Once a rough Colorado mining town, the Western lore of Telluride is just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond the generations-old stories of gold and silver, Telluride is now regarded as one of the word’s most distinguished winter thrills. Surrounded by three soaring peaks, the exclusive ski destination feels quite literally cut off from the outside world. Inside the valley lies its world-famous shreds of paradise that inject adrenaline into the bloodstream of even the most seasoned of winter athletes. After all, the core of Telluride as the winter destination is to celebrate your inner adventurer. The laid-back Victorian town has a certain antiquated charm to it only brought out more by the city’s lively winter festivals and tasteful activities. Once you get a taste of the relaxed mountain lifestyle that begins where red rocks rise from the canyon floor and snowy mountain peaks of the San Juan Mountains loom ahead, you’re not going to want to let go. Between the epic alpine scenery, comfortable accommodations and endless polished experiences, Telluride viciously defends its reputation as America’s coolest ski town.
Where to Stay
Taking inspiration directly from the irresistible natural surroundings, the Madeline Hotel & Residences perfectly embodies the mountain spirit of Telluride. Each hotel room, suite and residence was paid the highest attention to detail where upscale alpine design seamlessly blends with modern sophistication. Heated floors, steamed showers and deep-soaking bathtubs provide much-needed relaxation after a long day on the slopes while private balconies are perfect for taking in the uninterrupted views. The world-class amenities are rounded out with its ice-skating rink, sky terrace, heated swimming pool and outdoor hot tubs set to the backdrop of the rugged Colorado backyard. With ski-in, ski-out access, the Madeline is a relaxing winter sanctuary that the whole family can enjoy. Check out our complete Luxury Hotel Guide for Telluride for an expanded list of recommendations.
Where to Dine
Housed in a rustic 19th century icehouse, La Marmotte is the enchanting bistro restaurant where you can dine on classic French cuisine in the most romantic mountain setting imaginable. The menu of elegant fare changes depending on what’s fresh and in-season, using local fine ingredients and French preparation techniques. Dishes like the coq au vin with bacon mashed potatoes or the slow-baked wild striped sea bass are both highly sophisticated and satisfying. The charming rustic atmosphere of one of the oldest buildings in Telluride is complemented nicely with an intimate ambiance characterized by white linen and candlelit warmth. All in all, La Marmotte is the perfect place to finish off a day on the slopes. Take a peak at the Restaurant Guide for Telluride for an expanded breakdown of fine eats.
What to Do
Boasting an average of 300 days of sunshine, spectacular mountain scenery and a charming town center, it’s not hard to see why Telluride has become the go-to winter destination. With six Nordic skiing areas, avid adventurers and fans of the great outdoors certainly won’t be disappointed here. There are meandering green and blue runs of Sunshine (Lift 10) and Prospect Bowl (Lift 12) for beginners, whereas for hardened vets, head to Plunge (Lift 9) for a jaw-dropping black diamond that descends 3,140 feet vertically from the top of the mountain down Telluride. However, the outdoor activities don’t stop there, as you can also partake in dogsledding through the snowy Colorado backcountry, snowshoeing while taking in the scenery and snowboarding the legendary terrain. Simply put, Telluride is a once-in-a-lifetime outdoor experience.
From the pedestrian-friendly Mountain Village up in the Rockies, take the gondola down into the historic center of Telluride. The charming Victorian town has an especially rich history and timeless appeal, while it’s completely void of any chain stores. Head into town and stroll along the historic Colorado Avenue, where you can enjoy local boutiques, heartwarming cafes and outdoor eateries, all while you bask in the alpenglow of the San Juan Mountains. At just six blocks wide, the town center may seem pretty tiny, but it’s also home to a number of world-class festival and special celebrations that are scattered throughout the winter season. From the holidays on, Telluride will be hosting outdoor events that range from pop-up culinary markets to music festivals and everything in between.
What to Wear
Bundle up and prepare for a world-class outdoor experience. From enjoying the twists and turns of the snow-covered trails to the après-ski relaxation, Telluride is a place where you’ll want to look and feel the part. Compact and fitted, this Perfect Moments Chatel Quilted Goose Down Jacket will have you looking sleek on the slopes, whereas these Bally Chack Fur-Trimmed Hiking Boots are a great all-purpose option that will gracefully accompany you to the après-ski celebration. This Cordova Aspen Striped Stretch-Shell Snowsuit is the ready-to-go piece that will have you looking great and feeling comfortable along the trails. Toss on this Bogner Vera Fur-Trimmed Shell Hooded Puffer Coat when exploring the Victorian village for a cozy winter style. Check out the Style Sheet for Telluride for a complete breakdown of what to pack for your stay.