Telluride is a Victorian mining town with a long history. It is located at one end of a spectacular box canyon. The old town side is well preserved. You can still walk into the first bank that Butch Cassidy robbed. Accomodation is divided into two areas - the old town side and Telluride Mountain Village, which is more modern. They are linked by a free gondola that runs from early morning to midnight.
Restaurants and bars on mountain. A variety of cuisine in town. Ski shops at base of Lifts #7, #8 and Mtn. Village base facility. Child care available for ages 2 months to 3 years and additional care available after lessons in the Afternoon Kids Club. Medical center in town; hospital 65 miles. Ski and snowboard lessons including Women's Week and TASP which assists physically and mentally challenged people. Ski rental and repair at base of lifts #7, #8 and Mountain Village. Cross country rental and repair , ski instructions for cross country, racing for all ages. Free shuttle loops through town.
- 1 Location
- 2 Pros
- 3 Cons
- 4 Contacts
- 5 Planning
- 6 Resort Facilities
- 7 Ride Guide
- 8 Other
- 9 Resources
Telluride, Colorado is located in Southwestern Colorado in the beautiful San Juan Mountains.
- Easy to get around
- Good Transportation
- Good Terrain
- Minimal lift lines
- Hard to get to
- Generally, the easy and difficult terrain are accessed fro different chairs, so it is difficult for parties of mixed ability to ski or board in reasonable proximity.
All Contact information for telluride can be fount at Tellurideskiresort.com Contact Information
All Information about getting there can be found at TellurideSkiResort.com
Telluride has its own airport, but, as with all alpine airports, closures can be a problem. Telluride Airport has a pretty interesting location. It is on top of a mesa and the runway has a cliff at each end. Montrose, about 100 km away, has an airport that is much more reliable and flights to Montrose tend to be a lot cheaper. There are shuttles from Montrose up to Telluride for about $50 (2012) per adult.
Major car rental companies have agencies at Telluride airport. A shuttle/taxi up to the airport from town or village costs (2012) $15/person.
Accommodation is available on mountain and in the surrounding areas. For planning and booking details Visite the Following links: Tellurideskiresort.com Lodging Information And Tellurideskiresort.com Accommodation Booking Engine Telluride Alpine Lodging has a wide range of accommodation.
Lodging on site include Bear Creek Lodge condos and local area lodging available within walking distance of lifts #7 and #8 which rise from town to center of intermediate area. Lodging also available at Mtn. Village Resort or in Telluride Town. Much of the Mountain Village accommodation is ski in/out. On the town side of the resort there is some, but not much, ski in/out accommodation. You may have a short walk of a hundred metres or so, or up to a couple of blocks, or a shuttle ride to the lifts. Interactive lodging maps
Lift Prices: For a full list of list prices visit Tellurideskiresort.com
Season Passes. Discount pre-purchase rates apply until around the end of October. They are worth checking out. The Youth Season Pass at US$225 is spectacular value if you have people under 18 in your party.
Orbitz has lift tickets at a 25% discount if bought 7 days in advance. This is linked to from the official site, so is legit.
The cheapest option may be a combination of passes from different sources. Telluride does not have a 6 of 7 day pass, or a 13 of 14, which is just dumb as this is a typical vacation length. You can get a 10 day pass that lets you buy additional days at full rate. Telluride have acknowledged that their earlybird passes may not coincide with the way their guests use their resort, and have said they will review their passes (2011). They may do it for future years. Or they may just be saying it to get rid of me (although they eventually gave me a good deal on a season pass).
Ski School is available for adults and children alike with general or adventure/professional orientated lessons to suit any requirements. Private Lessons are available.
For further Details and pricing Visit: Tellurideskiresort.com
Equipment can be hired from one of several rental stores around Telluride ski resort making for easier access.
For More information please visit Tellurideskiresort.com
You can also book your equipment hire before you arrive. Ski Rental suppliers offering this service include
- Christy Sports &
- Black Tie
You can also book your ski equipment rental online at Telluride Ski Equipment Rental
Linking the historic Town of Telluride and the modern Mountain Village, the gondola is the only transportation system of its kind in North America. Running daily from 7 am to midnight, the 13-minute gondola ride eliminates the 20-minute, 8-mile drive between both towns. (The gondola operates year-round, with temporary off-season closures.)
The gondola provides quiet and visually spectacular transportation, virtually eliminating noise and air pollution, parking demands and the need for people to drive their vehicles to ski or work. Telluride visitors enjoy the convenience of the gondola and comment on what a spectacular, scenic ride it offers. Pets and mountain bikers are also welcome to use this free public mode of transportation to access designated hiking and biking trails on the mountain.
The gondola transportation system has been praised for providing free, convenient and environmentally sound transportation. Unlike other gondolas that simply serve as a ski lift, Telluride's gondola also links the historic town of Telluride to the nouveau Mountain Village. The gondola received the Mountain Sports and Living 1998 Design Award for Resort Access Innovation, and was named the 1999 Outstanding Transit Project by the Colorado Association of Transit Agencies.
Galloping Goose Shuttle Service
For those that prefer to rest their weary feet after a long day on the hill, the Town of Telluride offers the free Galloping Goose Shuttle Service. The Goose loops around Town at 15 minute intervals seven days a week between 7 a.m. and midnight. Look for the Galloping Goose signs across town for pick-up locations and schedules.
Dial-A-Ride offers free transportation for guests and residents in and around Mountain Village. A courtesy phone is located at main gondola station or ask a Guest Service Host to radio a shuttle for a pick-up. All the Dial-A-Ride vehicles are new Yukons or Toyota Hybrids and easily identified by their Mountain Village logo.
In Telluride, free all-day parking is available to commuters and visitors at the Carhenge parking lot on West Pacific Street. The lot is serviced by the regular transit loop. Metered zones and free two-hour parking is available throughout the business district for visitors and business users.
In Mountain Village, free parking is available at the intercept parking deck located off of Mountain Village Blvd. Once parked, access to the Mountain Village Core is via a quick free gondola ride. There is no free overnight parking in the Mountain Village. Your hotel can arrange parking, or there is a multi-level carpark near the village entrance. Parking is around $20/day.
Telluride has many activities to choose from including snow shoeing and photography.
San Juan Balloons will arrange a shuttle to Ridgway for flights. If you have seen the John Wayne True Grit you will recognise Ridgway. Flights are in a 3 person sports balloon, which is a lot more fun than a 12 person bus (sorry - basket). Much zippier.
Telluride offers well over over 15 dining locations including:
Food aficionados across the country are taking notice of chef innovation in this small resort boasting over 50 restaurants and bars. New approaches in American cuisine, wine cellars that rival those found on either coast, and tasting menus prepared by seasoned chefs are helping make Telluride a dining destination.
Located at the top of the gondola, Allred's offers a dining experience like no other. Few restaurants in the world rival the breathtaking views or the world-class cuisine and award-winning wine list. Open to the public for apr`es ski at the bar and nightly dining, including the renowned Chef’s Table with tasting menu and wine pairings. www.AllredsRestaurant.com 970.728.7474
Gorrono Ranch Sleigh Ride Dinners
Join us on Fridays and Saturdays for an amazing evening under the starlit sky. Diners are met by a snowcat-drawn sleigh at the base of Lift 4 and taken up to Gorrono Ranch. Enjoy a western-style buffet and a drink on the deck around the fire. Registered guests gather in the Ski School/Sales Lobby, where hot chocolate and hot cider will be served before departure. Gather at 5:45pm for 6:00pm departure Gather at 6:25pm for 6:40pm departure $85 adult, Children 4-12 $45, Children 3 and under free. Plus tax and gratuity. For more information click here.
The Bluepoint Grill
The Bluepoint Grill has earned the reputation as one of the finest restaurants in Telluride, CO. This steak and seafood house features a wide selection of steaks and chops as well as fresh seafood 7 days a week. Guests can choose to dine upstairs in the Bluepoint Grill's beautiful dining room or downstairs in the Noir Bar. 970.728.8862
Just steps from the gondola in the luxurious Hotel Columbia is the elegant and fun Cosmopolitan Restaurant. After skiing, unwind at the base of the mountain in the Cosmo bar. In the main dining room, chef/owner Chad Scothorn offers fine dining with generous portions and outstanding ingredients. His menu offers diverse cuisines, including French, Southwestern, American and Thai. Though the overall approach is "fusion," you'll never find crossed cultures on one plate. No matter what you order, the Cosmo has the perfect complementary wine. Choose from over 200 vintages from France, Italy, California and Oregon. www.TastingCellar.com 970.728.1292
A Full list of restaurants can be found Here
In this contributor's opinion the best lunch actually on-slope was Giuseppe's, and the best in the Mountain Village base area was the Tomboy Tavern.
Bars & Entertainment
There are many bars along the main street of the Town of Telluride, many of which have live entertainment. The Mountain Village is quieter, but does have a few bars.
There are several ski and outdoor shops for appropriate gear. There are also bike shops.
For the fashion victims there are a range of shops of varying degrees of exoticness and expense, but Telluride tends to the upmarket end of the spectrum (except for the free box in town). The town of Telluride has more of this sort of thing than the Mountain Village although there are some boutiques in the Mountain Village.
There are a number of the usual tourist trap T-shirt and souvenir shops, as well as a few galleries selling some lovely jewellery, photos, ceramics etc. Look for Navajo silver and turquoise. Again, there is a greater range of shops in the town of Telluride.
The market in the Mountain Village, near the gondola terminal, is the best ski town market this contributor has seen. A large range of staples as well as a good deli section. The liquor store is there, but seemed to have a limited range. There are other stores in the town of Telluride which were not visited.
One disadvantage of Telluride is that the harder runs tend to be on the old town side of the ridge, and the more gentle runs on the Village side. This means that beginner and expert skiers cannot ride the same lift.
Although lifts at Telluride have names many (most?) people refer to them by numbers. The lifts are:
1 Chondola. Mainly chairs, with gondola cabins every so often.
3 There is no 3
4 Village Express (the main chair out of the Mountain Village)
5 Polar Queen Express
7 Coonskin (access lift from the town side)
8 Oak Street (access lift from the town side. It has no safety bars)
10 Sunshine Express (the Misnomer Lift - not very sunny, and not very express). A good lift for real estate perving on some very expensive houses
11 Ute Park Express
12 Prospect Express
13 Lynx. Vertical rise 30 feet. Woohoo!
14 Gold Hill Express
As well as these lifts the Santa Sophia station on the free gondola is at the top of the ridge, and gives access to runs on the old town and Mountain Village sections of the resort. If you get off at Santa Sophia with riding gear your lift ticket will be checked before you get access to the slopes.
Degree of Difficulty
This contributor's assessment of run gradings in Telluride is that they mean it when they say expert. Many runs that are classified double blue in Telluride could be classified black in other resorts.
There are several beginner areas:
For absolute beginners, there is a magic carpet under the Chondola (#1). The run under the lift itself is wide, with a gentle grade and is ideal for the next step. Although the lift is the main access from the Meadows base area to the village very few advanced skiers actually ski the runs.
Ute Park Lift (#11) is a short lift at the top of Sunshine Express (#10),which has a gentle grade with wide runs, and the world's least intimidating "terrain park", consisting of a couple of lumps about 20 cm high.
There are several long, wide double green runs off the Sunshine Express (#10) and Prospect Express (#12) which are an ideal next step. These lifts also have several blue and double blue runs which are ideal for the next steps. There is no single green run down from these lifts.
There are NO beginner runs off other lifts the mountain.
Out of Bounds
You should see some of the "in bounds" terrain. You see tracks where the only rational explanation for means of access are a Star Trek version of ski lifts where people are beamed in. If you look on a trail map you will see a vast amount of terrain between the top of Gold Hill Lift (#14) to Prospect (#12). Palmyra Basin, Palmyra Peak and Black Iron Bowl. Although this is within resort boundaries it requires hiking and is (necessarily) controlled for slides. It is a big area. Most areas beyond the boundaries are steep, beset by cliffs and avalanche prone. I wouldn't go there.
There is a network of cross-country and snowshoe trails at the top of Sunshine Express (#10) called Topaten.
Parks & Pipes
1) Ute Beginner Park Basically a roller coaster on snow set up as a “family fun park” type of boarder cross. No hard features, just rollers, berms and spines for those new to the sport to get into the groove! Ute Park is an ideal environment for beginners.
2) Intermediate Park Featuring moderately sized tables and features, the Intermediate Park is located (in 2012) near the bottom section of the Misty Maiden run accessible from the Village Chair (#4).
3) The Hoot Brown Advanced Park Built for experts only, the Hoot Brown Terrain Park incorporates the latest in jibs, fun boxes and hits. Features on the Lower Misty Maiden section include: 25’ double barrel street-style down rail, three large step-over style jumps, (ranging from approximately 15' - 25’), two small “SideCar” jumps (approximately 5’), one 15’ flat box and one 15’ flat/down box.
Telluride has many bump runs. A major area is under the Plunge Lift (#9). Bumps also form, and are left alone, on runs accessible from Apex Lift (#6), Gold Hill Lift (#14) and in Revelation Bowl. These runs are (justifiably) rated black or double black. The bump runs off Plunge are long, steep, relentless and have no outs.
A run called Humboldt's Draw, off the Village Chair (#4) is a blue run that is preserved as a bump run, and not groomed. Henry's, a double blue run, accessible from Polar Queen Lift (#5) is half groomed, with the other half left to bump up.
Revelation Bowl is a less intimidating bowl, and tthere are powder shots to be found here.
There are glades off the side of almost all of the major trade routes around Telluride. Glades dropping off the See Forever Run to the bottom of Apex (#6) and Gold Hill(#14) lifts have a lot of nicely spaced trees. There are also glades off See Forever to the the Plunge chair (#9).
Unfortunately the main runs on Telluride get skied out pretty quickly after a dump, but there is still powder to be found in out of the way corners on Village (#4), Polar Queen (#10) and Prospect (#12).
Runs off Oak Street (#8), Plunge (#9) and Oak Street (#8) Lifts are on the Town side of a ridge and are sheltered from prevailing bad weather. There is one token blue run off these lifts (apart from the Telluride Trail which is a cat track). The rest are black or double black.
Sunshine (#10), Village #4) and Polar Queen (#5) Lifts are on the Mountain Village side, but are relatively low and sheltered. There are lots of great blue cruisers off these lifts.
Prospect (#12), Gold Hill (#14), Apex (#6) and Revelation (#15) lifts are high and exposed. They often close because of weather.
There are 2 accommodation areas in the Telluride resort area - the old town of Telluride and the Mountain Village. These are on either side of a ridge. The old town is at a slightly lower altitude to the Mountain Village. The two areas are connected by a free gondola that runs from 7-00am to midnight.
There are three lifts on the old town side that rise up to the ridge between the old town and the Mountain Village. Terrain off these lifts is generally classified expert, although there are a couple of intermediate cat tracks down the front.
The other lifts are on the Mountain Village side of that ridge. These lifts are in a large bowl (although there are a few ridges within that bowl). The runs off these lifts are generally pretty cruisy in the centre and skiers left sides of the bowl. However the headwalls of the bowl have some awesome super expert extreme terrain, consisting of chutes, cliffs and general gnarliness. Much of this extreme terrain is only accessible by hiking.
Gold was first discovered in 1858. John Fallon made the first claim in Marshal Basin above Telluride in 1875 and early settlement of Telluride followed. The town itself was founded in 1878. Telluride was originally named "Columbia", but due to confusion with Columbia, California, the name was changed by the post office in 1887. The town was named after valuable ore compounds of the chemical element tellurium, a metalloid element which forms natural tellurides, the most notable of which are telluride ores of gold and silver. Although gold telluride minerals were never actually found in the mountains near Telluride, the area's mines were rich in zinc, lead, copper, silver, and ores which contained gold in other forms. A more colourful derivation for the name is that railway conductors called "To hell you ride", slurred to "Telluride" as miners climbed aboard.
Telluride began slowly because of its isolated location. In 1881, a toll road was opened by Otto Mears which allowed wagons to go where only pack mules could go before. This increased the number of people in Telluride, but it was still expensive to get gold-rich ore out of the valley. In 1890, the railroad reached town, which brought in more mines and brought out more ore.
In June 1889, Butch Cassidy, before becoming associated with his gang, "the wild bunch", robbed the San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride. This was his first major recorded crime. He exited the bank with $24,580, and later became famous as a bank robber.
Around the turn of the 20th century, there were serious labor disputes in the mines near Telluride. The Colorado National Guard was called out and there were deaths on both sides. Unions were formed as miners joined the Western Federation of Miners in 1896. 1899 brought big changes as union strike action led most mines to grant miners $3 a day for an 8 hour day’s work plus a boarding pay of $1 a day. This came at a time when workers were putting in 10–12 hour days and the mines ran 24 hours a day. Work conditions were treacherous, with mines above 12,000 ft and a lack of safety measures, not to mention bitter weather in winter months. Even the boarding houses were precariously placed on the mountainsides.
Telluride's labor unrest occurred against the backdrop of a state-wide struggle between miners and mine owners. Bulkeley Wells was one of the mine operators expressing considerable hostility to the union. The leader of the Telluride Miners' Union was Vincent St. John. There developed considerable intrigue and national interest over the disappearance — Wells declared it was a "murder" — of mine guard William J. Barney. The accusations, animosity, gunplay, and expulsions which followed were one part of an ongoing struggle throughout Colorado's mining communities which came to be called the Colorado Labor Wars.
In 1891, Telluride's L.L. Nunn joined forces with Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse and built the Ames Hydroelectric Generating Plant, the world's first commercial-grade alternating-current power plant, near Telluride. (Nunn's home can be found at the corner of Aspen and Columbia Streets; next door is the home he purchased for the "pinheads" to study hydro-electric engineering.) The hydro-powered electrical generation plant supplied power to the Gold King Mine 3.5 miles away. This was the first successful demonstration of long distance transmission of industrial-grade alternating current power. The invention sparked the "War of Currents" between the Westinghouse Electric Corporation and the General Electric Company headed by Thomas Edison and J.P. Morgan. The Chicago World's Fair of 1893 had exhibits of both alternating current and direct current to appeal to the 25 million people attending the fair. Following the success of the Tesla-Westinghouse exhibit, the Westinghouse Company was awarded the contract to build the power plant at Niagara Falls. Nunn and his brother Paul built power plants in Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Mexico, and the Ontario Power plant at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. Nunn developed a keen interest in education as part of his electrical power companies, and in conjunction with Cornell University built the Telluride House at Cornell in 1909 to educate promising students in electrical engineering. Later, Nunn along with Charles Walcott, started the Telluride Association. Nunn founded Deep Springs College in 1917. All of Nunn's educational endeavors are going strong today. Each year the Telluride Tech Festival honors Nunn, Tesla, and Westinghouse, along with current day technology and science leaders.
Telluride’s most famous historic mines are the Tomboy, Pandora, Smuggler-Union, Nellie, and Sheridan mines. Beginning in 1939, the hard-rock mining operations in the Red Mountain and Telluride mining districts began a lengthy consolidation under the Idarado Mining Company (Idarado), presently a division of Newmont Mining. The consolidation ended in 1953 with Idarado’s acquisition of the Telluride Mines. Idarado kept the underground workings and mill operations open at Telluride’s Pandora hard-rock mine until 1978. When the mine closed for good; the snow which once tormented Telluride's miners had become the town's new gold,in the form of skiing and tourism. The documentary video "the YX factor" chronicles the transition from mining to skiing and the influx of "hippies" in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the words of local residents and commentators such as Peter Yarrow and Tom Hayden
The skiing era
Mining was Telluride’s only industry until 1972, when the first ski lift was installed by Telluride Ski Resort founder Joseph T. Zoline and his Telluride Ski Corporation (Telco). Zoline bought the land for the future resort in 1969 and began to craft the slopes. Along with his mountain manager, Telluride native Bill "Sr." Mahoney, they slowly and thoughtfully put together a plan for sustained development of Telluride and the region. As mining phased out and a new service industry phased in, the local population changed sharply. Mining families fled Telluride to settle in places like Moab, Utah, where uranium mining offered hope of continued employment. Mining families were replaced by what locals referred to as "hippies", young people with a 1960s worldview which frequently clashed with the values of Telluride's old-timers. These newcomers were characterized as being idle trust funders who were drawn to the town for a casual life style and outdoor excitements such as hang gliding, mountain climbing, and kayaking.
The new population was initially anti-growth and rallied against any economic expansion, including growth due to tourism and skiing. At one point a serious effort was made to ban cars from the city limits and force visitors to use horse drawn carts. Success did not come overnight for Telluride in this environment. The seventies were a time of fluctuating snowfalls and economic recession. However, the town’s now famous music and film festivals were immune from anti-growth criticism and flourished. These festivals exposed hundreds of thousands to the grandeur of the valley for the first time and created iconic associations with elite entertainers. Meanwhile ski area founder Joe Zoline worked hard to put Telluride on the map, developing one of the best mountains in North America for expert skiers and creating infrastructure for tourism which respected Telluride's need to stay small and beautiful.
As the final ore carts were rolling out of the Pandora mine, tourists began to seriously discover Telluride for its magnificent views, expert skiing, and famous autumn color changes. After the brutal snow drought of 1976 which nearly wiped out the embryonic ski and lodging industry, the town started to rebound economically. In 1978, a stake of the ski area was purchased by Ron Allred and his partner Jim Wells to form the Telluride Company. The new owners expanded the infrastructure which Zoline had put into place by adding a gondola connecting Telluride with the Mountain Village.
During the 1980s, Telluride developed a reputation for being "Colorado's best kept secret", which paradoxically made it one of the more well-known resort communities. Wealthy skiers flocked to the world-class mountain all winter, and sightseers kept hotel rooms full all summer. In the 1980s, Telluride also became notorious in the drug counterculture for being a drop point for Mexican smugglers and a favorite place for wealthy importers to enjoy some downtime. The town was even featured in the hit song by Glenn Frey from Miami Vice, "Smugglers Blues". For a while the modern Telluride was living up to its Wild West history. This type of attention, as it turned out, was just what the town needed to differentiate it from Aspen. The festivals combined with Telluride's bad-boy town image attracted celebrities like Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, and Oliver Stone. By the mid-1990s, Telluride had shed both its mining personality and drug image to establish itself as a premier resort town balancing modern culture with fascinating western history. In 2003, Prospect Bowl, an extension to the ski area opened, providing the resort with many new trails and runs. In 2007-08, the ski area opened some of the most extreme, in-bound, hike-to terrain in the country. Most lifts in the area are high-speed quad chairs capable of holding four passengers. The highest lift on the mountain reaches an altitude of 12,255 feet.