There may be bigger mountains, fancier ski resorts, and ski towns that boast Gstaad-levels of luxury in the US. But for those looking for natural beauty and a quirky hometown scene, Telluride is an unparalleled mountain oasis known to attract a certain friendly Patagonia-clad sort of population, who show a dogged devotion to doing things just a little differently. When in Telluride, skip the tourist spots and live like a local instead with these five insider tips.
Meet One of the Best Boot-Fitting Experts in Colorado
At Boot Doctors in Mountain Village, you’ll get the best-fitted ski boots of your lifetime. Owner and head boot fitter Bob Gleason is a regular fixture in ski magazines and has seen (and fixed) every sort of sore feet Telluride’s many slopes produce. The sprawling store also carries everything you’ll need, head to toe, to spend a day in the powder, from high-end skis to snowboards.
Paw Through the Telluride Free Box
Founded in 1976, Telluride’s Free Box is a community exchange box at the corner of Colorado and North Pine, which has become a Telluride institution. Known to turn up such cast-offs as last season’s ski models, the Free Box is beloved by locals and visitors but hasn’t been without controversy – it barely avoided being dismantled by the city in 2009. Thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers, Telluride’s Free Box lives on.
Breakfast with the Locals
Like Telluride, the Butcher & Baker Café isn’t fancy or pretentious – just friendly, simple, and fantastic. Made-to-order breakfast sandwiches and burritos, fresh baked bread, bagels, and English muffins, as well as hand-crafted artisan pastries are ideal items for fuel for a day on the slopes. Come early and sit at the counter in this former billiards-hall-turned-eatery to rub shoulders with the locals, and you might get a tip or two on the best place to find fresh powder.
See a Rare Nightscape
In Telluride, thin air, a lack of light pollution, and clear skies often conspire to create excellent stargazing opportunities. Check out Cassiopeia around the fire pit in Mountain Village.
Sip in the View
Order a high-altitude distilled vodka martini at Allred’s, a warm, swanky bar and fine dining restaurant perched 10,551 feet up atop the Santa Sophia gondola station. Through the picture windows, watch the sunset turn the peaks of the San Juan Mountains coral and the lights of Telluride twinkle some 1,800 feet below.