Larry Olmsted – Senior Contributor
Two years ago I wrote a feature here at Forbes about why Colorado’s Telluride is one of the world’s best ski and snowboard resorts, and having been to just about every major destination ski resort in the country, it’s tied only with Jackson Hole atop my personal best list.
But now it is even better.
To summarize, Telluride’s two main strengths are its ski terrain and towns. I say towns, because unlike almost any other resort, the ski mountain links two distinct ones, Telluride proper at the bottom, a charming, authentic, Old West flavored 19th century mining town, and Mountain Village up on the slopes, a modern, pedestrianized ski resort village in the style of Beaver Creek. You can stay, eat, drink, shop or live in either, and both are fully connected to the slopes, ski-in/ski-out. They are also directly connected to each other by a free gondola running well into the after dinner hours, extremely novel public transportation.
This choice of two “municipalities” is unusual in skiing, but so is the skiing itself. The Telluride ski resort has what I believe to be the best selection of terrain for every ability of any U.S. resort. Some major mountains are weak in beginner terrain (Aspen, Jackson, etc.), some in expert/extreme (Vail), but here there is plenty of green, blue, and black for everyone, But on top of this, there is also a wealth of double blue terrain, great news for a huge but generally under-served ski and snowboard audience – advanced intermediates. There’s also a ton of double black expert terrain, but beyond this, a lot of double black EX – extreme – runs, and the small but devoted percentage of skiers who seek out mountains like Jackson, Squaw Valley, Crested Butte and Big Sky for ultra-steeps, cliffs and chutes will be right at home here.
As I said, I’ve never seen such a perfect dispersion of options for all abilities, as well as all tastes: trees, bowls, in-bound hike to, out of bounds lift served sidecountry, long groomers and of course, bumps, the area in which Telluride is perhaps the very best American ski resort. For this season they added 44-acres of north-facing expert glades. Yet despite this almost embarrassing wealth of terrain and variety, the very large mountain is well laid out and extremely easy to navigate – you can often get from one end to the other with a single run and lift ride. As an added bonus, just about every lift, no matter how high or daunting, serves at least one groomed intermediate trail, so it’s virtually impossible get into the wrong place or over your head.
So that’s the Telluride advantage in a nutshell, two great towns, one great ski area. But there are other compelling reasons – some of them very new – to choose Telluride. Here are five of them …. Keep reading at Forbes.com