“Once we visited Telluride, we never went anywhere else.”
45 minutes from the nearest stoplight at the end of a towering box canyon sits Telluride, Colorado (elev. 8,750'), a National Historic Landmark surrounded by 14,000' peaks in the San Juan Mountains. Above Telluride is a modern, master-planned resort village connected to Telluride by a free pedestrian gondola, the only one of its kind in North America.
While the ski terrain is world-renowned, the resort is truly defined by a collection of unique, intimate and unmatched experiences. From Tempter House to Allred's and Alpino Vino, you'll find these experiences are as unique as the 14,000' peaks that surround them.
"The beauty of the place is etched in my mind."
Unlike the mega-resorts in North America, Telluride's location and small size allows for guests to experience a peaceful and intimate atmosphere, where lift lines are nearly non-existent and the people are authentic and friendly. The resort is differentiated by its focus on planned-growth, sustainable practices, and unique high-alpine scenery and experiences.
Victorian architecture and colorful storefronts distinguish Telluride's Main Street, while the Mountain Village is a pedestrian-friendly alpine enclave.
Food aficionados delight in the quality of food in this small resort, boasting over 60 restaurants, coffee shops and bars. New approaches in American cuisine, wine cellars to rival those found in major cities, and tasting menus prepared by seasoned chefs create the perfect atmosphere to match any mood.
Founded in 1878, Telluride’s history is as colorful as the Victorian homes lining the streets.
Originally named Columbia, the fledgling town was forced to change its name in 1887 due to post office confusion with Columbia, California. From 1887 on Telluride began to earn its place on the map as a budding mining town.
Most say Telluride is named after tellurium, a nonmetallic element associated with rich mineral deposits of gold and silver. Others say it originated from the castaway call "To-Hell-You-Ride" shouted by loved ones who knew of the town's boisterousness. Either way, folks were attracted to the young town full of promise and opportunity.
In fact, at the turn of the century, more millionaires (per capita) lived in Telluride than in New York City. The Tomboy Mine was one of the world's greatest gold producers and contributed to more than $360 million dollars of gold pulled out of the area.
The wealth of Telluride attracted the likes of Butch Cassidy, who began his illustrious bank robbing career in town. In 1889, Butch walked away from his first heist at the San Miguel Valley Bank with $24,580, never to be recovered.
All good things came to an end when Telluride's boom days started moving toward bust. The final blow came when many of the area's mines shut down in 1953. Families left town in droves and those who stayed realized Telluride's heyday was a thing of the past. After the 1950’s mining bust, Telluride faded into a sleepy ghost town.
Skiing Comes to Telluride
Snow, once despised by miners, falls in glorious abundance in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. Snow put Telluride back on the map. The Scandinavian sport of skiing was introduced to Telluride by Swedes and Finns, maybe for the sheer joy, but more for the quick means of transportation.
Nearly 40 years after the mining bust, an entrepreneur from Beverly Hills envisioned how snow could transform Telluride. Joe Zoline's dream of building a ski area came to fruition in 1972 when Telluride Ski Resort opened with five lifts and a day lodge. Six years later, two Colorado natives, Ron Allred and Jim Wells, purchased the ski area and began to transform Telluride into a world-class resort through mountain upgrades, the development of Mountain Village, and the creation of innovative public transportation systems – the gondola and chondola.
Mountain Village, Colorado
Developed in 1985, Mountain Village (elev. 9,545') is an intimate, pedestrian-friendly enclave with a variety of lodging options, boutiques and restaurants. Home to the Telluride Conference Center, and popular hotels including The Peaks Resort, Lumiere and Hotel Madeline, this European-style alpine village is consistently rated one of the most beautiful in the world.
Mention Telluride and those who know this authentic mountain gem grin in appreciation of its sheer beauty and charm.