Looking to get away during social distancing? Telluride is the right ticket.
By Cameron Martindell and Chris Kassar
Telluride Sleighs and Wagons is a great way to imbibe the winter spirit. Guests are picked up in downtown Telluride and shuttled into the hills to the Aldasoro Ranch for a horse-drawn sleigh ride and to a toasty tent for a gourmet dinner which includes Rocky Mountain elk entrees and Colorado peaches in a cobbler for dessert (plus some kid friendly options). There are two meal times each evening with a family-focused ride first and a later option intended for adults. On the ski hill, 30-foot windows reach from floor to the peaked ceiling of The View Bar & Grill at Mountain Lodge Telluride, which looks out upon the snow-clad San Sophia ridgeline. The menu is loaded with a wide range of appetizers like pork rillettes pickled apricot and stick-to-your-ribs steak and frites to replenish all those calories spent on the slopes. For the literal peak dining experience in Telluride, book a dinner reservation at Allred’s Restaurant located at the top of the gondola.
Nothing beats easy ski-in/ski-out accommodations and the Mountain Lodge Telluride is ideal for the skiing or snowboarding family. The spacious multi-room condo units are surrounded by the ski slopes of the lower mountain (along a green run) so beginners and experts alike can simply strap in and go. Since they are self-sufficient, they are ideal for social distancing. The full kitchen in the condo makes popping in for lunch a snap to maximize time on the slopes. For non- or first-time skiing or riding members of the party, it’s an easy walk up to the free Intercept Gondola which provides direct access to the Telluride Mountain Village Center, where the ski and ride school is located as well as shopping, dining, and other activities.
Telluride is an ideal place to up your ski and snowboard skills (or just enjoy chill cruising) since 60% of its runs are dedicated to beginners and intermediates. Want some space to practice what you are learning? The Sunshine Express (Lift 10) offers exclusive access to beginner terrain. It’s groomed daily, separate from advanced and expert runs, and provides a comfortable environment for newer skiers to enjoy the slopes. One can’t-miss classic for everyone is the always groomed Galloping Goose. Telluride’s longest run begins just below the summit at the top of Prospect Express (Lift 12) and flows downward for 4.6 breathtaking miles to the base. Beginners and intermediates will also dig doing laps and taking in fabulous views of Gold Hill and Palmyra Peak on flowy trails like Magnolia, Madison and Sandia in Prospect Bowl. And no matter your level you can still explore the entire mountain. Every lift here has one or more groomed, easier trail down. So rejoice newbies. At Telluride, you’re not stuck at the base area, you don’t have to worry about which chair you ride, and you still get to enjoy all the breathtaking vistas from the hill’s highest spots without the embarrassment of riding the chair back down.
Blues and double blues are the meat of the Polar Queen Express (Lift 5) where intermediates, advanced intermediates, and speed freaks can easily spend a full day lapping run after run on the high-speed chair. Enjoy the long sweeping Ophir Loopor spice it up with a drop into chutes like Alta or Silver Tip. No matter what your level, no trip to Telluride is complete without at least one (we’d recommend a few) drops down the aptly-named See Forever. Though accessible from Lifts 6, 9, 14, and 15, we suggest picking it up from the top of Revelation Lift (Lift 15). Groomed daily and hugging the ridge that forms the resort boundary, this trail is simply beautiful. You revel in views of 14,246-foot Mt. Wilson, 14,017-foot Wilson Peak, 14,150-foot Mount Sneffels and even Utah’s La Sals on clear days
With massive steeps and exhilarating hike-to terrain, Telluride’s got experts more than covered. From Revelation Bowl, hike the new Gold Hill access road, enjoying big mountain views as you do. Check out the bridge and stairs accessing Chutes 9 and 10, and then pick your poison by dropping a gnarly line on this fun but challenging terrain that spit you out into Palmyra Basin. (Note: Chutes are not always open, so pay attention to signs before setting out on the hike).
Continue onto Palymyra Peak and Black Iron Bowl for some spicy, exhilarating expert-only lines. Complete the hike-to circuit—if your legs have anything left—with a hike up Bald Mountain and a run down Jackpot or Wildcat. Double-black powder stashes often await even late in the day. For a change of scenery and stellar views, head to the other side of the mountain: From the Plunge Lift (9) drop Bushwhacker, Bail Out and Mine Shaft, a series of black and double black runs that deliver you directly into town.
Cover photo courtesy Visit Telluride