If you want to enjoy all that winter has to offer, I highly recommend that you take a trip to Telluride. We stayed at the Franz Klammer Lodge, a beautiful facility located right in the Mountain Village. It’s just like walking right outside your door to ski paradise.
The Lodge arranges for you to be picked up at the Montrose Airport; since it is a little bit of a long trip, (about 90 minute drive) they make sure you get the history of the area as you travel to the Lodge. Plus, once you see the magnificence of its landscapes, you will find it well worth the wait.
You’ll drive past Ralph Lauren’s massive ranch; and you’ll know that you are driving past because the split rail fence has four rails (most have three) and the rails are on the outside (they are usually on the inside to prevent cattle from breaking through – but rumor has it that Mr. Lauren’s wife did not like the way they looked – so they bolted the rails on the outside).
You will also pass a small town where the original True Grit, starring John Wayne, was filmed and the narrow gauge railway – The Galloping Goose.
As you close in on the Lodge, the vistas are amazing. The Mountain Village is more than a mile and a half high – so you may experience some slight altitude sickness (usually a headache). If you do experience this, take an oxygen treatment in the spa to alleviate any mild symptoms you may experience. Also – drink plenty of water and Gatorade!
The skiing is amazing. On one side of the mountain, you find mostly green and blue runs, so that you can warm up. ‘Galloping Goose’ is a fabulous run, two and a half miles of relatively easy terrain. Once you are warmed up, you HAVE to make it a point to go up to the aptly named ‘Sea Forever’. It may take three chair lifts to get there, but once you arrive, you feel as if you are on top of the world.
You can see the village and the ‘ant-size’ people walking through it. The way down is littered with views and vistas that, on a sunny day will inspire wonder and awe. But – BE CAREFUL, those same vistas nearly caused me to ski right off the edge, as I was paying attention to the view and not the terrain in front of me.
After skiing, head to the Hop House for Fondue for two and a try the après ski cocktail (The bloody Mary’s are chock-a-block with horseradish). Then you can take the free gondola up to Allred’s for another cocktail and a view of the sunset that will silence all conversation except “WOW”.
For dinner, you can take a Snowcat to the highest wine bar in the nation, or you can take the Gondola to downtown Telluride, where you can enjoy numerous fine-dining choices. Cosmo and Siam (Thai) are two of my favorites.
After a full day of skiing, you may just want to stay in the Mountain Village. If so, Trax serves an awfully good bowl of chili. Skiing is not the only thing you can do in Telluride, they also have snowmobile trips and ice climbing. For a day of pure indulgence, Franz Klammer has a spa that you can easily spend a day in and feel completely renewed.
Travel Raintree also has another resort in downtown Telluride, called The River Club, perfect for those who prefer to be able to walk to numerous fantastic restaurants. The River Club is still only 3 blocks from the Gondola for you skiers and boarders; and blocks away from dozens of amazing culinary adventures.
Regardless of in which resort you stay – Telluride is well worth the trip.