It’s been nearly two weeks since we returned from a wonderful, weeklong ski vacation in gorgeous Telluride, Colorado.
What a great trip! Visiting Telluride during the winter season offers world class skiing, off mountain adventures, and a charming town with a vibrant apres ski dining and entertainment scene.
Boasting 300 days of sunshine a year, Telluride has mountain terrain for all levels, and no long ski lift lines. There’s a free gondola with multiple stops to easily traverse the mountain; taking skiers and visitors to and from the historic valley town and alpine Mountain Village.
Telluride is also a repeat winner of the coveted Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Ski Resort in North America.
One awesome alpine experience and two great towns is Telluride’s “special sauce;” making it a wonderful ski vacation destination. Come take a virtual trip with me to enjoy gorgeous mountain scenery and terrain.
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Two Towns, One World Class Experience
Forbes Magazine article, 5 Great Reasons to Ski Telluride This Winter, also summarized ski terrain and towns as the destination’s two main strengths. Telluride proper, a 19th century mining town, is situated in the valley. Up on the mountain, is a modern, pedestrian ski resort village.
You can easily ski, stay, eat, drink, and shop in either area. Both are fully connected to the slopes, and to each other, by the free gondola that acts as both ski lift and shuttle.
After a full day on the slopes, I am about two-thirds of the way on the gondola, back down to the old town of Telluride. Mr Buzz, our eldest son and his girlfriend elected to ski an intermediate switchback trail to the bottom. I decided not to push my luck, as I was nursing a large blister that needed some TLC. Once covered with a bandage, it never bothered me again.
Right next to the gondola is where three of us rented ski equipment (our son brought his own performance gear). It was super convenient for dropping off and picking up skis and poles each day. The only thing we carried back and forth were our ski boots and helmets. For an added fee, we could have left our boots there overnight too.
Staying in Old Telluride Town
While we skied, the rental shop stored our walking boots. It was so nice being able to slip on warm, dry Uggs for the short walk back to the rental house.
Along the way, we passed lots of cute gingerbread trim buildings.
The four of us shared a Victorian-era house in the heart of the Telluride historic district.
Recently gutted and modernized, the roomy house was loaded with both charm and amenities. There was a gas fireplace, Thermador range, Sub-Zero refrigerator, and a huge soaker/whirlpool tub in our upstairs master suite.
Had it only been hubby and I, we probably would have ended up in a ski in/ski out resort hotel or condo up in the Mountain Village. We did that last year during our Breathtaking Breckenridge, Colorado Ski Trip. It would have been too costly to rent a house for just two people.
All four of us were really happy we had decided to rent a house in Telluride rather than on the mountain. That’s because the old town is so atmospheric and convenient to the majority of restaurants, bars and shopping.
No rental car was necessary either, as everything in the valley was so walkable. To get to the slopes, you just hop on the gondola or take a ski lift up.
Our house was located on Pacific, a street lined with Victorian era homes and quaint cottages.
Lay of the Land
We spent the first day of our ski vacation in Telluride settling in; buying groceries, getting fit for ski equipment, and purchasing lift tickets. Afterwards, we took the gondola for an evening ride up to the Mountain Village.
There, we enjoyed artisan cocktails in front of a roaring fire at the Madeline Hotel, before attending a magic show called, Mind Blown. Highly entertaining, the performance is family-friendly and involves lots of interaction and fun with the audience.
Dinner was back in town at a fun and funky pizza place called, Brown Dog Pizza. It’s a casual place on Telluride’s main street offering a variety of pizza styles and local beers on tap. I highly recommend their detroit-style pizza that comes in a square pan. Delicious!
Varied Terrain for All Levels
Honestly, I always get a little anxious before skiing. For one thing, it had been an entire year since I’d last been on a ski vacation. And, I’m not getting any younger, lol!
Last year at Breckenridge, I skied the best of my life — thanks to rental equipment that helped build my confidence and sense of control on the slopes. I was a little nervous I wouldn’t be able to live up to my, or hubby’s raised expectations a year later.
But an awesome thing about Telluride, is that they have single and double skill level greens (beginner) and blue (intermediate) terrain. We’d never seen that anywhere else. And, since a blue trail out West is like skiing an advanced black level back home, it really helped in matching and building ability.
Most beginner and intermediate slopes were also nicely groomed — although there wasn’t much fresh powder. Unlike much of the Rockies, Telluride’s San Juan Mountains had gone nearly a month without a lot of snow.
During the same week, our younger son was on a ski vacation in Winter Park, Colorado. They experienced blizzard conditions; racking up six to seven inches of snow daily! Here, he and his friends were tree skiing through the deep snow in the forest.
I don’t remember experiencing that kind of heavy snowfall since we visited Whistler, Canada years ago with the boys.
Although we missed him, D had already committed to the ninth annual ski vacation with his college buddies. It wasn’t until Christmas, that the rest of us put together the trip to Telluride.
Anyway, the shortage of fresh powder made the steeper slopes more granular and sometimes icy. It took me a few days to adjust and get over my fear of skiing through.
Having double green and single blue terrain to choose from was a definite plus. And, it made it easier for me to avoid moguls altogether, and even bumpy, choppy trails on double blues.
Better With Age?
By my fourth day of skiing, I gained enough confidence to keep my momentum and rhythm going from the top of a miles long run until reaching the bottom.
And with hubby’s sweet encouragement, I skied all four out of five days with everyone — instead of taking a spa day off. I’m so very glad I did, because I had a blast! Everything just seemed to come together and click on that last day of skiing.
For the first time ever, I also wore a ski helmet. It was far more comfortable than I expected and certainly kept me nice and warm.
Back when hubby and I started skiing, wearing a helmet wasn’t a “thing” — not even when our kids were growing up. Now adults, both our sons have been wearing helmets for numerous years.
Unfortunately, no amount of prodding could entice Mr. Buzz to wear a helmet — maybe he’s not as smart as I give him credit for?!
High Altitude Adventure
One thing I had not expected was feeling the affects of being at high altitude. We didn’t have any issues while hubby and I were on a ski vacation at Breckenridge last year. Or, even while hiking and Exploring Magnificent Machu Picchu in June.
But, several times a day, I noticed feeling a bit short of breath. In fact, all three distance runners experienced the same sensation from time to time. Hubby reminded me that not only was the air thinner with lower oxygen levels, but we were also unaccustomed to the cold air in our lungs.
From the get-go, we were all very proactive in hydrating (i.e. drinking lots of wate)r, while moderating consumption of alcoholic beverages.
The experience was always short-lived and more of a minor irritation. I mostly noticed the sensation while riding lifts up to high terrain or after a miles-long ski run.
And, it didn’t deter us from skiing high alpine glades and bowls.
Midday, Mr. Buzz and I would meetup with our son and V for an on-mountain lunch. Look at the gorgeous view from the outdoor dining deck of Gorrono Ranch!
We’d eat a delicious warm meal, sometimes listen to live music, drink lots of water, and catch up on how everyone’s morning runs went.
Afterwards, we’d plot a course for mountain terrain to explore together. That usually included heading further up mountain to ski glades, bowls and ridges where the experiences and views were nothing short of spectacular.
The upside of little snowfall was clear, sunny skies and warmer weather.
Stunning snow-capped mountains all around, made it feel like being at the top of the world! We all had so much fun together on our Telluride ski vacation, and made many happy memories.
It was wonderful having the opportunity to spend an entire week with our son and his girl.
No dear readers, I’m not referring to any terrible tumbles, bad spills or injuries, lol! Although it was inevitable I had a few falls. Most were self-induced by fear. That’s when I’d purposely fall “up-mountain”, in order to stop myself from potentially careening out-of-control.
The hardest part was getting upright again on a steep, icy slope. Hubby or my son usually took up the rear, and would help me get back into a ski if I popped a binding.
I think I fell a total of six to seven times over the entire ski vacation. But, on the long last day — even though I skied the most aggressively (i.e. level of difficulty, speed) — I didn’t fall at all! My only “injuries” were that welt-like ankle blister remedied by a bandage, and an ugly bruise on the opposite leg.
Happily, we noticed far fewer snowboarders than all the young, hot shots at Breckenridge. No reckless whipper snappers ran into me this trip! I think it’s likely because Telluride is located in the lower western part of the state, and less accessible by car than other Colorado ski resorts. So, it’s less likely to attract daytrippers from Denver.
Telluride has great, wide green and blue trails, and there were times it felt like we had entire runs nearly to ourselves! Even as an intermediate skier it was surprising to be able to access much of the high level terrain.
In the picture above, we are nearing the bottom portion of an intermediate trail called, Ski Forever. It felt like it went on for miles and miles!
But now, it’s time to call it a day of skiing, and head back into Telluride for some hot chocolate and snacks in front of the fire.
Take a little stroll around Charming Old Telluride Mining Town in Winter, and check out the vibrant dining scene too.
Do you ski? Ever been to Telluride? Have any experiences or adventures to share?
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