After a fantastic time in Aspen, it was off to Telluride! I mean c’mon… Tim McGraw has a classic song about the place that practically makes you want to sell everything and move there so it must be an amazing place! Read on for the report.
Getting from Aspen to Telluride is actually not the easiest thing in the world. While both Aspen and Telluride have regional airports, you can’t fly between the two. There aren’t any shuttles either.
So after mulling it over, I decided to go with a one-way car rental. This was the most EXPENSIVE single day car rental I’ve ever rented? How much do you think it costs, corporate discount included, to rent a car in Aspen and drop it off in Telluride that same evening? Well, it ran me $279.09. Yeah. Really.
Despite the fact that we were getting nailed on the price, I was actually really looking forward to the drive. I love driving through the Rockies and despite all the fresh snow we had gotten, the road was clear for our driving day. Plus, after three straight days on the slopes, a nice, leisurely drive was welcome. We took our time, stopping a few places along the way.
Our favorite stop was actually Ridgeway, Colorado. This is an old railroad town, and it’s the last major stop before Telluride. We found a great micro-brewery and a bunch of art shops. We even stumbled into Billings Artworks, and we met John Billings, the maker of the Grammy Awards! Who would have thought that Ridgeway, Colorado, would host the maker of one of the most famous awards? He gave us a tour of his shop, and we saw some of his other relics.
He even made Michael Jordan’s original John Wooden Collegiate Player of the Year trophy. When it broke during a moving accident, he made Michael a new one. Michael shipped the old one back, and I got to touch the original Michael Jordan Collegiate Player of the Year Award!
Also, remember that Taylor Swift incident with the broken Grammy? Yup – he’s got that trophy there too! He told us that he kept the broken one and sent a new one back to her.
After a great stop in Ridgway, we proceeded onto Telluride, Colorado. It’s a truly beautiful drive up there, and there’s very little “mountain driving,” which I define as windy roads surrounded by cliffs. Of course, we had to pop on Tim’s song on repeat for a decent portion of that last drive haha .
We decided to burn some United Mileage Plus miles at a hotel there, and that was actually the first time I have ever used miles at a hotel. There weren’t any options for me to burn Marriott or Starwood points in Telluride, and I really didn’t feel like dropping $300 to $400 per night for a sk-in / ski-out place in Telluride. We found the Peaks Resort as a Mileage Plus redemption option for 64,450 miles. That might seem like a lot for a few nights, and maybe it is, but while I do value my miles, I value my dollars even more, and when it comes to them, free is free.
We found the hotel be nice, but a bit odd. The lobby is really nice, and you’re literally a five minute walk from the gondola. Their breakfast spread was way nicer than the buffet at the St. Regis in Aspen, and it was about half as much. Now on the flipside, the room lacked any sort of decorations. The furniture was laid out in a weird way, and there was a nighstand on only one side of the bed. We weren’t there for the hotel, though. We were there to enjoy the slopes and the town of Telluride.
The area of Telluride is actually made up of two towns, Mountain Village and Telluride. Mountain Village is the modern ski resort base, and that’s actually where our hotel was. Most of the hotels are in Mountain Village. There’s a free Gondola connecting Mountain Village and Telluride, though, and it runs from 7AM to Midnight. Score! Telluride used to be an old mining town, and it’s truly a pleasure to stroll down the main street. I really love the old brick that many old mountain towns have, and this place is no exception. Of course if you peel back the old brick layer, you’ll now find ski shops and upscale dining. I’m perfectly okay with that! Our favorite spot was Brown Dog Pizza. They had awesome pizza, and there are plenty of TVs with pretty much every sports package. It was a great place to watch the Lakers beat the Celtics.
When it comes to the mountain of Telluride, I found it to be peerless. Fantastic snow. Amazing terrain. A huge vertical drop. The bowls up top were absolutely epic. I’ll let the pics speak for themselves. Click for the larger version.
All in all, Telluride is my favorite ski area / town combo that I’ve visited thus far. I love the old historic town. I love how quaint it all is, and while it is quite upscale, it’s not that “in your face” style of Aspen. It’s much more subtle class. To top it off, the mountain is absolutely fantastic. This is seriously some of the best skiing in the country.
We finished the trip by flying out of the Telluride airport to Phoenix, connecting onto SFO. Flying out of Telluride is really an experience in itself!