Lay of the Land
“Towns are like people. Old ones often have character, the new ones are interchangeable.”~Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
Telluride is a tiny town in a big setting. Just some twelve blocks long and eight blocks wide, it is encircled by the soaring San Juan Mountains, which boast the second greatest collection of “fourteeners” (fourteen in all)—mountains more than fourteen thousand feet high—in the country. Situated in the heart of San Miguel County, Telluride is bordered on three sides by 12,000-ft. and 13,000-ft. peaks. The nearest stop light is forty-five miles away, and you won’t see a single chain restaurant. Worlds apart from its better-known state mates Aspen and Vail, and more remote, Telluride keeps to a slower pace.
As a ski destination, Telluride consists of the historic mining town on one side of the mountain and the ski-in, ski-out development of Mountain Village on the other. It’s a choice between atmosphere and convenience: The former has Victorian charm and character, while the latter, with its abundance of ski schools, boot fitters and even an ice rink, caters to families. Though there is also bus service in season, the easiest and prettiest way to get from one to the other is to take a free thirteen-minute gondola ride.