Weekend Getaway: Telluride
Written by Alexa Owen • Dec 30, 2016
With its rustic Colorado charm and luxuriously modern amenities, Telluride is the perfect destination for a Rocky Mountain ski getaway.
Source: Telluride Ski Resort
Off the beaten path of the I-70 corridor and nestled in the stunning San Juan Mountains or Southwest Colorado, Telluride stands in a space of its own. It’s the iconic retreat space for big names like Oprah and Tom Cruise, who opt for mountain town sophistication without the pretense of some other resorts in this league. Once a well-kept secret of celebs and ski bums, Telluride is now a world-famous destination for hardcore skiers, luxury spa enthusiasts, and those looking to get some serious rest and relaxation time in the laid-back culture of colorful Colorado.
For its remote location, Telluride is still viable as a weekend getaway, especially now that Telluride Regional Airport started running commercial flights. It’s an old, colorful mining town chock full of history – apparent in the old Victorian structures and historic saloons. The mountain town culture is totally authentic, as ski bums in search of endless powder days continue to call Telluride their home. The terrain is challenging overall, but also appropriate for all abilities. There are fine dining restaurants galore, each with its signature Colorado dish; retreating to an afternoon spa session after an elegant slopeside lunch is not uncommon.
Downtown Telluride boasts major shopping and nightlife options along its historic Main Street, while Mountain Village offers ski-in/ski-out lodging and a resort village vibe. There is a free gondola that runs from downtown up to Mountain Village, 7am-midnight. You’ll find some chain stores and coffee shops in both areas, but we encourage you to cozy up in local favorite restaurants: you’ll love the stories of chefs and entrepreneurs who came to Telluride decades ago for one winter and ended up staying for life. Who knows – maybe after this weekend, you’ll be next!
Fly into Montrose Regional Airport, then shuttle to Mountain Village and downtown Telluride (80 minutes); there are 3 flights daily from Denver. Charter flights are able to land at Telluride Regional Airport, as are select commercial flights from Denver as of late December 2016. At just 6 miles from the resort, this is ideal if you’re needing to save travel time! There is no need for a car in Telluride, as a free gondola runs between town and Mountain Village. For excursions to surrounding areas, like hot springs, transportation can be organized through your hotel.
Stay in Mountain Village for easiest access to skiing and resort offerings; if you plan to stay out late, consider booking a room in town – the free gondola stops running at midnight.
Telluride is on the Mountain Collective Pass; if you’ll be visiting a handful of other top resorts this winter, consider getting one.
Source: Madeline Hotel
Indulge in luxury at the award-winning Madeline Hotel, which features ski-in/ski-out lodging, on-site spa, and delectable eats at 2 popular restaurants (plus Starbucks and Dylan’s Candy Bar!) Room décor is sophisticated and quite European, with plush comforters and cozy nooks. Be sure to ask for a room with mountain views and private balcony. The Madeline steps up service with offerings of in-room bath baristas, oxygen treatments, and all-hours room service to make a transition to the mountains seamless. They also run great package deals.
Get a relaxed bit to eat at the Black Iron Kitchen and Bar. The atmosphere is lively and mountain town casual, and chefs serve up fresh, modern dishes perfect for a day of travel. Plates are inspired by Colorado regional cuisine, so expect plenty of meat and wild game. Start with small bites like the Colorado lamb sliders, then indulge in entrees like the grilled Colorado trout filet or winter squash and wild mushroom lasagna. Perfection.
Head to The View for a quiet drink and stunning panoramic views of the San Juan Mountains. Located inside Mountain Lodge, the thirty foot ceilings and rustic interior invite visitors to relax in classic Telluride ambiance. Ask for seats by the grand stone fireplace if available, or cozy up to the old-fashioned bar with a glass of Spanish red wine.
Source: Telluride Ski Resort
Drop into Tracks, a local favorite eatery in the heart of Mountain Village. Along with monstrous breakfast sandwiches and strong Italian coffee, they also boast the best Bloody Mary in town (a good plan for après!) Sit inside for a few minutes of down-time before hitting the slopes, or grab a breakfast burrito to go and head to the gondola.
Advanced and expert skiers will want to get straight up to Revelation Bowl on a powder day, which is gaining serious slope cred in the ski industry for its in-bounds challenges. Beware that Telluride boasts 2,000 acres and nearly 4,000 feet vertical, so expect leg-burning laps. Beginners and intermediates can stick to the runs off the Prospect Express: the groomers ski like velvet after a fresh storm.
Dine at 11,966 feet at Alpino Vino, a European hütte inspired restaurant at the top of the mountain. On a sunny day you must sit outside on the sunwashed deck with stunning views of surrounding mountains; if it’s snowing, opt for cozying up to the fire inside with classic Italian fare and a shnaaps. Enjoy antipasti plates, soups, sandwiches, and fine cheeses and wines. Just remember you have to ski down afterwards…
Source: Madeline Hotel
Kick back and relax at the Madeline Hotel Spa, complete with oxygen bar, full spa menu, fitness studio and 26 yoga and pilates classes offered per week. Therapists specialize in deep tissue and Swedish massage to relieve sore muscles after a day on the slopes, while the Mountain Love Journey is a favorite ritual for couples that includes aromatherapy bath and private suite. For something a bit more active, opt for the Après Ski Stretch Yoga class.
Enjoy cocktails and local craft beer at Tomboy Tavern in Mountain Village. Casual American eats meet upscale mountain town décor with incredible views of the San Juans. The wrap-around bar is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, and suited for relaxed conversation while catching the game on a nearby big screen TV. Don’t miss a Fire On The Mountain jalapeno margarita with smoked sea salt rim – it will knock your (ski) socks off.
Head downtown to 221 South Oak, a Telluride favorite featuring contemporary American bistro eats in a beautifully refurbished historic home. Head chef Eliza Gavin has won multiple awards for her creative culinary skills, including a spot on 2010’s season of Top Chef. The dinner menu includes starters like buttermilk fried quail with spicy honey, while entrees include masterpieces like smoked wild boar tenderloin with walnut relish. Be sure to save room for the delectable desserts.
Get wild at the historic New Sheridan Bar, which has maintained its original name and structure since its beginnings in 1895. Bartenders keep things interesting with an extensive range of local and regional spirits; Telluride Brewing Company favorites like the Whacked Out Wheat Ale are always on tap. This year the bar will feature some live music nights, and we can only imagine how much more rowdy a Saturday night will now get. Be sure to last grab the last gondola up to Mountain Village by midnight!
Source: Telluride Ski Resort
Explore some of the terrain off Plunge Lift, accessed by the Oak Street Lift on the downtown Telluride side of the resort. The tree terrain is incomparable on a good snow day, and even a few days after a storm you’re likely to find some powder stashes. To skier’s left, intermediates will find plenty of blue squares to cruise down. This area tends to get less crowded than others, and is a favorite for weekend mornings.
After a few laps on Plunge, make your way back mid-mountain to Bon Vivant for gourmet French fare with a view. An outdoor deck overlooks the Wilson Range, and country French cuisine is dressed up with contemporary creativity by top chef Jared Campbell. Indulge in cinnamon sugar crepes, local artisan cheese plates, rich French onion soup and an array of fine entrees. The entire wine list is French and fabulous.
Head downtown for some last-minute shopping before catching your flight home. Picaya features classy home décor with mountain town flair, while CashmereRED features a fine selection of Scottish cashmere and luxury goods. We also love the Alpen Schatz Boutique for its European artisan goods imported from the Alps.
If you can take an extra night and day, head to Dunton Hot Springs for a remote stay in a luxury backcountry resort.
Ready to book your Telluride weekend getaway? Find the best deals here.
Still considering other Colorado resorts? Read our Ultimate Guide to Skiing in Colorado.