Curbed Ski hits a lot of ski towns each year, but this year one of the spots we just kept coming back to wasTelluride. A former silver mining camp on the San Miguel River in Colorado's western San Juan Mountains, Telluride has it all: killer skiing, a fun, historic downtown, and luxurious accommodations. And although this winter is coming to a close, we've got the top ten reasons why Telluride needs to be on your bucket list, stat.
1. The views: Telluride is surrounded by drop dead gorgeous views of white-capped peaks and stunning rock formations. There's a reason Oprah just bought 60 acres here.
2. The expert skiing: Curbed Ski doesn't mess around when we hit the mountain, but Telluride delivers when it comes to the double black diamonds. On a recent powder day we lapped Gold Hill Chute 1 and had fresh tracks time and time again, no hiking required.
3. The hiking: If you want to bust your lungs, there is plenty of terrain for that too. Whether you hike all the way to the top of Palmyra Peak at 13,320 feet (1 to 1.5 hours) or trek to any of Gold Hill Chutes 2-10 (15 to 30 minutes), you will not be bored on this mountain. There are also short five minute hikes off of Chair 12 that get you fun, steep turns.
4. It's good for the whole family: If you're like us and constantly looking for a mountain with fun steeps (see above) and easy groomers for the kids, Telluride delivers. Curbed Ski can vouch for the well-positioned magic carpets (if you see a 20-month-old snowboarding toddler, that's ours) and there are plenty of well-groomed greens and blues to keep the young ones occupied.
Photo of Gorrono Ranch on a snowy day, by Jason Barber
5. The on-mountain dining: Instead of having one or two huge lodges packed full of hungry skiers, Telluride has a different plan. Expect intimate, well-positioned on-mountain restaurants like Bon Vivant, an open-air French restaurant with killer mushroom soup and a delicious bread pudding. We also like the New Orleans inspired Giuseppe's (try the muffaletta) at the top of the Plunge Lift (warning, it's tiny so head here when the sun is out) and nothing beats Gorrono Ranch for a pulled pork sandwich and draught beer on the patio. Feeling flush? Hit up Allred's for amazing views and fancy cocktails.
6. You don't need a car: Whether you stay slopeside in Mountain Village or in historic downtown, you won't need a car in Telluride. The town is very walkable and the resort offers a free gondola that links Telluride to the mountain above. There's also a free dial-a-ride shuttle service around Mountain Village.
7. It's got that old ski town charm: Whether you're a ski bum hanging out for a weekend, a local skiing day 102 of the season, or a celebrity in town to party it up, Telluride just makes you feel good. On a recent trip we kicked back on Gorrono Ranch's patio for hours, slugging beers and even battling a well-known celebrity in a snow ball fight with his kids. This is ski-town life at its best.
All photos by Jason Barber
8. The lodging: Curbed Ski may like to scare ourselves silly on steep lines and in the trees, but it doesn't mean we don't want a little luxury at night. We love tucking in at the ski-in/ski-out Lumiere Hotel in Mountain Village, and a recent stay at the ski resort-owned Inn at Lost Creek also proved highly enjoyable. In town, don't miss the New Sheridan Hotel with its classic Victorian architecture and Main Street's oldest bar.
9. Backcountry Access: Backcountry aficionados should consider teaming up with a well-versed local to (safely) ski Bear Creek Basin, a powder oasis of steep cliffs, chutes, and trees easily accessed from the top of Telluride Ski Resort. If you can navigate the avalanche-prone, expert-only terrain, you're rewarded with epic turns that deposit you directly into downtown Telluride.
10. No lift lines: You can blame (or praise) the somewhat isolated location in Southwest Colorado, but Telluride doesn't get crowded. Lift lines rarely have a wait and we love how many times you get to lap a run before it's tracked out.