Element 52 and Bear Creek Lodge, Telluride, Colo.

Owned and operated by two separate companies, these properties share one thing in common: They both have private funiculars that speed guests to the slopes.

Funiculars work like mini-railroads, except they use cables to pull cars up and down an angled track. At Bear Creek Lodge, guests board the funicular from the property’s driveway: Like an elevator, you just press the button to call the car. Eight people fit inside for the five-minute trip to Telluride’s Lower Village Bypass ski run. There, you step into your bindings and cruise down to Lift 1 (to access the ski school meeting area) or Lift 10 (to intermediate terrain). 

At Element 52, owners and guests of the Auberge Residences have exclusive access to a funicular that drops them off at the Telluride Trail ski run. The six-person cabins climb 90 vertical feet and eliminate the need to start the day with a car or shuttle ride. Instead, guests take Telluride Trail to Lift 7 or the gondola. 

Neither one of these private lifts helps circumvent crowds or offers a backdoor to untracked powder. Riders at Element 52 and Bear Creek Lodge still need to line up with everyone else—but the novel transport reduces the schlep factor, and brings first-class convenience to the process of getting out the door.