Our family of five (three kids ages 16, 14 and 12) has been going to Telluride every Presidents’ Week for the past seven years, the last four years with our great friends from San Francisco. With its challenging terrain, delicious restaurants and unpretentious funky vibe, Telluride is a ski destination worth going back to year after year. This post is based on a guest blog I wrote for our friends at the fabulous luxury travel website Inviato.
Telluride actually consists of two distinct towns connected by a free gondola (the first and only of it’s kind in the United States): Mountain Village and Telluride. Mountain Village is where you will find the ski resort (including the drop off area for ski school), several of the resorts including the Fairmont Heritage Place-Franz Klammer Lodge, and Lumiere , and the majority of the rental properties. The town of Telluride, while only eight blocks wide and twelve blocks long, is where you will find most of the notable restaurants and shops. With both the gondola and free shuttle services, it’s easy to get around both towns without renting a car. After seven years of staying in a rental house high in the hills of Mountain Village (we slept [not well] at over 10,000 feet), we were excited to check in to the Auberge Residences at Element 52 in the town of Telluride. Element 52 is tucked into the mountains within a few short blocks of Colorado Avenue (a/k/a Telluride’s Main Street) and the gondola. We loved the modern design of the resort with its industrial edge inspired by Telluride’s mining roots. This relatively new property built in 2011 offers thirty-three two-to-five bedroom residences ranging between 1,400 to 5,700 square feet. We stayed in the beautiful Mountain View E4 three-story unit (two families need a lot of space) which features a modern kitchen with Wolfe, Sub Zero and Miele appliances; one master bedroom (featuring a steam shower and master closet), one additional bedroom with a king bed, three bedrooms with queen beds; five and ½ baths, two living room areas complete with comfy couches and entertainment centers, a gas fireplace, terraces, two laundry facilities, and an outdoor hot tub. The other Auberge Residences feature similar amenities (note that the two and three bedroom Cascade Units predated the Auberge Residences so they offer different amenities but are still entitled to use Element 52’s facilities and services).
The property also has two outdoor heated soaking pools, a very nice gym featuring state of the art equipment (including a Pilates Reformer), a small(ish) spa offering treatments and steam rooms, and complimentary in-town transportation.
Telluride has so many fabulous restaurants that deserve mention: 221 South Oak, Cosmopolitan (don’t miss the chopped salad), New Sheridan Chop House, La Marmotte, Rustico (where we hold our son’s birthday dinner every year), Baked in Telluride (thank you for making my son’s delicious birthday cake with only a few hours notice), Brown Dog Pizza (the best deep dish pizza) and Cocina De Luz (delicious Mexican plus great fresh juices and smoothies) are all personal favorites. Book early (most restaurants are on Open Table) as they do fill up quickly during busy vacation weeks.
Of course Telluride is all about the challenging, yet family friendly, skiing. We always rent our equipment from Black Tie Ski Rentals so we were especially pleased to find out they have a location at Element 52. Once I stopped skiing a few years ago, I was happy to find that Telluride has a lot of active options off the slopes. For a great workout, try snowshoeing or cross country skiing. Town Park has groomed trails, as well as two ice skating rinks. Since this post was originally published, Colorado became the first state in the nation to allow adults to purchase marijuana for recreational use. Regardless of whether you want to buy any pot or not (no judgments either way), you should visit one of the many dispensaries popping up in Telluride. We were surprised by the variety of options offered – different strains, baked goods, candy, topical – it’s all there (along with knowledgeable salesmen telling you exactly what and how much you need for any occasion).
After years of carrying our equipment up a hill to ski out of our former Mountain Village rental home, we loved the unique ski in/ski out ease of Element 52. Every morning starts at the Ski Concierge where the extremely friendly staff lays out your equipment including warm ski boots. The staff even insisted on helping our kids get on their boots every morning (leading us to ask yet again why we haven’t been staying here for the past seven years). The Ski Concierge facility also offers complimentary coffee, hot chocolate and muffins in the morning, as well as water, soda, beer and snacks (not to mention the most delicious warm cookies) at the end of the day. Once you are ready to hit the slopes, you will really love the convenience of Element 52 – outside the Ski Concierge is access to a unique elevator-like funicular that drops you off at the Telluride Trail ski run. Just pop on your skis or board and it’s a short run to Lift 7 or the gondola. Now that’s what I call ski in/ski out!
As Telluride is seriously committed to maintaining its reputation as an environmentally friendly destination, do not rent a car. The two major car services from the airport are Mountain Limo (888.546.6894) and Telluride Express (888.212.8294) (if renting a house, request for a stop at the many grocery and big box stores in Montrose). Once in town, you can easily get wherever you need to go by walking, using the free gondola or calling Dial-A-Ride at (970) 728-8888 for free rides anywhere in Mountain Village.