Oct 3rd, 2018
Sitting 8,750’ above an old mining town, Telluride holds deep history amongst its premier skiing reputation. Telluride was a silver mining town along the San Miguel River flowing from the San Juan Mountains. The town was formerly known as Columbia but was changed to Telluride after much confusion with Columbia, California. The name Telluride derives from the gold telluride particles found in the water throughout Colorado. Ironically, this mineral was never actually mined in this town. Remnants from mining operations are scattered throughout the hillsides. The town of Telluride is on the National Register of Historic Places and one of Colorado’s 20 National Historic Landmarks, recognizing the town’s rich authentic American history.
Mining in the late 1800s kept the small town bustling. People were moving to the area to strike their fortunes in mining. However, the crash of silver prices after World War I crushed these dreams. Miners fled to Moab, Utah where mining still promised financial stability. Telluride began to dwindle after it’s primary market took a dump. However the time of the ‘hippie’ brought Telluride back to life.
The 60s and 70s brought in a new crowd to rejuvenate the town. ‘Hippies’ flocked to the remote getaway. The counterculture folk resisted growth of their secret paradise. However the iconic music and film festivals drew in thousands ultimately changing the character of the town forever. Tourists began discovering the hidden gem’s unbeatable views and skiing the valley had to offer. After barely escaping a snow drought, the ski resort started expanding; a gondola was built connecting the town to the Mountain Village above.
Eventually this ‘hidden gem’ no longer was hidden. Rather now just a gem became a well known ski oasis for wealthy skiers and tourists to retreat to a mountainous paradise year round. Telluride also became a drug smuggling hub. It was a convenient place for drug smugglers to make their drops. The combination of boujee resort town and counterculture shenanigans defined Telluride’s unique character.
Today, the ski resort receives over 300” of snowfall each year with 300 days of sunshine; a skier’s dream. The resort has 148 trails spanning over 2000 acres. The highest lift on the resort reaches 12,570 ft. Runs range from true beginner to some of the most advanced in the state. Intermediates and beginners will thrive through the meandering greens and blues. Equally accommodating to those intermediate and beginner level skiers, the mountain is really known for its steeps and bumps. Expert runs descend 3100 vertical feet for long, continuous thigh burning runs. The expanse of the resort allows runs to reach up to three miles long, with uninterrupted, 360 degree view of jagged mountain peaks. Settled in the southwestern region blesses the area with warmer temperatures than those found in the north, yet still with the same iconic snow conditions. Snowshoeing, ice skating, nordic skiing and horseback riding are among the many other winter activities the resort has to offer.
The fresh, untouched powder, no lift lines, the breathtaking San Juan’s in the distance. It is an “in-bounds ‘backcountry’ experience.” Not much more a winter sport stan could ask for.