The Ski History Of Telluride

Telluride’s beginnings…

The town of Telluride was founded in 1878, in the midst of a mining boom in southwest Colorado. Discoveries of gold, silver, lead & zinc created a rush of fortune seekers to the Telluride valley. The town of Telluride was home to 5000 people at the height of the boom. More than double the amount of people who live here today. By the time the 1950’s had arrived, Telluride was almost a ghost town. The heady days of the boom were long gone and the remaining mining activity was plagued by worker strikes.

The dream of skiing begins…

It wasn’t until the early 1970’s, when Californian Joe Zoline saw an opportunity to develop a ski area. In 1972, the Telluride Ski Area officially opened with 5 chairlifts operating in Mountain Village & a day lodge. By 1975, the Coonskin lift was installed and linked the town of Telluride to the ski area. In the early 1980’s, Ron Allred and Jim Wells bought the area from Zoline.  In the summer of 1985 two triple chairs were installed which included Lift #9  and Lift #4, which are the current locations of the Village and the Plunge lifts.  The Coonskin double chair was used to create the current Oak Street Lift. Telluride installed its first high-speed lift in the summer of 1986.

Possibly the biggest changes that the Telluride Ski Resort experienced to date was during the 1990’s.  The country’s first ‘chondola’ system was installed connecting the Meadows area with the village core.  A chondola consists of both chairs and gondola cars.  In 1996, the nation’s first & only free gondola transportation system was installed connecting the towns of Telluride & Mountain Village. The dawning of the gondola era heralded a huge change in the connectivity of the ski area. Since the gondola opened, a number of additional lifts have opened, creating one of the most diverse & challenging ski areas in the country.

The future of the Telluride Ski Resort…

Today, the Telluride Ski Resort offers skiers over 2000 acres of varied ski terrain, in one of the most dramatic Alp-like settings in North America. According to the Telluride Ski Resort website, the terrain is 27% beginner, 36% intermediate and 41% advanced. There is 18 chairlifts accessing 127 ski runs, with a vertical rise of 4425 feet. Telluride is also unique in that it offers backcountry ski enthusiasts some of the best lift accessed side country terrain of anywhere in North America. A 2013 Conde Nast readers Survey ranked Telluride the #1 ski area in North America. Powder Magazine & SKI Magazine ran a similar piece ranking Telluride #7 in 2013, with SKI mag also giving us a #1 placement for scenery & #2 for character. Telluride is certainly on track to become one of the leading ski resorts in North America in the next decade.

 

If you are yet to experience the magic of Telluride, be sure to put it on your list for the 2014/2015 ski season. It truly is a magical place steeped in history, graced with incredible beauty & world class skiing. Discounted season & multi day passes are on sale now, through October 13 on the Telluride Ski Resort website. Call the team at Lodging In Telluride to book your vacation rental condo on 888-998-6471.