By Barbara Sloan
Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they do when they stick together. In Telluride, Colorado, their sticking together has produced a magnificent, world-class resort for all manner of winter sports.
Telluride is nestled in the southwest corner of Colorado where geology did some of its best work. Peaks of 14,000 feet melt into red-rock mesas, and lush stands of evergreen and aspen silently forest the hills. Designated a National Historic Landmark District, Telluride was once a booming silver mining town. Today, with much of its original Victorian architecture preserved, it is a recognized and celebrated gem.
The region receives on average more than 300 inches of snow annually and offers more than 2,000 skiable acres for all ability levels – and with 300 days of yearly sunshine and no lift lines, the skiing and snowboarding in Telluride are epic experiences. There are now 14 direct flights from 11 major hubs and flights have recently been added from Dallas-Ft. Worth and Phoenix.
Terrain For All
For adrenaline junkies, make a beeline to Plunge to conquer steep bump runs. This run is known for its breath-taking views of the town, and its jaw-dropping black diamond descends 3,140 vertical feet down the mountain. But, hold on: even though Telluride skiing is renowned for its steeps and bumps, 38 percent of the resort is intermediate terrain, offering runs such as Village, Palmyra and Prospect. The area’s most popular intermediate trails are just over three miles long – providing panoramic views all the way to mountains in Utah. And for newbies there’s a friendly, low-pressure atmosphere at Sunshine and Ute Park — each a beginner’s dream spanning nearly two miles. However, as winter sports are not quite my thing (read: absolutely no ability), the inviting road less traveled beckoned. I had to heed its call.
The Peaks Resort & Golden Door Spa, hovering high above the town, is where I chose to hang for a few days, and it had everything that a non-skier, non-boarder, non-skater like me could possibly wish for. It was divine, a haven for those who do not define R&R by flying down a vertical mountain slope, wind lacerating our faces, and the threat of imminent catastrophe looming over our heads. Instead, proponents of soft adventure (accent on soft) will find this full-service resort one’s perfect cup of tea — or hot toddy (my particular preference).
This resort is home to the famed Golden Door Spa, and, in keeping with its original property in California, it is dedicated to creating a balance of body, mind and spirit through personal programs and treatments. Feeling a slight pang of guilt as I watched fit individuals zooming down mountains, faces glowing from the icy wind and frozen into masks of sheer concentration lest they crash and burn, I felt compelled to choose the Healthy Lifestyle Package. It promised that my body would “thank me for taking the time to respect and nourish it.” I am certain my body was actually thanking me for not attempting to ski. The three-hour session included a private body composition analysis and fitness assessment, a personal training session, and then the good stuff: a 50-minute, customized Swedish massage.
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