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Mountain Village, CO Announces MV Open for the Fall Season!

From Anton Benitez, President & CEO
Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association
anton@tmvoa.org      

MV is Open Fall Season!
This fall is shaping up to be a lively one.  Our town is seeing many more guests this season as people escape to our beautiful area to enjoy the mountains, in addition to second homeowners extending their stays. With so much activity in MV, our local businesses decided to stay open this fall.  To support our members and their guests with getting to our Village Center to enjoy lunch, dinner, hiking trails and activities, TMVOA is extending Dial-a-Ride service for the first time into the fall season with service from noon to 10pm.

Enjoy the Village and support our local businesses this fall.

La Pizzeria – Lunch (11-2), Dinner (5-9)
La Piazza Del Villaggio – Lunch (11-2), Dinner (5-9)
Poachers Pub – Daily (11-9), except closed on Sat
Telluride Coffee Co – Mon–Fri (8-5)
Tracks – Mon-Sat (11:30-7:30)
Shake N Dog – Daily (11-4)
Tomboy Tavern – Daily (4-5 bar/apps), Dinner (5-9)
Altezza – Daily/Dinner (5-9)
The Pick – Breakfast & Lunch (8-2)
Telluride Distillery – Daily (2-8)
Village Market – Daily (7am-9pm)
Lodging Open –Mountain Lodge, Peaks, Bear Creek Lodge

Dial-a-Ride Extended
We are extending the service 7-days a week from noon-10pm beginning tomorrow (Mon, 19th).  For the next few weeks, we will monitor ridership and extend further as warranted. To use Dial-a-Ride, you must use the App. If you do not have your code or have not set up your App account, please follow these steps.

1.    Get your code that we previously emailed to you (email was from tmvoa@downtownerapp.com). If you cannot locate this email, contact Heidi Stenhammer at heidi@tmvoa.org (please include your name and address of the property you own).
2.    Download the Mountain Village DAR App on your iPhone or Android phone.
3.    Enter your unique owner code in the App to confirm and set-up your account.

For more information about the App and its functions, visit the TMVOA website here.

Telluride Gondola closes for fall off-season Oct. 18; buses to run through Nov. 19

Gondola closes

This Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, will be the gondola’s last day of operation before closing for more than five weeks of required maintenance. The gondola will reopen for the winter season on Friday, November 20, 2020 and run through Sunday, April 4, 2021.

Each fall and spring the gondola, which connects Mountain Village and Telluride, closes for routine, required safety inspections and maintenance, and a free bus service is offered during this time as an alternative.

The Town of Mountain Village, which owns and operates the gondola, and the San Miguel Authority for Regional Transportation are once again partnering to offer free bus service between Mountain Village and Telluride while the gondola is closed. The bus schedule is available for download on our website and will be posted at all bus stops. 

Special Thanks to Katherine Warren

Southwest Airlines announces new flights to Miami, Palm Springs, and Montrose (Telluride)

Southwest Airlines announces new flights to Miami, Palm Springs, and Montrose (Telluride)

Southwest Airlines Co. today primed its winter flight schedule for seekers of sun and snow with service details for new destinations in Florida, California, and nestled in the Colorado Rockies.

The carrier announced new seasonal service to Montrose Regional Airport (Telluride) on the Western Slope of Colorado, begins Dec. 19, the same day as previously announced seasonal service to Steamboat Springs. Service to Miami and Palm Springs both will begin November 15.

New routes to Miami, Palm Springs, and Montrose (Telluride) now available on airline’s website. The number of seats are limited by days of week and market, from the first date of service through March 4, 2021, if booked by 11:59 p.m. Central Daylight Time on Oct. 15, 2020. Blackout dates apply.

Beginning Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, Southwest will offer nonstop service:

Miami

  • Miami to Tampa (three times daily in each direction),
  • Miami to Baltimore/Washington (four times daily in each direction),
  • Miami to Houston (Hobby) (four times daily in each direction), and
  • Miami to Chicago (Midway) (once daily in each direction).

Palm Springs

  • Palm Springs to Oakland(twice daily in each direction),
  • Palm Springs to Phoenix (three times daily in each direction), and
  • Palm Springs to Denver (once daily in each direction).

Beginning Saturday, Dec.19, 2020, and mirroring the flight schedule previously announced for Steamboat Springs (HDN), Southwest will operate new service seasonally through April 5, 2021:

  • Montrose (Telluride) to Denver (up to three times daily in each direction), and 
  • Montrose (Telluride) to Dallas (Love Field) (once daily on weekends in each direction).

Special Thanks  Harry S. Johnson

Colorado town ranked among "best small towns for adventure," according to USA Today

Special thanks to Spencer McKee

Autumn in Telluride Colorado - Gondola Photo Credit: Craig Zerbe (iStock).

Photo Credit: Craig Zerbe (iStock).

While it could be argued that many small towns around Colorado should be nationally recognized adventure hubs, there's one mountain town in the San Juans that's hard to beat.

According to USA Today's 2020 ranking of "best small towns for adventure," Telluride, Colorado is one spot that can't be skipped. Nestled between massive mountains and home to one of the country's best ski resorts, it's no surprise that this tiny town of a couple thousand residents earned a top 10 spot on the publication's annual ranking.

Spencer McKee overlooks the town of Telluride from the nearby ski slopes. Photo Credit: Stephen Martin.

Spencer McKee overlooks the Town of Telluride from the nearby ski slopes. Photo Credit: Stephen Martin.

What may come as a shock to those that have visited the Telluride area is that the remote mountain paradise barely made the cut, earning the 10th place ranking. It was bested by a number of other American towns, including Savanna, Illinois – which claimed the 4th place spot, in part, due to 60 miles of bike trails. A Telluride local would likely scoff at that number.

The USA Today report provides some insight into why Telluride was featured on the list, including that "no matter the season, there's always something to do outdoors in Telluride." The report goes on to list multiple activities the area is known for including skiing, ice climbing, mountain biking, paragliding, and the adrenaline-inducing via ferrata route.

Spencer McKee on the Via Ferrata Kimberly Saavedra

Spencer McKee on the Telluride Via Ferrata, a Telluride-area route that wraps around a cliff several hundred feet above the ground. Photo Credit: Kimberly Saavedra.

Telluride is no stranger to getting praise from USA Today. Last year, the town took the top spot on their list of "best small towns to visit" in the country. As far as the 2020 "best small towns for adventure" list goes, Beaufort, North Carolina was ranked number one.

Colorado State parks continue to see record crowds

100120-St. Parks Gold 1-CPT

Photo: Christopher Tomlinson/The Daily Sentinel; Article: Special thanks ALEX ZORN Alex.Zorn@gjsentinel.com

Fall colors are drawing more traffic to state parks after an already busy year, particularly in northwest Colorado.

Through the first eight months of the year, nearly 2.4 million people visited state parks in Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s northwest region. Through August last year, the visitor count was less than 2.1 million.

After April, the numbers were at about the same point for 2019 and 2020, but once summer hit, Coloradans headed out to the northwest parks in massive numbers.

From April to August, the northwest parks had 300,529 more visitors this year compared to last year.

Some of those parks include Highline Lake, Vega, Connected Lakes, Rifle Gap, Rifle Falls and Harvey Gap.

“In my conversations with state park managers, they, continuing with 2020, saw record visitation over the weekend,” said Randy Hampton, Colorado Parks and Wildlife northwest region spokesperson. “People are still going outside, and visitation continues to be high.”

He said it used to be that the parks would be crowded mostly during peak days like Labor Day and the opening day of rifle season.

“It used to be there were these moments where you knew you would be busy, but now we just see a constant churn with people outdoors. Maybe it’s just because people got told to stay inside for too long,” Hampton said.

“One of the cool things about Colorado is that you can cruise the highways on the weekend and have your breath taken away by the fall colors.”

Typically, the third Sunday of September every year is considered to be Colorado Day, with the leaves changing before the snows hit.

“It’s typically the third Sunday of September; it changes every year, but it’s affected by several factors, mostly temperatures,” Hampton said.

Fall colors generally begin with golden aspens at the highest elevations and narrow leaf cottonwoods in low-lying cold areas as early as late August, according to the San Juan National Forest Service.

Aspens account for 20% of Colorado forests and usually peak near the end of September to early October.

According to the fall foliage report from Sept. 30, Telluride to Ouray is around 60% and Pagosa Springs is closer to 50%.

The degree of coloring can also vary from tree to tree, depending on the leaves’ direct exposure to sunlight.

“Most people are familiar with the aspens, the most iconic, but it’s the lower elevations that get that amazing color in the oak brush when it goes through an orange and red phase,” Hampton said. “If you can get those rare areas of oak brush and aspen, you get the full rainbow of colors.”

David Boyd, spokesperson for the Bureau of Land Management and White River National Forest, was in Aspen last weekend and said it was peak sesaon in that area.

“It’s a major tourist thing for people all over the state to go leaf peeping,” he said.

Boyd said the fires had little impact on it because Hanging Lake and areas near the Grizzly Creek are not popular spots for that.

Colorado National Monument spokesperson Arlene Jackson said Ute Canyon is typically the best spot to catch the color change on the monument.

“It’s not like going up on the mesa. Ours are more small drainages where you have a few cottonwood trees that pop yellow compared to the red of the canyons,” she said. “You have to do a little more exploration and find those small pockets of colors is how I would describe a fall drive through the monument.”

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    Telski announces lift ticket prices - Telluride Ski Resort Skiing 2020/2021

    Advanced purchase required for day passes, ski school products

    Ski pass pricing

    Kids enjoy the slopes during Opening Day last year. Telski announced lift ticket prices this week. Resort officials will continue the discussion about the 2020-21 operating plan during today’s county meeting. (Planet file photo)

    While season passes have been on sale, Telski announced the lift ticket prices for the upcoming 2020-21 ski season this week, which will be available for purchase online at tellurideskiresort.com beginning Oct. 8. 

    Early season prices, which are effective Opening Day Nov. 26 through Dec. 15, are $140 for adults, $71 for children ages 6-12 and $104 for seniors ages 65-79. Regular season prices from Dec. 16 to Closing Day April 4 are $169, $96 and $147, respectively. The resort anticipates hosting the annual Donation Day Nov. 25, which benefits the Telluride Ski & Snowboard Club, snow conditions and COVID-19 restrictions permitting. 

    All lift tickets and ski school products must be purchased in advance online, as there will be no day-of purchases at the ticket window this season due to the coronavirus protocols. Ski school products can also be purchased online starting Oct. 8. 

    Carson Taylor, Telski’s director of skier services, explained that the resort has been focused on providing the loyalty discount for those who held season or multi-day passes and wish to renew before the upcoming season. With the discount, which ends today (Wednesday), a season pass is $1,500. Regular priced passes for this year are $1,750. 

    “We've been selling passes for three weeks now and demand remains strong. The first phase of the pass sale has focused solely on last winter's season pass and multi-day card holders, of which the reception to having extended the loyalty discount or credit towards the purchase of a pass this winter has been very positive,” he said. “The product sales team has made some adjustments and are focusing on pre-fulfillment as it pertains to the purchase of any winter product, whether it be a season pass, T Card, lift ticket or ski school product. The goal is to reactivate season pass cards for those whom still have them or advance print and mail to as many guests as possible prior to their arrival.”

    Telski officials have previously said that there will be no reservation system for pass or multi-day holders this year like Vail Resorts has implemented, though requiring advanced purchases for lift tickets ski school products helps the resort as it operates during a global pandemic, Taylor added. 

    “Currently, we are not strategizing to deploy an advanced reservation system for season pass and multi-day card holders,” he said. “However, other traditional winter products like lift tickets and ski school will require advanced reservations. Requiring reservations for lift ticket and ski school products provides for inherent control features in the form of capacity management if or when necessary.”

    The resort has been proactive in how it plans to have a successful season during an unprecedented pandemic, including expanding on-mountain dining outdoors in temporary tents that can withstand the weather.  

    “We're all more or less being forced to navigate these uncharted waters and subsequently do not have clarity on how certain changes to our day-to-day operations will impact our staff and guests' experience,” Taylor said. “Our primary goal remains to make decisions that provide a healthy and safe environment for all, so we can ride the chairlifts and ski down the mountain.”

    Jeff Proteau, Telski’s vice president of mountain operation and planning, CFO Tom Richards, director of risk manager Matt Thomas and Chad Horning, who is the son of majority owner Chuck Horning, were part of last week’s San Miguel Board of County Commissioners virtual meeting in discussing the resort’s operating plans for the upcoming season. The talk continues during today’s county meeting, starting at 12:45 p.m. The agenda item is budgeted for an hour. For a complete schedule of the meeting, visit sanmiguelcountyco.gov.

    Special Thanks Telluride Daily Planet

    Airbnb Releases Ranking of Countries and U.S. States With the Cleanest Listings: Telluride #1

     

    The U.S. listings that made the rankings are mostly on the west coast.

    Special thanks to CAILEY RIZZO 

    Airbnb released a ranking of countries and states that have the most listings now certified with its Enhanced Cleaning program, which was sparked by the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Months after Airbnb released a new set of health protocols and Enhanced Cleaning training for hosts more than 1.2 million in over 220 countries have complied. The training certification process teaches hosts about new CDC sanitation standards, in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Listings which have opted into the Enhanced Clean program see, on average, about three times more bookings than those which do not.

    “Cleanliness and safety are top of mind for our hosts and guests,” said in a press release on Thursday. “In the last weeks, hosts have embraced and adopted our new rigorous guidelines, with thousands more attesting to the Enhanced Cleaning protocol every day. This effort shows how our hosts are dedicated to the highest standards and committed to keeping their guests and communities safe.”

    Airbnb rental

    COURTESY OF AIRBNB

    As hosts complete the certification, Airbnb has been keeping track of the listings that became certified this summer. Of the top 10 locations in the world where Enhanced Cleaning is implemented the most, nine are in the U.S.

    The U.S. listings, which are mostly in the western part of the country, are:

    • Telluride, Colorado
    • Destin, Florida
    • Walla Walla, Washington
    • Panama City Beach, Florida
    • Oregon Coast
    • Peak District, Hope Valley, UK
    • Grant County, Washington
    • Big Sky, Montana
    • Mammoth Lakes, California
    • Winter Park, Colorado

    On a global scale, about half of the top 10 Enhanced Clean countries on Airbnb are:

    • United States
    • France
    • United Kingdom
    • Spain
    • Italy
    • Mexico
    • Brazil
    • Australia
    • Canada
    • Greece

    The ranking shouldn’t be read as a metric for which home-stays are cleanest, as the list is affected by several factors. For example, the ranking is skewed by the availability of Airbnbs in each country. When Airbnb adjusted the metrics for total listings available in each country, Barbados, Korea, Japan, and Portugal also became top-ranking Enhanced Clean locations.

    The numbers also don’t necessarily reflect which countries have the cleanest Airbnb listings, only which hosts have received COVID-19 cleaning training.

    Recently, Airbnb launched a partnership with the National Park Foundation to encourage travelers to book a rental close to a national park.

    Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. When in a new city, she's usually out to discover under-the-radar art, culture, and secondhand stores. No matter her location, you can find her on Twitteron Instagram or at caileyrizzo.com.

    Lodging capacity increasing to 75 percent in Telluride, CO

    Current caseload, less people coming to the area factored into decision

    covid

    A look at the local cases, as of Thursday afternoon. (Courtesy image)

    After a summer season that limited lodging occupancy to 50 percent, San Miguel County officials approved an increase in capacity to 75 percent, which will go into effect Oct. 1

    Officials, who heard county public health director Grace Franklin’s six-month COVID-19 report Wednesday, took into account the maintained case levels and “anticipated decrease in drive traffic and camping in the coming months” in making the decision, according to a county news release.

    Occupancy will be measured on a monthly basis. With the updated capacity, single units and self-managed properties like Airbnb and VRBO) can rent each unit 23 days per month, and 21 days in February.

    “The lodgers have worked diligently to comply with public health orders, and implement best practices for our guests and community,” Lodging Oversight Committee Chair Larry Mallard said in the release. “We are grateful to the Public Health Department for working together to increase capacity and are confident that we can maintain metrics with continued safety protocols.”

    Michael Martelon, Telluride Tourism Board president and CEO, explained occupancy for October is currently up compared to last year, though that doesn’t mean more people are visiting the area but instead staying longer.

    “At this point in time, October paid occupancy is just north of 12 percent, compared to last year's 10 percent; an increase that correlates with the average length of stay increasing from three to four nights year-over-year,” he said. “Summer overall has the same average-length-of-stay growth. October paid occupancy currently opens with a strong weekend and continues a downward trend through Halloween, with slight upticks on weekends until the middle of the month.” 

    Similarly, owner stays mimic the pattern throughout the month.

    “Current data shows owner stays starting the month at 19 percent occupancy and finishing at 9 percent, mirroring at least for now, the reduction in the paid segment,” he added.

    Overall, paid and owner occupancy for the month of October is currently 26 percent compared to 22.3 percent last year.

    A new trend that has occurred during the pandemic is the booking window, the days from a guest booking to a guest arrival, has shrunk, Martelon pointed out.

    “Summer booking windows have decreased by 60 percent year-over-year from a summer average last year of 80 days to 31 days this summer. The festival booking patterns and market behavior in a pandemic have influenced this metric,” he explained. “That’s a long way of saying that, so far anyway, consumers have a newfound fondness for the outdoors, which produces an elevated number of stays booked seven to 10 days in advance, rather than 80-124 days.”

    While tourism has remained healthy given the uncertainty of the coronavirus, the county caseload indicates that both locals and visitors have taken precautions seriously.

    During the week, officials announced one new positive case from test results Sept. 16-18, but the 17-year-old male isn’t a resident so he is not counted toward the overall case count, leaving it at 90, as of press time Thursday afternoon. The male is symptomatic and in isolation; close contacts have been notified. There were no new positive cases announced Tuesday from test results this week. The next update will be today (Friday).

    Entering flu season, it is important to get tested, especially if experiencing coronavirus symptoms, since illnesses this time of the year may have similar traits. Testing “is highly encouraged for individuals who are symptomatic, and/or who are a close contact of a confirmed positive case,” according to a Tuesday county news release.

    “Testing plays an essential role in managing COVID, and we want to provide as many resources as possible from education to testing capability,” Franklin said. “There should be no barriers to getting tested if a person is symptomatic or was in close contact with a known positive.”

    Testing by appointment is available at the Telluride Regional Medical Center and Uncompahgre Medical Center. Individuals must have an order from a health care provider or public health to get tested. Mesa County Public Health is offering free drive-up testing to all, including out of county residents, at the Mesa County Fairgrounds Tuesday through Saturday every week from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. More information can be found at health.mesacounty.us/covidtesting.

    For more county information, visit covid-19-sanmiguelco.hub.arcgis.com.

    Special Thanks so Justin Criado, Telluride Daily Planet

    Town and TMVOA partnering to expand dining options

    Winter Dining Rendering

     

    Mountain Village and TMVOA partnering on winter plaza dining enhancements

    As communities across the country have pivoted countless times this year to respond locally to the widespread effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Town of Mountain Village and Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association (TMVOA) are partnering to offer a unique solution to help support restaurants this winter.

    At each of their monthly regular meetings last week, both the Mountain Village Town Council and TMVOA board of directors approved to split funding to install private dining cabins made from refurbished gondola cars and yurts on Mountain Village’s plazas to offer guests and residents space to socially distance while still patronizing Mountain Village’s restaurants and bars. The Town is also currently pursuing various grant opportunities from the state to contribute toward this effort.

    The winter enhancement plans will also assist Mountain Village restaurants with the rental of temporary weatherproof structures to be placed within current dining patios adjacent to restaurants and offer matching grant funds for outdoor heating elements to further support outside dining.

    LEARN MORE

    Special Thanks to Katherine Warren