As we come to a close on a whirlwind summer, all eyes are pointed towards the winter season. We all anticipate restrictions and a new normal, but Telluride has made a plan to keep its community and guests safe while all enjoying their favorite winter activity, skiing. The fresh mountain air and thousands of acres of open skiable terrain will spread people out and get the space we all need. However, some aspects of traveling to your favorite mountain town this winter will look different.
Traveling to Telluride
Travel to Telluride hasn’t changed much for this upcoming winter. Southwest Airlines has announced a new direct flight from Dallas (DFW) to Montrose (MTJ) expanding the flights to the Telluride region even more. The closest airports to Telluride include Montrose, Grand Junction, Durango, Cortez as well as the Telluride airport with a daily flight to and from Denver in the high seasons. Shuttle services are the best way to navigate to and around Telluride once you arrive at the airport, and they include Telluride Express, Mountain Limo and Black Bear Luxury Transportation. Once you arrive to your home, hotel or condo everything is within walking distance and accessible with our free gondola system connecting the Town of Telluride and Mountain Village.
Telluride Ski Resort
Advance lift ticket purchase is required for the 2020-21 winter season in Telluride. If you or friends visiting arrive in Telluride without securing a lift ticket, there may be no remaining tickets available for that day. Same day ticket purchase will be ONLY available online, when inventory is available. Chairlifts will be limited to one person to chair or people from the same party to avoid any close contact. Many other protocols will come into play like mandatory face coverings in public places and frequent hand sanitizing, the resort is planning to be prepared and evolve as COVID restrictions evolve. Visit the Telluride Ski Resort Winter 20/21 FAQ’s for more information.
Ski School will be more intimate this year with restrictions to bookings and group sizes. You MUST book your ski school in advance for your trip to Telluride, the earlier the better. For the 2020-21 Winter, Telluride Ski School is focused on creating great experiences for your children while maintaining a safe and healthy environment. To this end, as a parent you can expect small group lessons (maximum 2 children per instructor for Otters and Bears and a maximum 4 children per instructor for Eagles.) There will also only be offerings of half day lessons where you can book for the morning or for the afternoon. All age groups will meet and stay outside for the lesson and will avoid crowded indoor spaces as well as no lunch offering for this season.
Dining on-mountain at Telluride Ski Resort may be even more of an experience than usual this winter. Yurts will be set up at every dining establishment. The yurts will be equipped with heaters and socially distanced seating. All dining will take place outside under tents and yurts for more time spent in the fresh air and under the stunning Colorado sky.
A great way to stay out the kitchen, stay safe and enjoy the same fine dining you’re craving over the holidays is to hire a local caterer and host your family and friends in your home or condo for the evening. 221 South Oak and Aemono are a couple among many that will treat you to the talent of their chefs in the privacy of your own home, no clean up required. For our recommendations including private chefs and local restaurants that offer at home private events, give us a call.
In Mountain Village, gondola cars are currently being installed in the village core. “The cabins, which are being refurbished by The Gondola Shop in Fruita, will have lights (in the ceiling and under chairs), heating and ventilation systems, cushioned seats with black leather coverings, wooden dining tables, easy-sliding doors and sturdy floors that can withstand wear and tear from ski boots. Tables will have QR codes that show menu options from 12 restaurants in the village center. Some of those restaurants will send wait staff to your gondola or yurt, as if you were being served in the restaurant. Some will be offering takeout meals only.” Read the entire Denver News article here.
The Town on Telluride is taking a less holistic approach and most restaurants are devising their own plan for the winter season. COVID safe dining practices will be implemented at certain places like 221 South Oak with an outdoor yurt, High Pie will be using gondola cars for outdoor dining, Cosmopolitan is planning on expanding their take out and having a drive through, and at La Cocina is installing a green house eating area on their patio. Common consumption will roll over into the winter where you can purchase to-go cocktails from most restaurants. This means you want to make all of your dinner reservations well in advance as restricted seating will still be a requirement this winter.
Other Outdoor Activities
To stay completely away from the crowds this winter, there are plenty of adventure outdoor activities to occupy your family’s time. Try a new adventure and see a part of the San Juan Mountains you haven’t before with a snowmobile tour or cross country skiing. Snowmobiling with Telluride Outside will be an adventure for the whole family, located in the sprawling forests of Lizard Head or Alta Lakes, you can experience terrain like never before. Cross country ski rentals can be found at Telluride Parks & Rec for a day or for as long as you’d like. Groomed cross-country paths are maintained all winter long on the Valley Floor, in Town Park and Alta Lakes. Stay a magical night at the Observatory with access to back country skiing and a built-in chef in the classic cozy mountain cabin. Or head out to Dunton Hot Springs for a long weekend of soaking in springs, glamping in luxurious platform tents and enjoying their famous cuisine. If you’re ready for the ultimate skiing adventure and experience, cross heli-skiing off the bucket list this winter. Helitrax is an incredible local operation that equips you with skis, packs and lunch for your day heli-skiing in the incredible terrain surrounding Telluride. In between your laps of giant untouched powder turns, sip on a thermos of hot coffee, soup and sandwiches as the helicopter takes the next group to the rugged peaks of the San Juans and get ready to close out your day with more all-time skiing. The list goes on and on of incredible opportunities to fill your time in Telluride in a safe and memorable way.
Everything you hold near and dear about Telluride can’t be changed. The mountains, culture and ambiance that we all come to the San Juan Mountains for will stay true. Let us at O’Neill Stetina Group help guide you in trip planning, home buying or just to chat about the snow quality of the day.