Our Manager of Incentives & Recognition Programs, Jennifer Vecchi, is an avid skier (to put it lightly), and recently traveled on her first trip to Telluride, Colorado. We sat down with her to learn more about her experience both on and off the slopes. Our major takeaway? This desirable ski village is the perfect destination to satisfy nearly anyone’s vacation needs, from the active to the supremely relaxed, and it’s especially ideal for the foodies in your travel group. Who doesn’t love rare wines at 12,000 feet?
Q: Where did you stay in Telluride?
A: We stayed at Mountain Lodge in Telluride, CO. It was my first visit.
A: We stayed in a condo at the resort, which was really upscale. Full kitchens, modern amenities, comfortable leather couches, fireplaces, balconies… But with 60-degree days, we spent a lot of time outside instead of in front of the fireplace! There is a grocery store at the resort, so you can make a lot of your own meals, but that was hard to do because the restaurants were so good!
A: It was spring skiing the whole week we were there. The warm weather stayed around 60 degrees. There was a lot of terrain we couldn’t ski, but the scenery was just beautiful. Telluride is known as “one of the best places to go for scenery,” and it’s absolutely true. It’s stunning. If it’s not going to be new snow, at least it was bright and sunny…bluebird days. You could tell that the terrain was just spectacular.
Q: Do you have to be an expert skier to get out on the slopes?
A: No, there is terrain for every ability level. It’s definitely a destination that any skier can go to. It’s the altitude that is challenging for most people. The village base is at 9,000 feet and you’re skiing at around 12,000 feet, so the first couple of days take some adjusting.
Q: What suggestions do you have for coping with the altitude?
A: Before you go, get lots of rest. It’s not a short-term solution, but be as fit as you can. It helps to get lots of hydration. If you’re prone to altitude sickness, get a prescription from your doctor before you leave to help you adjust. Ultimately, though, it’s mostly about rest and hydration. Also, it’s really important to cut back completely on alcohol, especially before your trip. For the first three days, I had a dull headache, but I took two Advil each morning and it went away without a problem.
Q: What was your favorite part of the trip?
A: Dining was my favorite part of Telluride. One restaurant on the mountain that I loved was called Bon Vivant. It’s new to the mountain and serves classic French fare, Champagne cocktails…it’s just awesome. We went on a cloudless day, and you just couldn’t beat sitting out on the deck enjoying a great meal. That was definitely a highlight.
The other great restaurant we visited – probably the best – was Alpino Vino. The experience is incredible. You’re picked up at the midway station and taken to the restaurant at 11,966 feet. You’re taken up by a snow coach that fits 13 people. It’s billed as “the highest wine bar restaurant in North America.” We were served a five-course northern Italian dinner with wine pairings, plus a champagne cocktail upon arrival. The restaurant only holds 26 people, so it’s intimate fine dining, and yet it is still casual, not dressed up at all. It was so beautiful going up the mountain as the sun was setting. I felt like I owned the mountain!
Q: As a foodie yourself, what was your very favorite bite in Telluride?
A: In the town of Telluride, which is just a 13-minute free gondola ride from the resort, there is a place called the Chop House. It’s in the New Sheridan Hotel. There, I had a 30-day dry aged 14-oz. bison rib eye that was unbelievable. They’re also famous for their elk tenderloin. My rib eye came with a side of truffle fries…absolutely incredible.
Q: Speaking of the town, what does Telluride have to offer besides the slopes?
A: The town is a typical old mining town. The main street has the very first bank that Butch Cassidy supposedly robbed, which is pretty cool. There are lots of boutique shops, typical ski town shops, an apothecary, and stores with vintage western wear. If you’re not an avid skier or you’re looking for something to do on your day off, it’s a great place to explore. Lots of restaurants with outdoor patios that are great on a sunny day. There is also the local bakery called Baked in Telluride, which is the perfect place to grab a croissant or pastry in the morning.
Q: How does Telluride compare to other ski towns you’ve visited?
A: In one sense, the whole town feels very upscale and European, but very laid back and casual in another. When you ride the gondola, it’s probable that you’re sitting next to billionaires, but you would never know it. It’s also definitely a destination. It’s kind of far out there, unlike places you would drive to for the day. There are a lot of vacationers, but it’s a big mountain. Someone said that there were over 2,100 people on the mountain when we were there, and we were like, “Where are they?” You wouldn’t know it. It was also spring break time, but it wasn’t crazy or anything. Very family-friendly. I didn’t encounter anyone with an attitude, either. Everyone was very courteous.
Telluride offers a variety of additional activities and accommodations, including spas, hot springs, bungee drops, dog-sledding and more. To book your own Telluride adventure (or escape!), contact Atlas Travel at 800-878-8626.