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An insider’s guide to Telluride

Telluride, with its spectacular vistas, historic old town and world-class skiing, is home for Charity Banker and her daughter. Here’s the insider’s scoop.


I drove into Telluride with an open heart and a hungry stomach. I had never been to this magical mountain town even though I was born and raised in Colorado. There was something about the fresh mountain air, the allure of the big mountain skiing and the promise of a new life that had enticed me to move here sight unseen; I was 25, single and ready to call this mountain town home. As I bumbled out of my car after the lengthy road trip from Idaho, my first food stop was at Baked in Telluride for my first local meal: a perfectly glazed donut.

Mountain air
Nearly 21 years later and I’m still here, raising a beautiful daughter who I chase around the mountain on skis from November to April. It seems like just yesterday she was carefully creating ‘pies’ (or otherwise known as a ‘slice of pizza’ or ‘French fries’) down the mountain, and now it takes everything I have just to keep up. She has long since graduated from the Enchanted Forest off Lift 1 where beginners enjoy perfect vistas of the San Juan Mountains and the longest green run, the Galloping Goose at 7.4 kilometres.

Nowadays we warm up on the pristine blue runs of Polar Queen and Henry’s Run off Lift 5. Come midday, we like to ski on over to Lift 9 where we happily lap the famous Plunge and Bushwacker, where our ski legs are exhausted by these unabridged challenging pitches. Lift 12 is often where we meet up with other local friends and kids in her class to schuss down rolling ski runs or hike-to steeps. It’s a choice each skier gets to make for themselves because both sets of terrain meet at the bottom of the same chair lift, where lift lines are nonexistent. The next progression is to take the short ride up Lift 14 to Revelation Bowl where the wide, open powder runs recap another incredible day on the mountain.




Mountain fare
Without a spoken word we descend to our favourite hot chocolate, grilled cheese and chili spot, known as Gorrono Ranch, once used as a Basque sheep herder’s farm in the 1800s. We wiggle our wool-socked toes in front of the gigantic fireplace, boast to one another about our favourite run(s) of the day and plan our next adventure on the mountain together. Through the years it is here that I have watched her ski boots warm by a fire; once tiny, her boots are now the same size as mine.

While most of the time we enjoy buying food from local farmers and cooking at home, we do frequent certain restaurants in town which cater for both her vegetarian and my carnivorous appetites. Siam, the only authentic Thai restaurant in town, is one of our go-tos with its free-range, organic products and native Thai chefs.




OAK Beer, Bourbon and BBQ is another favourite. Although the name doesn’t sound very kid-friendly, don’t let it fool you. The littlies corner tucked just inside the front door complete with bean bag chairs and large family-sized tables to eat upon provide a great community atmosphere. From what I can gather, the mac ‘n’ cheese is a big winner with little skiers and I have been known to enjoy a hearty meal of barbecue ribs seasoned with homemade sauce or pasta topped with black beans, broccoli, tomatoes and cheese. Oh, and don’t forget the homemade corn bread… not to be missed! This Telluride mainstay has been part of my life since I arrived in town and it is here that I’ve shared the best of memories with friends and family alike. It is the informal, casual, leave-your-ski-boots-on atmosphere that brings me back here time and time again. The sunny patio doesn’t disappoint either.

Many visitors have asked me why I chose to raise my daughter here in Telluride, and with much pride and satisfaction, I explain that I wouldn’t have it any other way. Maybe it’s the sense of community, safety and ease of living in this mountain town. Maybe it’s the meaningful friendships and family that hold me here. Maybe it’s the unrelenting beauty of these Colorado mountains that keeps us breathing clean air every day. Maybe it’s the variety of activities and terrain this winter playground has to offer. Or maybe it’s that weekly trip to Baked in Telluride to bite into that perfectly glazed donut to remind me of the best decision of my life: to call Telluride home.


***TELLURIDE REPORT CARD***



Information
Telluride Tourism Board
www.visittelluride.com

Telluride Ski Resort
www.tellurideski.com

Getting There
Fly from Los Angeles to Montrose, and then it's a picturesque bus ride of 90 minutes.

Stay
Fairmont Heritage Place Franz Klammer Lodge
www.fairmont.com
Mountain Lodge
www.bluepowder.com.au

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