Situated in the San Juan Mountains in southern Colorado, Telluride has plenty to keep everyone happy while delivering unbeatable views.
Often overlooked by ski tourists, Telluride Mountain Resort promises fewer crowds, a good mix of terrain, and - with two main areas - plenty of adventure for entire family. Plus, it has a first-of-its-kind transportation system that will make traveling easy once you get there. I promise, Telluride is worth the extra effort!
What to do on the slopes?
Telluride had more than 2,000 skiable acres with almost equal amounts of beginner/intermediate and expert/advanced terrain. There are 18 lifts serving 148 trails, plus more terrain that’s accessible via hiking. Wanting to work on your tricks? Telluride features three terrain parks - beginner, intermediate, and advanced - with more than 100 features including half pipes, jumps, and rails.
KidTripster Tip: The longest run, Galloping Goose, is a whopping 4.6 miles. While an easy green run, it’s filled with real estate eye candy and worth skiing at least once.
Learning to ski at Telluride is easy with private and group lessons for adults, teens, and kids. Lessons start as early as 2-1/2-years old for skiers and 7-years old for snowboarders. You can also get rentals either in Mountain Village or the town of Telluride, depending on where you’re staying.
KidTripster Tip: Go online to rent skis before you arrive. It’ll make pick up quicker, and you may even find a discounted price.
Telluride also offers the first-of-its-kind Women’s Only Weeks. The women-only clinic lasts several days and not only includes skiing but also après-ski events likes spa time, shopping, and luxury cuisine. I’ll be back to do this for sure! Rates start at $575/person.
For those on the younger side, Cubs Camp in Mountain Village offers half- and full-day child care for kids (2 months to 4-years old). There’s also an option for toddlers to get a one-hour ski lesson as part of their day. Make sure to reserve early as spots are limited.
What to do off the slopes?
Gondola rides are your best bet for transportation during your stay in Telluride. There’s a gondola that runs in between Mountain Village and the town of Telluride. It’s the first-of-its-kind transportation system in the country, and it’s free! My toddler was entertained the entire ride; in fact, we rode it to town and back, just for fun! This unique transportation system is a hassle-free, family-friendly way to travel throughout the area.
Enjoy cross-country skiing at one of six Nordic skiing areas across Telluride town and on the mountain at the top of Chair 10. You can sign up for a group or private lesson or get a rental through the Telluride Nordic Association. Cost: Lessons start at $65; Rentals $24.
Telluride is home to some of the best ice climbing in the country, attracting top athletes every year for its annual ice climbing competition. You can try it out with guided half- and full- day tours. Kids need to have the strength to swing an ice hammer, usually 7-years old and up. You can book through the Telluride Adventure Center. Quad (four people) cost: Half-day $500; Full-day $600.
Think biking is just for the summer? Think again. For a unique experience, try a fat bike. The fat tires allow you to bike on snow and ice, meaning you can experience the unparalleled Telluride terrain in the winter. You can book through BootDoctors in downtown Telluride. Day cost: $45.
One of my favorite activities to do in Telluride is walk along Main Street and shop. Telluride has an eclectic mix of local stores, selling everything from souvenirs to mountain-inspired furniture and unique home décor. I love taking home a piece of Telluride to enjoy throughout the year.
When you're done shopping, head to the Telluride Distilling Company. They make their own vodka, whiskey, bitters, and (my personal favorite), the Chairlift Warmer. It’s like peppermint schnapps... but better. And they give free samples!
KidTripster Tip: Drop the kids off at the daycare in Mountain Village for Kids’ Night Out. It runs from 5 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Kids make crafts, play games, eat dinner, and have fun - all while you enjoy an adults-only night out! Cost: First child $60; Additional child in same family $20.
Where to eat?
Start your morning off with a breakfast sandwich, burrito or espresso drinks at Telluride Coffee Company. It’s right in Mountain Village, so it’s easy to fuel up before hitting the slopes. Oh, it also has delicious pastries and French toast. The lunch servings are filling - anything from burgers to brats, plus soups and salads.
On the mountain, Telluride has a nice mix of quick, relaxed eats and upscale, table service that will leave you satisfied. One of my favorites is Bon Vivant, an upscale French bistro with an extensive wine list at the top of Lift 5. The cheese plate is not to be missed, especially the homemade truffle agave. Yum! The restaurant is known for its unique twist on the classic French dip. The homemade soups are divine, as well. You may need to roll down the hill after eating lunch here!
Tracks Cafe and Bar has some of the most delicious toasted subs that I’ve ever had. Find it at the base of Lift 4 for a quick breakfast in the morning or in the afternoon for one of those yummy subs or its famous teriyaki rice bowls.
For a quick bite to eat, don’t miss Giuseppe's at the top of Lift 9. The New Orleans-inspired food is good, but the views are spectacular. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Utah!
KidTripster Tip: Look for the food carts in Mountain Village. My absolute favorite is the grilled cheese cart. There’s also a yummy crepe stand. Food carts are a great option for quick bites on the go.
At the end of the day, ski to Alpino Vino for a wine experience like no other. Situated below Lift 14, this restaurant is a hot spot for wines, cheese, and fantastic views of the Wilson Mountain Range. At night, you can take an enclosed Snow-Coach to Alpino Vino for a delicious five-course Italian meal.
After skiing, follow your ears to Tomboy Tavern for live music and Colorado-inspired bar food. It’s in the heart of Mountain Village at the base of Lift 4 and has ample indoor and outdoor seating. The atmosphere is laid-back, and the food is delicious. Plus, it’s loud, so no one will hear your kids!
Where to stay?
You can stay in either Mountain Village or the town of Telluride. There are lifts in both places to get you on the slopes quickly. Getting between the two places is very easy by riding the free gondola.
In Mountain Village, it doesn’t get any more convenient than the Inn at Lost Creek. My husband and I joked that we wanted to move in! It offers everything from studio to multi-room condos with kitchens and ample space for the entire family. My favorite part was the ski valets; they warmed our boots overnight and had our skis on the snow waiting for us in the morning! Since I spend most of my morning wrangling a wiggly toddler, it was nice to not have to worry about skis and boots at all. I strapped in and was at the lift in 30 seconds! At the end of the day, they met us with water before taking in our skis and boots; what service! You also have access to the Peaks Resort pool and spa just a short walk away. It has a two-story waterslide and an indoor/outdoor heated pool, plus two hot tubs, workout facilities, and full-service spa. The best part about the Inn at Lost Creek? It’s shockingly affordable. Studios start at $225/night.
In the town of Telluride, the Victorian Inn is a good value. It’s close to the free gondola and offers cozy rooms or private cottages. It has a free breakfast every morning, a dry sauna, hot tub, and in-room ski racks. Rates start at $179/night.
For a piece of history, opt to stay at the New Sheridan Hotel. Located in the heart of Telluride, this hotel is jammed-packed with town history and is home to one of the oldest bars in the West. There are only 26 rooms, so this boutique hotel fills up quickly. Rates start at $250/night.
Telluride is a hefty 6-1/2-hour drive from Denver. It’s a pretty drive, but long - especially with young kids. You can fly into Grand Junction or Montrose to cut down the drive. Or if you’re really adventurous, fly into the Telluride airport. It’s the highest commercial airport in the country! It has direct flights from select cities.
Journalist Amy Sward lives in Evergreen, Colorado. She has a goal to ski every Colorado resort with her husband and 2-year-old mini skier.