by: Samuel Panning - 12th January 2014

  • 5
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced/Expert
  • 5All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 5Family Friendly
  • 5Aprés Ski
  • 5Terrain Park
  • Overall Value
Majesty of Terrain & Total Balance of Amenities
Remote Location

Full review

Telluride fuses European sophistication (Swiss logistical precision, Italian & French apres & dining) with Western renegade history. It's a match made in Heaven, or Hell, if you take literally the old adage of "To Hell You Ride." But honestly, it's an elevated, sublime, yet rugged and authentic experience. Get used to the paradoxes. Paradox #1: Telluride is the most intimate and majestic ski destination in the United States. Let's start with intimacy. The historic mining town of Telluride is literally boxed into, well, a box canyon. And it's scale is wonderfully walkable. You never need a car once you arrive. The buildings are at a human scale and wonderfully reflect the color, vibrancy and diversity of people drawn to this place. The intimacy of this place is in people's faces and in the architecture of the old town. Hopping on the free gondola forces you to confront the majesty of the environment. Only a few ski destinations in the world compete with the 360 degree views of the San Sophia Range, Mt. Sneffel's Massif, Bear Creek Basin, Palmyra Peak, Mt. Wilson complex, and the Utah desert 100+ miles to the west. Paradox #2: Telluride is historic and modern. I alluded a bit to the mining town of Telluride, which boasts the spirit of Butch Cassidy and purple Victorian mansions next to bakeries, opera houses and B&B's. Mountain Village, the primary destination of the gondola from the town of Telluride, epitomizes modern mountain sophistication. The two towns dramatic difference in culture and aesthetic never compete with each other because a ridge line shields any visual connection. The sustainably fueled, highly efficient gondola acts as a golden thread linking everyone, for free. Paradox #3: Telluride caters to the well heeled and the ski bum Hippie. From a well stocked "Free Box" to the "Green Shops" to the mansions of Oprah and Tom Cruise, hippies and billionaires walk side by side in a higher plane of consciousness in Telluride. And no one seems to make a big deal about it. Paradox #4: Beginner skiers get to experience terrain next to the most mind blowing in bounds terrain on planet earth. Because of the distribution of knife ridges and gentle slopes next to 45 degree headwalls, cliffs, and glades, beginner to moderate skiers can peer into the visual ecstasy normally reserved for experts. Paradox #5 Telluride's weakness is its greatest strength. Telluride is located in an isolated horseshoe of the San Juan Mountains near the Four Corners. While difficult to get to Telluride a lack of lift lines and stress await. The specific details about Telluride are a vast treasure to explore, but here are 10 highlights to check out to make the most of your trip: I: Sheridan Opera House II: Allred's Restaurant III: Bridal Veil Falls (Highest waterfall in Colorado) IV: Giueseppe's Restaurant V: Alpino Vino (Highest restaurant in North America) VI: The Tempter House VII: Bon Vivant VIII: Palmyra Peak IX: The Free Box X: Revelation Bowl Sun Deck
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