Depending on how you look at things, we either got a lovely extended fall or were robbed of primo skiing due to unseasonably warm weather. If your thinking falls into the latter camp, you'll be glad to know that resorts are finally opening – and offering more than ever this year.
In this year's edition of Edge, our snow-activities guide to resorts in Colorado, we've told you about what’s new at every major ski area in the state, must-do experiences and insider tips. We’ve also done our own tireless research all over the state and reached out to some experts for suggestions on how to make the most of it all, whether you’re looking to drop some coin for something special or just trying to get by as a dirtbag ski bum like the rest of us. We'll roll those out at resorts open, like Telluride Ski Resort, which opens today — Friday, December 2.
TELLURIDE SKI RESORT
What’s new: On December 20, both Telluride the town and Telluride the resort will be celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the gondola that connects them. Look for the bright-red anniversary Cabin #20 on the gondola; lucky riders will have opportunities for impromptu contests, giveaways and mini-events in the cabin all season long. In other news: This season, Telluride joined the Mountain Collective, which offers a $419 pass good for two days each at fourteen resorts, including Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Mammoth Mountain, Sun Valley and Taos. But it's worth it even if you only plan to use the four Colorado days. The resort has also been working with its airplane partners to create new options from Denver. Save yourself the drive by flying direct from DIA to Telluride Regional Airport on Great Lakes Airline, a small carrier on the United Airlines network, or from DIA to Montrose/Telluride Airport on Allegiant Airlines.
Signature experience: “For more advanced skiers, it doesn’t get more signature than hiking the stairs to Gold Hill 9 and skiing down,” says Telluride Resort spokeswoman Shannon Gibbs. “Or, if it’s open, hiking Palmyra Peak and skiing down. For intermediates, ski Lookout and take the time to take in the views of town below. Ski all the way to town and take the gondola back up.”
Insider info: Telluride’s Gay Ski Week, February 25-March 4, is by far the biggest party of the season. To be right in the middle of it, try to book a room at the Madeline Hotel and Residences, the official host hotel, at 855-923-7640 or madelinetelluride.com. Full event details will be posted at telluridegayski.com.
Splurge: “For a dining splurge, take the snowcat up to Alpino Vino for a five-course meal,” Gibbs suggests. “The restaurant only holds 28 people, so it’s a cozy, intimate dinner.” For reservations, call 970-728-7560. Ski bum tips: Try the $8 “burger and a beer” special at the View Bar and Grill, in the Mountain Lodge, between 2 and 5 p.m. Gibbs also recommends the food carts in Mountain Village and Gondola Plaza, with grilled cheese, breakfast sandwiches, crepes, dumplings and other street-food fare on offer.
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Drink local: “You can’t miss the Historic Bar at the New Sheridan Hotel,” Gibbs says, touting the Gold Rush-era bar that has remained essentially unchanged since 1895. “Order a flatliner after a long day on the hill and you’ll be good to go.” For a more modern but still totally Telluride experience, rent a fat bike from BootDoctors and ride to Telluride Brewing Company and Telluride Distiliing Company. “If you take one of BootDoctors’ tours, they will drive you back to town,” Gibbs says, in case you’re worried about catching a BUI.