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Telluride Ski Resort

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USA Today calls Telluride "the most beautiful ski town in the country." The recognition of what this southwest Colorado mining-turned-ski town has to offer is hardly new. But with a new management team and a new focus, Telluride is poised to reinforce its position as one of the best and most unique mountain resort destinations in the world.

The San Juan Mountains that Telluride calls home are among the most stunning in the lower 48. And Telluride doesn't just have views of the mountains - they tower over its tiny downtown, a constant reminder that you are in an extraordinary place. The resort itself is formidable, offering enough steeps to humble the most advanced riders, and the relatively new Prospect Bowl is a major terrain addition that has received rave reviews from beginners and experts alike. The resort has also recently added tours to terrain accessible only to guided hikers.

Owned by Chuck Horning and his son Chad since February of last year, Telluride has been looking for ways to stay at the top of the resort game without relying too heavily on growth, which, in the destination travel business, can be a double-edged sword.

Ken Stone, the resort's new Executive Vice President of Marketing, recently gave fans of Telluride a glimpse of the new strategy. Telluride, Stone said, is "singular" in nature. "There are so many guests and so many locals who are passionate about this place that there is no need for us to try to position ourselves against other resorts. In a sense, it's very simple." "We'd rather spend money on the customer experience than on advertising," Horning added.

In other words, Telluride wants to spend its advertising dollars on its guests, which is a good thing for travelers. Get ready for this already service-oriented resort to roll out the red carpet even farther to earn your hard-earned vacation time.

While Telluride is happily isolated, direct flights to Telluride Airport and jet service to nearby Montrose make it accessible to modern visitors. And once you're there, the going is easy. Telluride is made up of two towns: the historic Telluride, and the more European-style Mountain Village. The town of Telluride is just 12 blocks long, and is connected to the Mountain Village via a free Gondola-making it easy for visitors to experience Telluride's two sides.

Lodging and dining are abundant and high quality. Don't miss Allred's, with world-class cuisine perched at 10,500 feet atop the San Sophia Ridge. La Marmotte serves up authentic French cuisine, and of course, hit the infamous Baked In Telluride for coffee and baked goods before skiing

For lodging, check out the Wyndham Peaks Resort, The Mountain Lodge at Telluride, or the Franz Klammer Lodge.

History of the Telluride Ski Resort. The adventure started in 1972, when Aspenite and Beverly Hills entrepreneur Joseph Zoline opened the fledgling ski area. With the help of local miner and skier Billy Mahoney Sr. and French ski racer/coach Emile Allais, runs were cut from the top of Lift 6 to the Day Lodge at the present-day bases of Lifts 1 and 10. Of the five lifts constructed, none picked up in Telluride. Instead, a bus drove skiers from town, around the mountain, through the Adams Ranch (now Mountain Village) and dropped them off at the Day Lodge (present-day Big Billies). Lift 1 took you to Lift 3 or 4, and from there you skied to Lift 5, and finally up to Lift 6, which dropped you off at the top of the ski area. If you skied down the wild and ungroomed north face to town, you had to ride the bus back to the Day Lodge to get back on the mountain. The pros, the ski bums, and the hard-core powder hounds could catch five rides in a day. It wasn't until 1975 that Zoline acquired enough mining claims and permission from the Forest Service to put in a lift (#7) from Telluride to the top of Coonskin Ridge, and the legend of Telluride was born.

In 1978, Ron Allred and Jim Wells purchased the ski area from Zoline. They added snowmaking, built Lifts 8, 9 and 10 and cut more runs down the steep north face of the ski area, including the famous Spiral Stairs, Plunge and Kant-Mak-M. In the years to follow, their company welcomed snowboarders, built Gorrono Restaurant, developed the Mountain Village, constructed the free gondola transportation system, created a snow-boarding park and opened Allred's on-mountain restaurant.

The finale of this 30-year saga was the recent purchase of the mountain by Hideo "Joe" Morita, who took the resort to its present glory by adding four lifts and expanding the area by 733 acres into Prospect Bowl.

This prime location, perched in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, afforded one thing no ski area entrepreneur ever had to buy or develop - unrivaled scenery. Telluride has always taken top honors in ski magazine surveys for its 360-degree views and towering mountains.

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