Telluride, Colorado (winter)
- More about your oliver guide: Courtney Celeste Fisch
- Trip type: Adult, Family, Group getaway, Solo, Mountains
- Activity level: high
- Ideal length of trip: I have bumped my ski trips to 10 days (when I can.). Getting the kids into 7-8 days of ski school really allows them to progress. NO LESS THAN 7 DAY TRIP
to & from
Word on the street is that more and more direct flights are opening into Montrose. Great for those wanting to get there— but it also means word is getting out just how special Telluride is. Once arriving in Montrose you can take a shared ride via Telluride Express. The transport is clean and comfortable and you the drivers have so much intel it is a joy to just listen to them chat about the towns you pass on the way in.
- There is a private airstrip in Telluride. Not an airport- I’ll call it an airstrip. And it practically hangs off the edge of a mountain. But if you must insist on flying in on the jet- your call.
- Driving options vary. Denver can be roughly 6.5 hours and Grand Junction is approximately 2.5/3 hours. Albuquerque and Santa Fe are roughly 6 hours away. In the winter- weather is most often the determining factor. It can actually be a better drive to gauge when coming up from the south.
Where to Stay
Where to stay is dependent on several factors. Do you experience altitude sickness? If yes, you may prefer to stay in the town of Telluride. Do you want to stumble into ski school? Stay in the Mountain Village. Do you enjoy the hustle and bustle of a cool and trending town? Stay in the town of Telluride although the gondola connecting the two runs until midnight and even later on some occasions.
- In our book- Element 52 is the ultimate stay- and where we plan on staying next time we go. This is because we personally love the town of Telluride (the coffee shops, bakery, food, shopping and feeling you are in a town and not just a vacation destination.). Element 52 is an Auberge resort and offers all the luxury you would expect. Most importantly- it is across the street from the gondola. We imagine grabbing our coffee and croissants and eating on the ride up.
- Peaks Hotel and Resort- Mountain Village. We chose to stay in one of the cabins at the Peaks Forever Village. The selling factor- access to their enormous pool and spa facilities. Many parents (including us) were shaking our heads that we spend so much on these ski trips yet when asking the kids what their favorite part was the unanimous decisions as always “THE SLIDE!!!” Yes, there is a water slide by their indoor pool. And they can swim inside/outside when it is snowing and 0 degrees outside. We would swim after ski, grab a happy hour cocktail while waiting for takeout from the restaurant and then eat at home so the kiddos could melt into bed. The cabin was a comfortable and warm accommodation. We were living in a home rather than a hotel room, and there is something to be said about that.
- Hotel Fairmont- Franz Klammer Lodge, Mountain Village. Were were often told it can be a tossup between the Fairmont and the Peaks. The location of the Fairmont cannot be beat- it practically wraps around the The Village Express/Lift #4. And it is a Fairmont Hotel. . . So there is an expectation that it will be pretty nice (to say the least.)
- Madeline Hotel, Mountain Village. This is another Auberge resort. Ski and and Ski out- with the valet standing in the snow waiting for you. Full service luxury- and the ice skating rink is right outside although we never saw it open (not certain what the deal was with that.)
Where to Eat and Drink
- Allred’s is the best deal on the mountain with a 16.99 lunch buffet. The catch- it is a private club. A gorgeous, warm and cozy club where you leave your boots and gear at the door and eat in slippers surrounded by warming fires. Supposedly you need to know a member to get a table. My husband non-chalently walked in at 11a and politely asked if we could have a table on the early side so we would not be a bother to the “members”- and we were obliged. We called a few days later to try to snag another table and it was a no go. Try your luck- if it works in your favor you will be thrilled!
- Bon Vivant for lunch. If it is a heavy snow day it will be closed and it is open air (yes, even in the middle of winter!). On a bluebird day I suggest arriving 1130-1145 to beat the crowd and snag a seat. The french onion and mushroom soups were divine and topped off with chocolate gateau. The Bloody Mary is topped the most over-the-top garnish I have ever witnessed and my spiked hot toddy was just what my muscles were craving.
- Alpino Vino. I hear dinner is quite the experience although I was only able to partake in lunch. Wine is the only drink on the menu and not exactly what I am personally craving on a ski day (tequila and bourbon!) BUT the grilled cheese and the beef tips on focaccia is something I still dream about. There is very limited indoor seating. If you are gliding down See Forever and sensing a storm I would hurry to grab a chair inside by the fire.
- The Pick in Mountain Village. I would ski from 930-1040 and then grab a double protein (chicken) burrito before my 11a lesson. This is Chipotle elevated. I want to open one here in West Palm. I have never had such savory options when building a burrito (bowls are available as well.)
- The Grilled Cheese Stand- Mountain Village. Grilled cheese curds are a “gluten free” option. You’re welcome. Grab a crepe from the crepe stand for dessert and eat by the fire.
- Brown Dog Pizza. On our first night we were looking for the gondola and asked a welcoming man to guide us. He walked with us and asked where we were headed. When we mentioned Brown Dog he said “They put something in that crust. It is amazing. It is addictive. It is out of this world.” Who could this man be that was so obsessed with Brown Dog. Turns out- it was Bill Jensen- the President of Telluride Resort. So he knows what is around town. AND HE WAS RIGHT! We ate at Brown Dog twice. Rolled in with the kids (so family friendly!) and ordered make your own for them, meatballs and two Detroit style pizzas for us. Let’s just say pizza put me through college (my family owned pizza restaurants) and I know my pizza. Brown Dog is the most innovative and delicious pizza I have had to date.
- Taco Del Gnar. Also known as Gnarly Tacos. They were gone so fast I can hardly remember what we ate. So we ordered a second round. The AVO taco is something not to be believed. The tuna tataki makes sushi chefs wimper. Add some yucca fries and a margarita and you are set. If these guys ever want to franchise. . . I’ll be first in line!
- The Butcher and The Baker. The crispy chicken salad was a nice balance between “mountain food” and something green. The buffalo cauliflower wings are the perfect snack for a vegan or vegetarian- or someone who wants to pretend they are during chicken salad bites. The cocktails are worthy of their own pub. The desserts- could run their own store.
- Baked at Telluride. The Do-Sant. That’s right. Not a Cro-Nut but a Do-Sant. Oh yes, there is a difference. Be prepared to ski A LOT if you start to dabble in these.
- La Cocina de Luz. This is most like how I normally eat and I was thrilled to have this option. The food was so clean, so delicious and nutritious we kept ordering more. But it isn’t just for us mostly organic vegetarian people- a 13yr old boy on the gondola said it was his favorite taco spot. Trust me, we polled a lot of people asking them to choose between Cocina and Gnar. Two different spots-both are insanely delicious.
What to Do
SKI SKI SKI SKI SKI!!!!! The is my new favorite mountain to ski. Enough terrain to keep me entertained for 8 days of skiing. The max lift line wait was 1 minute. Otherwise we just slid on. The locals love where they live, enjoy talking about it but also tend to want to keep it a secret so it stays as it is. That being said- this quaint little town already has the celebrity buzz! Oprah is building a mega mansion, you pass Ralph Lauren’s Double RL ranch on the way in and Tom Cruise (among others) own properties on the mountain.
- Dog sledding
- Fat Tire Biking
- We heard on several occasions that there are hot springs nearby and they should be experienced!
If you have children and they are in ski school- don’t try to make the 9a Max 4 lesson. You won’t make it. There will be lots of yelling and nagging and bribing and you still won’t make it. Don’t try.
- The library is a great place to hang with kiddos on an off-day. It was recommended by a friend. We are not library dwellers at home but gave it a shot and the kids were in heaven.
- The Plunge Lift #9 is a long and slow ride. Ride time is roughly 13 minutes. BUT- the runs off this line are some of the best I have ever skied. Plunge and Bushwacker are steep single blacks that you can tear down and really feel your legs burn. If you want to take in some scenery, dip into LogPile (on your left as you start down Plunge) and enjoy the peace and serenity of the trees.
- The Revelation Bowl is a great place to play around and have fun in some steep powder but still feel safe (if double blacks are not your thing.). If you are up for adventure- I am told the Gold Hill chutes really open up after a good snow. We had the weather opportunity but no one in my crew would check it out with me. Next year!
- Two Skirts Telluride for a female shopping break. The denim wall and sneaker selection satisfied this jean and sneaks junkie. A quick walk down Colorado Avenue has everything and anything you would want to purchase on a trip to Colorado. I just wished I had more time. . .
- ***TAKE NOTE***. If you are a planner and you know in , APRIL, that you next plan on skiing more than 7 days the next ski season- PURCHASE AN UNLIMITED EPIC PASS! Yes, it is true, you will SAVE MONEY ON LIFT TICKETS! I skied 8 days at $149 a day- totaling $1192. If I had purchased the All Access Epic Pass it would of cost $939. Times two adults. AND- perhaps I would be more inclined to dip out to Vail for a quick weekend- my lift passes would of already been covered!
Starbucks. There is a Ghost Coffee and Coffee Cowboy in town. In mountain village there is Telluride Coffee Company. There is just no need- unless your kiddo sees the sign and is DYING for a cake pop.
What to Pack
Telluride is laid back. REALLY laid back. As with most ski towns you have the dinner option of wearing your gear or changing. If you wear “mountain street” clothes- jeans, boots and a sweater. I spotted a handful of ladies dressed in fur- and there is a GORGEOUS shop in town- but it is also along the lines of “mountain fur.” Just think “WWRLW” (what would Ralph Lauren wear.)
- Sorrel boots
- Herno Jacket- I wore my Herno Lamiar to ski. They also are the perfect fit for wearing around town- nonassuming luxury.
- Falke wool baselayers
- Smart wool socks
- A Perfect Moment sweater. They are are just so “in” right now.
- Moussy Vintage Denim
Have you ever skied on Wagner skis?!? Pete makes them in Mountain Village! Don’t have any idea what I am talking about- CHECK OUT WAGNER SKIS! There are factory tours on Tuesday and Friday. After renting them once in Aspen I am hooked. I emailed the shop to try to reserve a pair of demos but dropped the ball to give them my arrival date. No problem- Pete recommended Boot Doctors and then rented me a pair. Other people that “know” will give you a shout on the mountain.
Boot Doctors is supposed to be the ultimate in getting a custom boot. I have yet to spring for a pair but if I do I’ll get them from Boot Doctors.
For a summer take on Telluride, check out Kristine Gardner’s Telluride Oliver Guide here.