Telluride – Epic Scenery

Start with one of the best-preserved silver mining towns in the state and perhaps the prettiest setting in the Rockies. Add an outstanding ski resort, season with a year-round roster of dazzling festivals and diversions, and you have the truly unique place called Telluride. It all makes for a charming, interesting mix, with bluegrass fans mingling with celebrities like Oprah and Ralph Lauren fleeing the glitz of Aspen. Restored Victorian homes and chic boutiques stand in the shadow of steep mountains that rise from the edge of town. Things have definitely changed since Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank here in 1889.

Lots of folks rave about the summers stellar possibilities for hiking in these parts. But most are here for the skiing, and few go away disappointed. The Telluride Ski Resort has 16 lifts serving 1,700 skiable acres, including some of the steepest mogul fields you’ve ever seen, though the mountain’s 84 trails offer plenty of opportunities for beginner and intermediate skiers. On a crystalline day, the aptly named See Forever, an intermediate run, boasts views as far as the red rook country near Moab.

A free 12-minute gondola ride, called “the most beautiful commute in America,” connects the town with the European-style Mountain Village, full of luxury condos, shops, and restaurants. This is where you’ll find the Peaks Resort & Golden Door Spa, whose mineral pools and special Skier Salvation massage will recharge you for the slopes tomorrow. Families love the KidSpa day camp and two-story waterslide. Locals congregate downtown at places like the mining-era Last Dollar Saloon and the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon, with live music and what rumor says is a spring-loaded dance floor In put an extra bounce in your step.

Telluride has also successfully branded itself as the Festival Capital of the Rockies. Mountainfilm kicks things off in late May, and the Bluegrass Festival happens in June, followed by the diverse musical roster of the Jazz Celebration in early August. September brings another film festival, this one described by Roger Ebert as “like Cannes died and went to heaven,” as well as the beer-and-music festivities of Blues & Brews later the same month. With so many events held here, ihe townsfolk understandably welcome No Festival Weekend, when nothing whatesoever is going on.