While the weather is gloriously warm in Dallas, up in Telluride, Co. snow conditions are at it’s peak. “We are having our best ski season now,” says Stephen Roth, executive chef of culinary services at Telluride Ski & Golf Resort. And the resort has cleverly peppered a range of on-mountain dining options for hungry skiers seeking a warming bowl of soup or a hot chocolate break at snack time without having to ski off to a central touristy food area.
First get your hands on a trail map which also marks all the different restaurants on the mountain and work from there depending on your skiing abilities. There’s Bon Vivant, an outdoor bar and restaurant under a 40 foot heated umbrella serving French country cuisine and crepes at 10,000 feet; Giuseppe’s for po boys and creole food; Allred’s for modern Colorado cuisine housed in a warm airy lodge; Crazy Elk Pizza which sells a pitcher of Belgian beer and any large pizza for just $25 (a tip from Stephen Roth) or Tomboy Tavern a lovely gastro pub serving 32 different local craft beers.
I was there to write this travel article for the Dallas Morning News and loved the experience of the two towns – quirky Telluride and it’s glitzier and newer sister, Mountain Village. We stayed in the heart of Mountain Village at Hotel Madeline which was perhaps the best of both worlds for us with kids. They have condo style luxury accomodations with all the ease of hotel amenities like room service, concierge, a fine dining restaurant called M’s (Pikelet & Lollo loved M’s) and a casual bar restaurant.
Mountain Village is the epicenter of the Telluride Golf and Ski Resort where tourists take their ski and snowboarding lessons or try the latest craze, snow biking. There was hardly any wait time at the 18 different chair lifts that takes you to the Goldhill Ridge for extreme back country skiing or Prospect bowl for a slower pace beginner.
A free gondola service connects Mountain Village to the small historic town of Telluride. We loved the ‘lived in’ feel of Telluride which aims to keep a quaint, laid back way of life like Austin only it’s set in a box canyon of picturesque mountain ranges.
The Main street drag is filled with a myriad of restaurants for the discerning, shops (mostly local, non chain stores), galleries, a small school, public library, grocery store, local radio station and medical facility. The lack of souvenir shops pleasantly surprised us.
And for the kids, there’s Ski & Snowboard school and Eco Adventures which takes them on hikes to see beaver dams and keeps them occupied with science experiments like making ice cream by packing ice and salt into an ice cream making ball and kicking it in the snow for fifteen minutes. They even offer babysitting which is highly recommended if you have a reservation Alpino Vino the most elevated dining experience in North America. A snow cab takes only 26 diners to an intimate 5 course prix fixe dinner with wine pairings.
Till our next Happy Meal (on or off a mountain top)!
Epilogue – Unexpectedly I suffered from altitude sickness when I arrived and I wanted to put in a good word for the staff at Hotel Madeline who were not only knowledgeable about my condition but acted quickly to get me medical help. You guys were amazing! THANK YOU! Check the Institute for Altitude Medicine (located in Telluride) for information or consult a medical professional prior to your trip as there is prescription medication you can take which will help alleviate altitude sickness.