There is a saying “people come to Telluride for the Winter, but stay for the Summer” …well not me. I never want to leave Telluride in the Winter. Fa la la la la! The town of Telluride, Colorado in the Winter is about as magical a ski town as you could possibly imagine. Decked out in twinkle lights, holiday decorations and falling snow flakes, this town is one-big-fairy-tale setting. Not to mention how easy is it to get around (there’s the Galloping Goose Shuttle that comes every 10 minutes to take you around town or the solar powered gondola to take you to the base of the ski mountain – all for free) to all the fabulous shops, restaurants and services. Between yoga, massage, cocktails, fresh baked treats and scrumptious breakfasts, groceries, super cool shopping (you won’t find a single chain store here) and a fabulously cozy book store – well there’s just no reason to leave.
Telluride, The Sweet Winter Wonderland
But the real reason I love Telluride so much in the Winter has nothing to do with the sweet, winter wonderland town – it’s the skiing. Yup, I love to ski, and Telluride has one of the best mountains around. Did you know Telluride is ranked #1 ski resort in the US for three years in a row by Conde Nast Traveler readers? Here’s why: It is a top notch resort without the crazy lift lines, crowds, attitude or intimidation factor. It’s easy to access rentals, equipment, ski school, meals and accommodations – are all right there within a couple paces, and if not they’ll bring it to you.
Whether you’re a beginning or extreme skier, the mountain offers a variety of terrain to make everyone happy. Telluride also prides itself on community, and that means everyone knows everyone – which is why service is top priority. If your business doesn’t treat customers well, word gets out – fast. Telluride also happens to be known for it’s terrific food – I can vouch for this reputation. With some outstanding bistros, wine bars and restaurants, you can ski hard by day and enjoy a delicious meal comparable to any big city, at night.
These are just a few reasons why Telluride in the Winter is one of my all time favorite places to go. Below is the Telluride City Guide – Winter, a list of my top picks of places to eat, services and things to do.
If you are considering a vacation this Winter I highly suggest taking a trip to Telluride, you won’t be disappointed – and if you stay, I’ll completely understand.
Best ski lunch off the mountain:
Black Iron Kitchen + Bar, I had lunch here 4 days in a row. That says a lot for someone who rarely, if ever stops skiing to lunch. I’m more of a granola bar and chocolate covered malt balls in my pockets type of gal. But one day when my new boots were being fitted I had some time to wander around and discovered this place just steps from the base of the mountain at the bottom of the Madeline Hotel. The Black Iron had just opened the day before, but you’d never know it. The kitchen, staff and service ran smoothly and the food was spot on. Their Vegetarian chili was so divine and hearty you’d never miss the meat. Oh and the truffle fries were insane. The kale, apple and dried cherry salad, with candied pecans was so refreshing paired with the savory chili. Oh and an absolute must is the s’mores dessert. It comes with fire a blazing, giant marshmallows, chocolate squares, graham crackers and skewers for the complete campfire DIY s’mores experience. They also serve one of my all time favorite wines, Chappellet from Napa. Now do you see why I broke for lunch.
Tomboy Tavern, One of my new favorites is this rustic and charming slope side tavern & grill at the base of the mountain in Mountain Village. It’s easy access – just steps from the lift line, and cozy feel make for a tempting reason to dive in for a bite. Oh and a must try is the insanely tasty Soba Noodle Soup with buckwheat soba noodles, kale & cabbage blend, roasted shiitake mushrooms and onion, edamame, all topped with fried egg, thin slices jalapeño, sesame seeds and a side of hot sauce – this dish warms you from the inside out.
Best place to lunch like you’re skiing the alps:
Alpino Vino, I skied by this restaurant everyday and was amazed at how busy a place on top of a mountain could be. Closed all Summer long this place heats up as soon as the snow starts falling. The locals call this place the hidden gem – I call it divine! The food, the atmosphere, the view – the whole experience wrapped up in an intimate, cozy cabin transport you to another world where you expect to see the Matterhorn peaking up to the sky…
Hassle free ski rentals delivered to you door:
Black Tie Ski + Snowboard Valet, No lines, no crowds, no hassle. This premier ski and snowboard rental delivery service promises is to be at your door within 10 minutes. They’ll even meet you on the slopes if you need to change out equipment or drop off your rentals at the Ski Valet for no extra charge. %100 new equipment and performance demos makes this service a screaming deal. These guys want you to have the best Telluride skiing and snowboarding experience possible.
Best boot fitters:
Boot Doctors, Inside Paragon Sports you’ll find Telluride’s expert boot fitters – and if you’ve ever skied in an uncomfortable boot you know how painful it can be and why the perfect fitting boot can mean the perfect day of skiing. Which is why I know the Boot Doctors. I just retired my old ski boots and experienced first hand the skill, precision and tenacity of what custom boot fitters go through to make sure you have a boot that fits like a glove. Best part, you have a one year boot-fit guarantee, which means they will keep tweaking and manipulating each and every spot until you are completely satisfied. This is a big score since often times the boot that feels great in the store becomes a torture chamber after hours of skiing in freezing temperatures – with Boot Doctors you can do something about it.
Best Christmas tree installations:
China Rose, If you’re planning a white Christmas in Telluride I highly recommend you let the magic of the holidays extend to your Christmas tree set up. I went to China Rose to actually buy a tree and decorate it myself but the only trees left were trees bought ahead of time waiting to be delivered and installed complete with festive decorations and seasonal blossoms. The little wooden shop just outside town, brimming with order slips and ’sold’ tags, twinkle lights, fresh garland and Paper Whites, looked more like Santa’s workshop thank a florist. The cheery staff and friendly service made me add ‘a Christmas tree installation from China Rose’ on my Christmas list for next year.
Best place to dine like a local:
The Cosmopolitan, The ‘Cosmo’ as the locals refer to it, sits directly across from the base of the gondola in town. The newly renovated space boasts an atmosphere that is cozy, modern and sophisticated sans formality. The warmth of the entry with it’s giant roaring fire place greets you like a big hug. As you make your way to the dining room via the bar, be prepared to breathe in the chef’s daily creations made from locally sourced farms as you pass by the kitchen. The food is delicious, consistent and prepared with integrity. This is not a fancy restaurant, it’s a foodies restaurant.
Ship your ski equipment, packages, luggage and holiday gifts there and back:
High Country Shipping, Your schlepping drama has just been solved. No more lugging your equipment, skis, boards, Holiday gifts, luggage on the planes, trains or automobiles. I just called up High Country Shipping and they took care of the rest. They emailed my packing slips, scheduled a pick up, shipped my boxes and delivered them right to my door when I arrived as promised. I was so impressed I shipped everything back home when we left…it was that easy and mindless. I am forever grateful to just travel with the bare necessities and leave the rest in a box!
Telluride Sitters, 970-708-0170 for all your baby sitting needs plus toy and baby gear rentals. They are a great service with super fun sitters!
Best way to get to know / ski / board / learn about the mountain:
Telluride Resort Ski School, (800/778-8581) Do yourself a favor and check out this site before you plan your ski / snowboard trip. The Telluride Ski resort site gives you the latest snow report and conditions as well as the view from a live web cam on the mountain. The resort offers all sorts of skill clinics, steep camps, back country adventures as well as complete beginning ski packages for the first timer. They also have online discounts from lift tickets, accommodations and events so be sure to use this valuable source to help book your trip.
Walk up coffee:
Cowboy Coffee, the converted horse trailer is now home to a beloved coffee store. You can smell the roasting beans and Mexican hot chocolate from down the block….the scent lures you to the charming dark green store front churning out hot cups of home brewed java. The service is fast, friendly and inviting. Pull up a chair on the patio and watch the world go by sipping on a dry cappuccino….isn’t that what vacation is for?
Best place to get lost and escape:
Between-The-Covers Bookstore, I am a bookstore groupie. Going to the bookstore is one of my favorite places go and things to do. Give me a bookstore and you’ll lose me for a couple hours or more….and this store ranks right up there at the top of my list off all time best places to get lost. Maybe it’s the buyers, the curators or just serendipity but for some reason every time I’m there I pick up the book I need to read for that time of my life. Since 1974, this tiny world of literature, knowledge and tales has been home to a community of avid readers. With it’s charming coffee bar in back and scattered chairs and cushy couch, you are invited to take your time and delve into new worlds. Did you know Telluride holds the record for the highest population of PhDs in one city? Maybe smarts will rub off on me if I hang out long enough in the bookstore.
Love this super cool clothing boutique:
Sublime, So I’m not much of a shopper, that is until I need something. Then I have to find the exact ‘thing’ I’m looking for. This fabulous clothing boutique has bailed me out a few times. Warm Winter tights, check. Sparkly, festive cashmere sweater, check. Hip all weather booties, check. Sunglasses, hair ties, groovy necklaces, kids clothing – check, check, check and check. I am a loyal fan of this sweet spot for it’s on trend designs I can wear in a mountain town or a big city. Sublime makes shopping for the perfect thing a lot more fun.
Best way to get warm + stay in shape:
Hot Yoga at Studio E, 220 E Colorado Ave. 970-708-4995 , If you’re skiing hard all day, the only way not be sore the next is to stretch. Hot yoga in Telluride, where temperatures can hit the single digit range, is more like warm yoga – so first timers don’t be scared. Hot Yoga just gets your body warmed up faster so you can get into those sore muscles more effectively. The small studio offers classes daily, morning and night. ** Note: since this article was published Studio E is transitioning to a new location. Check for updates on their link above. Telluride Yoga Center – located in the town of Telluride, overlooking main street, is a serene and light filled yoga studio that offers gorgeous views of the mountains to gaze at during your vinyasa flow. Here you’ll find a variety of yoga, meditation and body work classes all day long, a staff of wonderful teachers and a tranquil place to soothe your ski muscles and calm your mind.
For more information on everything from year round festivals, events, ski mountain, kids activities, workshops, flights, accommodations, restaurants and more go to: VisitTelluride.com
These are just a few reasons why Telluride in the Winter is one of my all time favorite places to go. Below is the Telluride City Guide – Summer, a list of my top picks of places to eat, services and things to do. If you’re interested in a Summer trip to Telluride check it out here.