate and beginners.
The face that drops down into the town can be icy and steep, which is not ideal for beginners. Take “the plunge” while descending 957 metres – a classic run with breath-taking views of the town and the surrounding peaks.
The mellow terrain around the mountain village provides kids and beginners wide runs that are less crowded.
7.9 metres of snow blanket the runs (on average), but the snow is prone to be more like dry powder. On average the ski resort is open 7 hours per day to soak in all the gorgeous views.
Telluride has impressive lift infrastructure, with fast gondolas and 7 high speed quads and a lack of queues most of the time.
It may not be European-level Après, but there are a few options with the Alpino Vino, one of the finest, near the top of the Gold Hill.
A refined place to relax, people watch and take in the view, it offers spectacular vistas and good wine, and also features a five course Italian food menu.
If you are more into the local microbrews, check out Gorrono Ranch and catch some afternoon rays whilst relaxing in a beach chair and warm up with their chili bread bowl.
With a cosy heated area, Tomboy Tavern at the base of the Village Express lift is a popular place to meet for Après drinks.
At 3,216 metres, (the mid-way point between town and Mountain village), Allred’s is Telluride’s signature restaurant where you can enjoy lovely views of the 14K peaks and the town lights of evening. Bars in the town close at 1:30am, so you can’t party till dawn, but you can still have a great time.
There’s an abundance of restaurant options, some chic and cosmopolitan, others casual in both town and village. For Pizza fans, go to Brown Dog Pizza in Telluride town and ask for the Detroit style pizza.
A great lunch or breakfast spot is Baked in Telluride, offering a charming bakery. In the Mountain village, if you want an upscale, western-themed place to eat, go to Palmyra at Peaks Resort. Some nights they have music and the food there is great.
For the non-skiers, Telluride doesn’t disappoint either, as there are many activities including sleigh ride dinners, spa treatments, ice climbing, horse riding, and shopping.
Best for intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders who want a high-quality, uncrowded skiing experience and a charming American mountain town to explore, via the rich history, its food, a thriving arts scene and shopping.