From an Indagare member, Bronxville, NY; January 2011
We spent six days in Telluride between Christmas and New Year’s. It was my third time there, but the first time my husband and I took our kids. I have to say, we have skied in many other places, including Beaver Creek and Deer Valley, but Telluride was by far our favorite ski resort to visit.
First of all, the setting it spectacular. The town lies in a box canyon and is surrounded on all sides by mountains. As soon as you arrive, you get the sense that this is a real town, where real people live. Nothing about it feels orchestrated, seasonal or fake: there are authentic stores, restaurants and inns. At the same time, it also has all the amenities that a well-traveled skier would want. And, of course, there’s a fun Western vibe. There was one bar that my husband loved, because it had such a great mix of locals and visitors; you really felt like you were part of a local scene.
The only conundrum about Telluride is the lack of a single, spot-on resort for a high-end traveler. Anyone who wants ski-in-ski-out has to be based in Mountain Village, reachable from town via gondola. Here the top-end properties include the Capella and the Lumiere (the Peaks is another one that seems to draw families). I would not recommend the Lumiere for families, so that left us checking in at the Capella. What we didn’t know prior to the trip was that the hotel is currently in Chapter 11 and looking for a buyer. This translated into an under-staffed, slightly depressed property that was not running like a five-star resort (even though the prices implied that it would). The amenities were fine and everyone was very nice, but they were so clearly understaffed that the simplest of request took several phone calls to get accomplished. It’s a bit of a bummer, given how much we loved Telluride as a ski destination. I suppose we would stay at the Capella again if it were the only option, though one can only hope that the town will get a true five-star resort in the near future.
What we loved the most was how uncrowded the slopes and town were, even during peak season when we visited. Telluride is difficult to get to, so you don’t have the same masses of visitors here as you would at, say, Deer Valley. There was no cap at the ski school and even private instructors were easy to arrange last-minute. I never got that dreaded sense of claustrophobia when you know you have to pre-book and reserve everything weeks before arrival. There was one lunch where we had to wait a while to get served at a popular pizza joint; it was funny to observe the locals who were all up in arms about the “long” wait (I would guess 30 minutes). The threshold for crowds and waiting is much lower here than any other ski resort we have visited.
Telluride used to be known as an expert’s mountain but they have worked very hard in opening it up for beginner and intermediate skiers. There a great 2-1/2 mile green run that my kids loved. My husband, an avid skier, loved the terrain and said the steeps and the tree skiing were the best he has experienced.
In terms of our favorite culinary discoveries, we absolutely loved a spot called Alpino Vino. It’s at the top of one of the runs (you have to ski to get there) and serves a fabulous selection of wines, along with charcuterie and chesses. It had a relaxed, European feel, complete with heat lamps on the outdoor patio, so we loved it there. Also nice was the New Sheridan, a steak house that has a great atmosphere. And finally, we also liked Cosmopolitan, which has a stylish but unpretentious ambience.
When we first arrived in Telluride after a long day of travel, we asked ourselves, “Was it worth it?” (We had flown from New York to Denver, then connected to Montrose and then taken the 1-1/2 hour drive.) The next day, when we were skiing on blissfully uncrowded slopes, enjoying the sweeping mountain panoramas, the answer was a resounding, “Yes!”