TELLURIDE, Colo. (CBS4) – When most people on the Front Range of Colorado they think of skiing they often think of Winter Park, Vail or the resorts in Summit County, but the biggest and best snows this winter have been in southwestern Colorado, and the folks who make the trip to Telluride in these winter months are in for a rare treat.
“Fun people, fun locals, great restaurants, great retail, shopping, apres ski bars … it’s really just an over-the-top place,” Dave Riley, CEO of Telluride ski resort, said.
It’s a long road to Telluride on the Western Slope, but most visitors will tell you it’s worth it. The town is nestled in a box canyon and has unparalleled natural beauty. It is surrounded by 13,000 and 14,000 foot peaks.
“Telluride is remote and it’s not on the way to anything, which is one of the things I think makes it even more special,” said Ray Farnsworth, general manager of the New Sheridan Hotel and Restaurant.
The Uncompahgre and San Juan mountain ranges haven’t changed much over the years, but Telluride ski resort surely has. Some of the recent changes include:
– A ski terrain expansion of more than 400 acres
– A new terrain park
– A new half pipe which stays open Thursday through Sunday nights
– The opening of Revelation Bowl for advanced skiers
Riley said the resort was designed after studying the best ski resorts across the globe, from “grooming to culinary to the terrain itself.” Lift lines are a rarity, and with most visitors staying for a week or more there’s not the surge in the number of skiers on the weekend that you see at places like Breckenridge.
“In terms of skiing we’ve got some of the best terrain in the country,” Farnsworth said.
The ski mountain also boasts two new restaurants. The Hop Garden is a German tavern in the village with an indoor and outdoor bar. Alpino Vino is located all the way up at 12,000 feet.
“We call it the highest wine bar in the world,” Riley said. “A lot of the furniture and the menu itself was patterned after these very unique, 100-year-old restaurants in Europe.”
Telluride is unique in many ways. There are actually two towns: the historic mining town of Telluride, a National Landmark Historic District, and Mountain Village, a new European-style town. Both offer plenty of options for lodging, dining, and shopping and both are connected by a free gondola, which means you don’t need a car to get around.
A gondola also stops at mid-mountain where you can walk right into Allred’s Restaurant, which features fine dining and drinking with a spectacular view.
In town there are plenty of places to stay and eat, but Farnsworth says the New Sheridan has history no other spot in town can duplicate.
“Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank just down the street. I’m sure he had a beer here. Presidents, actors, actresses have been here,” he said.
The New Sheridan Hotel opened in 1895 and it has recently been given an extensive $9 million renovation. Space was added to the popular Chop House restaurant and a new parlor was added.
“Prior to the renovation we had a holdover from the olden days. We had eight rooms with shared bathrooms where there were community style bathrooms down the hall. One of the things we made sure with the renovation was that every guest room had its own private bathroom. We added heated tile floors, soundproofing, plumbing, electrical and just insured it was state of the art and modern.”
To get to Telluride:
A) Take Highway 50 to Montrose
B) Go south on Highway 50 to Ridgeway
C) Head west on Highway 62 to Placerville
D) Go south again on Highway 145 an on into Telluride