Telluride Ski Resort is set to open in just a little over three weeks; the day after Thanksgiving. Early season lift and lodging packages are available through Dec. 17 for $99 per person, per night, based on double occupancy and availability.

The early season lift and lodging special is only $1 more than the window price of a regular season lift ticket, which runs $98 this season.

There's also only week left - deadline Nov. 15 - to take advantage of receiving the seventh night free this holiday season on a handful of Mountain Village luxury homes.  Properties include C-Forever Lodge, Wilson Peak Lodge on the Green, and Eagles Nest Lodge. The offer is good for stays from Dec. 18 through Jan. 1, 2011. Reservations must be made by the above date.

The ski area offers more than  2,000 skiable acres with 125 trails. With over half the terrain suited for intermediates and beginners there's difficulty levels suitable for everyone. Beginners can ride lifts to the highest peaks and enjoy views typically reserved for the best skiers and riders.

Telluride, reflecting a European-like experience, installed a new bridge and staircase on Gold Hill Ridge last spring where the ridge meets the left shoulder of Palmyra Peak. The bridge covers the span between Gold Hill chutes 8 and 9 and provides access to chute 10 as well.

An aggressive clean-up program of long skied tree areas was undertaken this past summer. Areas include: skier's left of Silver Tip and right of Henry's Run on Lift 5; skier's right of Stella and left of Upper Magnolia on Lift 12; and skier's right of Log Pole and left of Joint Pain on Lift 9. Old favorites and some new tree runs will be ready for powder hounds this season.

Speaking of "powder hounds," a 12-page spread in Powder magazine's latest issue touts Telluride as "America's Greatest Backcountry Resort." It was the feature story in the October issue.

It's as close to a European ski experience as you'll find in North America.

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