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Telluride: the Ultimate Ski Getaway

A Wild West mining outpost turned world-class resort, Telluride, Colorado continues to grow its reputation as one of North America's premier skiing destinations. This pristine wintertime playground in the San Juan Mountains offers abundant thrills with everything from innocent moguls to heart-stopping steeps for first-time skiers and tested experts alike. Located roughly 800 feet above the colorful storefronts of the historic box canyon town, neighboring Mountain Village is a Bavarian-styled town and home to the inviting and elegant Fairmont Heritage Place, Franz Klammer Lodge

Named after the famed Austrian gold medal skier, the retreat features luxurious two- and three-bedroom homes blending contemporary conveniences with traditional cozy chalet details of distressed wood, wrought iron and natural gas stone fireplaces. A mere 100 yards from the chairlift, the lodge offers the ideal starting point for an invigorating day on the slopes. You can also jump on the Gondola, for the 13 minute ride into town, to experience an exciting winter's night enjoying the area's eclectic and sophisticated dining scene.   

The Main Attraction
With conditions averaging 300 inches of snow and 300 sunny days annually, Telluride provides downhill enthusiasts an abundance of natural beauty. Glittering gullies and tree-lined runs are part of the 148 trails spread across more than 2,000 acres of skiable stretches. Challenging couloirs rolling into expansive bowls are a hallmark of the resort, with Fairmont guests finding easy access to no-wait lifts such as nearby Village Express (lift 4) and Sunshine Express (lift 10). 

For newbies, the Meadows and Sunshine areas are the perfect testing ground. Set apart from more advanced skiing, these well-groomed runs just beyond Fairmont Heritage Place, Franz Klammer Lodge allow you plenty of space to work on your balance and maneuvering techniques. Once up to speed, skiers and snowboarders can practice their moves at area terrain parks. Novices and families with small children should check out beginner-level Ute Park, while trained athletes are enticed by the jump ramps, boxes and wall rides of the Hoot Brown Terrain parks.

Challenge-seeking pros are drawn to the captivating 30-minute hike up the ridge above Revelation Bowl to race down one of the thrilling Gold Hill Chutes. Higher still, Palmyra Peak soars 13,320-feet, and those who undertake the hour-long trek to reach it are rewarded with impossibly clear, panoramic views and a choice of exhilarating trails into Black Iron Bowl below.

For the ultimate memorable experience, speak to the Fairmont concierge staff about heli-skiing; accompanied by the highly trained guides of Telluride Helitrax, you'll be flown to 200 square miles of distant backcountry summits, immaculate cirques and views you can't get anywhere else. 

Touring in Style
Though Telluride attracts guests throughout the year, winter provides a particularly stunning landscape in this corner of southwestern Colorado. Weather permitting, the Telluride Ski Resort Mountain Hosts offer free 2.5-hour tours to skiers with intermediate skills, departing daily at 10am from the top of Coonskin Lift (lift 7).

Interested in seeing what lies beyond Telluride's remarkable slopes? Hop on for a high-powered 28-mile snowmobile tour to the restored ghost town of Dunton Hot Springs, or choose a day trip to ski or relax inside the country cabin of the Observatory at Alta Lakes. For an exceptional adventure, ask the concierge to schedule a morning ride with the Alaskan huskies of Wintermoon Dogsledding. The Fairmont concierge staff — recently recognized by the prestigious Les Clefs d’Or USA for Lead Concierge Sandy Roth's expertise — will plan all the details from transportation to a catered lunch. 

The Heights of Gastronomy
With the increase in top-notch culinary choices in Telluride, visitors expect gourmet excellence along with the astonishing views of high elevation addresses. A popular lunch hot spot at the top of Polar Queen (lift 5), Bon Vivant beckons with French fare such as its comforting puff-pastry-topped onion soup. Another tempting mid-day break can be found at Alpino Vino, which offers a casual outdoor wine bar and heated multi-level deck. Sip from a 250-strong wine list, including the state's largest collection of Brunello di Montalcino, while gazing at the 13,000-14,000-foot tops of Wilson, Sunshine and Lizard Head peaks.

Come dinnertime, Alpino Vino pulls out all the stops for après-ski action. A covered snow coach whisks diners up to its intimate European hütte to be greeted with a glass of Prosecco. Served by the glow of a wood-burning fireplace, house-made pasta, wild mushroom ragout and duck ravioli highlight a traditional five-course meal showcasing flavors of the Italian Alps. There's also an optional, highly recommended wine pairing menu. This 21-and-over dining event is truly in rarefied air. The restaurant proudly lays claim to the highest eatery elevation in North America at 11,966 feet.

One gondola station away from the lodge, Allred's Restaurant stands perched along San Sophia Ridge, poised for a daily sunset show more than 10,000 feet above Telluride. Unwind to live piano music nightly with favorite cocktails like Cruising at Altitude, a Chartreuse liquor twist on a gin-and-tonic, or the Oaxaca Old Fashioned, which sumptuously mixes barrel-aged patron añejo with mescal, agava, Aztec chocolate and orange bitters.

Close out the evening at THERE Bar, Telluride's chummy, funky space that doesn't take itself too seriously. Outfitted in raw wood and vintage tin, this fun bar serves enticing cocktails such as the gin-and-elderflower Grapefruit or the mescal Diablo, perfectly sweetened with blood orange puree.

Heaven on Earth
Nothing makes a trip feel like a real vacation getaway quite as much as the European-style treatments available at Fairmont's Himmel Spa. Offering basalt stone, Swedish, deep tissue and traditional Thai massages, as well as personalized facial, body and reflexology treatments, the staff can recondition and ready sore muscles for wintertime sports or instill a feeling of fully rejuvenated wellness. Indulge in the heated pool, dry sauna and steam room, or marvel at the dazzling sunset from a hot tub on the deck after a day delighting in pulse-quickening fun on the Telluride slopes.

After living for five years in Brazil, where he wrote restaurant, nightlife and hotel city guides for Time Out São Paulo and other publications, CM Gorey returned to his native New York City. With experience creating and revising content for corporate PR and social media campaigns for the art market, he also continues to translate Brazilian Portuguese works for film, television and theater.

Photo Credits: 
San Juan Mountains & Clouds by Coast-to-Coast

Chairlift vista by blueye

Snow Mountains of Telluride, Colorado by amedved




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