I learned to ski as a young girl before horses came in to the picture to take over all my free time. There was a small hill outside of the small town in Wisconsin I grew up in where my mom took us. It had the old rope tow lifts which have been forever burned into my memory. I hated them. I hated skiing on that little hill too. But over the years, after a short stint living in Denver and work outings up in Northern Arizona I have grown really fond of skiing. Skiing out West is definitely a different experience than in the Midwest. There is a big sky with lots of sun making it a warmer, more enjoyable experience. There are also the mountain range views!
Telluride is a 7 hour drive from Phoenix which was part of the appeal. Our ride there started with snow in Flagstaff and views of the San Francisco Peaks. I just skied there a couple weeks back in 50 degree sunny weather!
We took the 160 highway for most of the trip and unfortunately I didn’t take many pictures but it’s essentially the outskirts of the Grand Canyon. Here are some photos I snagged off Google . . . amazing right? In all the years we have lived in Arizona this was our first on this highway and it will not be our last. We experienced crazy weather too! Snow, wind, rain, you name it. The rain would be happening on one side of the road and the sun shining on the other. The wind had tumbleweed flying all over the road, just like in the movies.
On the final 20 miles to Telluride the snow and mountain ranges were vast and breathtaking. We were in the clouds . . . literally.
We stayed at The Peaks in Telluride’s Mountain Village. A friend at work told me about this place and it did not disappoint. If you have not experienced ski-in/ski-out you have not enjoyed the simplicity of skiing. There is a staff that helps you get into your gear and puts your skis and poles onto the snow and off you go. No hassle, no fuss. It was the best!
The rooms are new and spacious. Because we drove we were able to bring beer and snacks for the room which is a perfect way to wind down after a day of skiing. The resort does not offer room service which is my only complaint.
The Peaks has excellent food and you can order it to go but the ambiance and views of Mt. Wilson from the restaurant are well worth making the trip. We enjoyed the breakfast buffet and dinner in the main restaurant – Altezza. The Peaks is a top notch place overall with a spa, a water slide for the kids that leads out to the heated pool on the balcony. It has a couple hot tubs and a full gym. You would never have to leave really.
But we did leave to explore the old town of Telluride taking the gondola up and down the mountain range which is an experience especially in the dark! During daylight hours you have views of the ski runs, the Mountain Village, the mountain ranges, all of it. On the day we arrived we made our to town to check it out and it was starting to snow.
It was not a good snow year for Telluride but this was our view from Smugglers Brewpub in the town of Telluride. We were loving it!
Our first full day we spent on the mountain skiing with the fresh powder we got the night before. Jersey claims it is the best skiing he has ever experienced and I concur.
We stuck to the double greens and primarily stayed on the Bald Mountain side (right on the map). Galloping Goose was by far our favorite allowing us to meander down, not too fast or challenging. We aren’t skiing to impress anyone rather we just want to enjoy the views, the sun and a couple beers along the way.
On our second day skiing we did make it over the Village Bypass run. It was the most challenging run and the only enjoyable part of it was Gorrono Ranch which is the lodge on the mountain where we had a beer and enjoyed the sun for a bit.
Everywhere you look while on the slopes you see magnificent views, with the sun shining on your face. A very different experience to skiing in the Midwest!
On the day before we left we spent some time exploring old town Telluride. It is a hippie mecca but with lots of money. We did some shopping where I found handmade jewelry, incense and a very cool candle.
It is a dog friendly town which made me love it even more. They are everywhere and on everything.
There are excellent restaurants in the old town and I was not prepared with reservations before we arrived. I have a list of next year that I’ll be sure to checkout that includes Allred’s Restaurant that is located on the first gondola stop. There is a small house, 221 South Oak that peaked our interest and had vegetarian options. Alpino Vino is the highest elevation restaurant in North America sitting 11,966 feet in the clouds. You can get there by the ski lift during the day when the offer lunch service but at night they offer you a private snow-coach to the quaint European dining experience.
We did make it to the famous Brown Dog’s Pizza a couple times. The first time we just enjoyed a couple beers in the energy filled room. But we came back a couple days later to enjoy an excellent thin crust pizza. It was right up there with that pizza in South Africa last year.
The Mountain Village where we stayed is all very new with 5-star hotels like Madeline. There are fire pits and skating rinks and a little something for everyone really. You can shop here and we dined at Siam’s Talay Grille for Thai food and a warm Eastern influenced ambiance. We fell in love with all of Telluride and it’s now on our annual travel rotation. #seetheworld
“I celebrate three holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas and Telluride” – Chris Thile