3 Restaurants Heating Up Telluride's Dining Scene

Wood Ear
Wood Ear's Asian-with-a-twist dishes are (almost) too pretty to eat. Photo courtesy of Michael Schaffer

Timber Room, Wood Ear Whiskey Lounge & Noodle Bar, and LittleHouse offer a trio of delicious reasons to visit the southwest Colorado town.

Special Thanks  

You’ll never go hungry in Colorado’s mountain towns—picturesque locales as well known for their tasty cuisine as their outdoor pursuits. In Telluride, diners are already hard-pressed to cross every eatery off their lists, from Eliza Gavin’s beautiful, fine-fining plates at 221 South Oak to adventure-fueling breakfast sandwiches at the Butcher & the Baker to some of the state’s best Thai cuisine at Siam. On a recent road trip through southwestern Colorado, we discovered three newer spots to add to that lineup.

Timber Room

The Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection in Mountain Village recently underwent some major renovations (by that, we mean $10 million in upgrades), which included reimagining its lobby bar and après lounge. Timber Room opened in mid-January with seating designed for romantic evenings and couches for lounging with friends, as well as plenty of outdoor space. Executive chef Bill Greenwood’s menu is focused on shareable items, such as deviled eggs (our favorite was topped with house-cured char and dill) and local elk tartare. If you’re really hungry after a day on the slopes, we suggest splurging on one of the five “Feast” boards. The 20-ounce Rocky Mountain elk loin arrived perfectly cooked, topped with a huckleberry jus that cut the gaminess, and paired with a tangle of roasted veggies. It all sat atop on a cutting board made of native hardwoods by local woodworker Matt Downer.

The true highlight, though, is the cocktails. The Botanica Sour is an easy-sipping blend of gin, egg white, toasted coriander, and clementine. The New Fashioned is built around the slow-drip, house-infused spiced bourbon—inspired by a Japanese coffee brewing method. You can watch the hours-long process yourself as Buffalo Trace Bourbon trickles through a spice blend (cloves, cinnamon, brown sugar, star anise, and more) and into a beaker on the wood bar. The spirit is then blended with house-made bitters for a well-balanced, boozy tipple. 568 Mountain Village Blvd., Mountain Village

Timber Room
The made-for-sharing Wagyu, dry-aged, bone-in ribeye at Timber Room. Photo courtesy of Timber Room

Wood Ear Whiskey Lounge & Noodle Bar

Friends Matthew Arnold (managing partner) and Kevin Bush (chef) opened this modern ramen bar in June 2018, but like most restaurateurs, they’ve made some changes in response to the pandemic. Currently, the subterranean spot is focusing on a tight selection of dishes that work well to-go. Don’t expect classic Asian eats. The food is a compilation of fun twists on American classics (like a wasabi Caesar salad and Buffalo cauliflower made with ginger and Sambal, a chile paste) and unexpected takes on Asian bites. Arnold and Bush both hail from Texas, and smoked brisket and pork shoulder can be found in three of the ramen options. We suggest the Hill Country, which blends the brisket with a rich, smoked bone broth, grilled corn, pickled carrots, and, of course, wood ear mushrooms. Another solid pick is the cold forbidden noodle salad, which tops black rice noodles, lotus root chips, watermelon radishes, and other vegetables with an addicting tahini-sesame dressing.

Behind the long, wooden bar—carved in the 1860s, you can still spot bullet holes in its frame, a reminder of the venue’s history as a brothel and saloon—diners will find about 100 whiskeys, with a focus on Japanese varieties, and 50 mezcals and tequilas. General manager Kent Barrow’s extensive cocktail list is equally playful, spinning smoky flavors or Japanese spirits into familiar tipples. Our favorite is the Samurai’s Sword, a twist on the well-known Penicillin drink that blends Hibiki Japanese Harmony whisky, lemon, honey, and ginger.

Arnold is in the process of acquiring a new barbecue pit and expects Wood Ear to start smoking additional meats and even selling them directly to customers in the coming months. Look for patio seating to open this summer. 135 E. Colorado Ave., Telluride

The deli and pastry case at LittleHouse. Photo by author


Step just off East Colorado Avenue, Telluride’s main drag, and you may find yourself wandering into LittleHouse. You’ll be glad you took the less-trodden path. The European deli meets bakery meets happy hour hangout is welcoming both because of its indoor-outdoor ambience courtesy of a garage door and the delectable scents that waft out of said door. Launched by chefs Erich Owen and Ross Martin—the team behind the National—in December, LittleHouse is a casual spot, but the food from executive chef Will Nolan is thoughtful and scratch-made.

Choose your own adventure, whether that’s grabbing a cup of a daily rotating soup or a cold-case salad to-go; sitting down for a falafel sub amped up with harissa aïoli (one of seven sandwiches on the menu); or cutting into crispy skin salmon for dinner with a glass of wine. Don’t forget to order a house-made sweet to cap off your meal; the Swiss chocolate cake is a staff favorite. 219 W. Pacific Ave., Telluride



Yesterday, several Colorado ski areas closed for the season, including: Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, Crested Butte, Monarch, Powderhorn, Sunlight, Telluride and Wolf Creek. Here are the closing dates for the ski resorts remaining open (they could change):

  • Arapahoe Basin: April 30
  • Aspen Mountain: April 18
  • Beaver Creek: April 11
  • Breckenridge: May 31
  • Ski Cooper: April 18
  • Copper Mountain: April 25
  • Echo Mountain: March 28
  • Eldora: April 15
  • Keystone: April 11
  • Loveland: April 11
  • Purgatory: April 18
  • Silverton: April 18
  • Snowmass: April 25
  • Steamboat: April 11
  • Vail: April 18
  • Winter Park: April 25


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    Four Seasons hotel approved in Telluride, Mountain Village CO

    TMVOA sells property near gondola station for $9 million

    • Special Thanks Justin Criado, Telluride Daily Planet Editor

    Lot 161 CR

    An aerial view of Lot 161C-R near the gondola station in Mountain Village. (Courtesy image)

    The Four Seasons, an internationally recognized luxury hotel and resort brand, is coming to Mountain Village, at least that’s the plan, as the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association (TMVOA) Board of Directors unanimously approved a purchase-sale agreement with developers Merrimac Ventures during its regular meeting Wednesday afternoon.

    “We are now underway with the development of Lot 161 with a world-class developer, a substantial financial partner, and we look forward to moving through that process,” board chair Jim Royer said.

    Board directors who work at Telski — Chad Horning, Jeff Proteau and Tom Richards — did not participate in the vote. Recently appointed director Abbott Smith recused himself due to “family ties” with one of the developers.

    The 2.8 acre property, Lot 161C-R, sits to the northeast of the gondola transfer station abutting the Village Core. TMVOA purchased the lot for $8.1 million in 2015 and sold it to Merrimac for $9 million — a price that reflects the money TMVOA spent on legal fees during litigation with nearby Ridge property owners since the initial purchase.

    “We went through a long and structured period of negotiating a settlement so that we can get all of the confusion expunged from the title of Lot 161,” Royer said, calling the process a “Gordian knot.”

    Merrimac Ventures President and CEO Dev Motwani plans to partner with Nadim Ashi of Fort Partners. The two are currently co-developing Florida’s Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale. Ashi also owns the Four Seasons Palm Beach and the Four Seasons Surf Club.

    “We are excited to move forward with this project and bring an amazing luxury resort and residences to Mountain Village and the Telluride market. We have spent the last few years studying the market and truly believe this is the best ski town in North America,” Dev Motwani said in a TMVOA news release.

    TMVOA’s Board-of-Managers for CO Lot negotiated the purchase-sale agreement with Motwani over the past two years.

    “The entire Board-of-Managers are extremely pleased to have secured the PSA with such a qualified and experienced developer” board members Royer, Tim Kunda and David Mehl said in the release.

    The hotel will also include a restaurant and spa “consistent with the standards of a luxury hotel brand,” TMVOA explained. Per the agreement with the Ridge residents, which was signed in 2019, there will also be 36 parking spaces, access to the gondola, and an area for loading and unloading materials on the property.

    “Neither side got what they wanted; both sides got what they needed,” Royer said Wednesday.

    If construction of a Four Seasons is not feasible for whatever reason, TMVOA has a back-up list of similar companies, which has not been shared publicly, that it would choose from.

    “I can assure you that all of the alternative brands are five-star internationally recognized hotels, but the primary purpose of the effort will be to develop a Four Seasons,” Royer said.

    The land has been considered well suited for a luxury hotel, and feedback received during a town planning program, which included Mountain Village, Telski and TMVOA, supported the idea, Royer said.

    “In that planning program it became overwhelmingly apparent that residents, owners in Mountain Village, were interested in having a development of a flagship hotel or internationally recognized boutique hotel on that site, so TMVOA felt comfortable in pursuing the development and sale of that property,” he said.

    No timeline for construction or completion has been publicly announced yet, though the hotel, along with its amenities, will benefit the area, Royer added.

    “We expect the final product to be a very important addition to the Mountain Village and Telluride community,” he said.

    TMVOA President and CEO Anton Benitez said more details will be shared whenever they’re available.

    In other development news, Benitez explained that the organization is looking to build affordable housing on lots in the Timberview area of the Meadows and Lawson Hill. Both potential projects are in the preliminary stages, but board members agreed more regional affordable housing is crucial.

    Similarly, Horning shared an update regarding Telski’s ongoing affordable housing plans.

    “The ski company is taking a little bit more of leadership role in working through the workforce housing issues in the region. We’ve begun discussions with the Town of Telluride, a little bit with the Town of Mountain Village and the Forest Service on sites that are in all of those jurisdictions, and we’re working diligently on those,” he said. “The issues around employee housing are acute. We have real quality of life issues. We’re getting into mental health issues. … It’s just a big priority of mine personally that we be a leader to figure that out. I think TMVOA can be a leader in that as well.

    Director John Volponi applauded the efforts, especially since the projects would create more housing options in the Mountain Village and Telluride areas.

    “It’s a hugely crucial issue not only for attracting but retaining employees. I’m glad to hear we’re working on some options closer to Telluride and Mountain Village because I don’t believe that the solution is building housing that is 45 minutes to two hours away. That certainly impacts their quality of life,” he said.

    Also during Wednesday’s meeting, Horning was named the new board chair in receiving votes from Proteau, Richards and Smith. Royer, who became chair after Bill Jensen’s departure in August, will now be vice chair, replacing Proteau.

    Telluride Mountainfilm moving outside

    Documentary film fest to host small, in-person festival gatherings

    • Special Thanks Bria Light, Telluride Daily Planet Staff Reporter


    While participants can expect COVID-19-related precautions, Mountainfilm fans can look forward to some in-person events for this year's festival. Pictured here, a group of students spoke with Hollywood director Tom Shadyac during a director talk at the 2019 festival. (Planet file photo)

    For many film lovers in the Telluride area and beyond, the word “Mountainfilm” conjures not only images of intro reels in darkened theaters, ice cream on Main Street and stars sparkling over the big screen in Town Park, but also a unique combination of experiences: inspiration welling up during talks and films, the expansion of one’s mind while diving into new topics and the feeling of connecting with others.

    Last year, at the early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it came as a blow to thousands when the virus forced the cancelation of the in-person festival, an annual source of inspiration and herald of the summer season in Telluride. This year, Mountainfilm festival fans can celebrate a step towards normalcy. Earlier this month, festival organizers announced plans to hold a scaled-down version of the in-person festival, along with another year of robust online programming for those who wish to stay home or cannot attend.

    “We’ve got some pretty incredible guests in the works coming to give presentations or Q&As following their films,” marketing manager Cara Wilder said. “Mountainfilm has a way of lighting that fire in our souls — something we could all use a little more of after the last year. We are hoping by being able to have a couple of small, in-person screenings that we can reignite that energy, even if it looks a little different.”

    This year’s in-person offerings will not match those rosy memories of large crowds of mingling festivalgoers, and festival organizers want to be clear that “because of the pandemic, this festival will look much different than previous Mountainfilm festivals,” as stated on thewebsite. Events this year will occur primarily in outdoor venues, guests can expect smaller-than-usual capacity limitations and ticketing will be done via an online reservation system. All events will follow state and local requirements for COVID-19 precautions, and events may be subject to last minute changes or cancelation, if necessary.

    That said, organizers are “working to scratch that itch with a small, in-person event” to the degree public health regulations allow, while maintaining a safe environment for festival participants. In January, Mountainfilm announced its 2021 guest director, mountaineer and local Telluride resident Hilaree Nelson, who herself has been the subject of many films screened at Mountainfilm, as well as a longtime festival attendee. Nelson, in addition to her impressive achievements in mountaineering that include the first ski descent of Lhotse, is also an activist who has worked with Protect Our Winters, a nonprofit to protect wild spaces.

    “Having lived in Telluride for nearly 20 years, Mountainfilm means the world to me,” Nelson said in a news release announcing her guest directorship. “It marks the transition from winter to summer and, like the natural swing of the seasons, the festival is about growth, it’s about being inspired: a community seeking to change the world for the better through shared ideas and exploration. It’s a time when we come out of our winter shells and engage with people through films, on the sidewalk and on the trails.”

    This year, in-person festivalgoers will have the opportunity to connect once more, especially in outdoor spaces and venues. Due to the potential for change to the planned 2021 in-person festival, organizers encourage those interested in participating in this year’s Mountainfilm festival to strongly consider Mountainfilm Online as an option, which still provides the sense of awe and connection through watching eye-opening films with loved ones from the safety of home. The online festival will run for seven days, with passes currently on sale for $150 for an individual or $250 for a household pass.

    As organizers stated earlier in March: “We get it. You miss Mountainfilm and we miss you.” This May, whether attending an in-person festival event over Memorial Day weekend from May 28-31 or enjoying the online festival from May 31 to June 6, fans of the documentary film festival will have options to watch films, connect and embrace new ideas.

    “We are so stoked to have the opportunity to bring some semblance of Mountainfilm to Telluride, even in this scaled back version,” Wilder said. “While the in-person festival is exciting, and we know folks are craving those experiences, we do recommend the online festival as the best opportunity to see most of what Mountainfilm 2021 has to offer.”

    Where to Eat, Stay, and Play in Telluride, Colorado

    This artsy mountain town is perfect for a nature-filled weekend. 

    Telluride Colorado

    With its pristine snow and quirky mountain town vibe, it’s no secret that Telluride is a cold-weather paradise for downhill skiing and other winter adventures. But it’s when the temperatures start to climb that this historic mining community in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains really shines.

    From beloved bluegrass and film festivals to vibrant wildflower hikes, Telluride comes alive in the spring and summer. The town is home to a robust art scene, yet its location, some 330 miles southwest of the hustle and bustle of Denver makes it the perfect place to recharge.

    Here, you’ll find a mix of creatives, avid outdoorspeople, naturalists, successful retirees, celebrities (Oprah Winfrey is among those who reportedly own second homes here), and just about everyone in between. Despite its popularity, Telluride has (thankfully) also managed to hang onto its free-spirited character throughout the years and remains a favorite, down-to-Earth Colorado destination.

    Here’s how to plan a weekend trip to Telluride—and what to do once you arrive. Before you head out, familiarize yourself with Telluride’s COVID-19 protocols and read up on the latest state coronavirus restrictions and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

    Getting there

    Fly into Telluride Regional Airport, just six miles west of downtown, by way of Denver International Airport (which you can reach with non-stop flights from hundreds of cities).

    You can also fly into Montrose Regional Airport, located about an hour away, which offers non-stop flights from Denver, ChicagoHouston, Phoenix, and Dallas during the summer. From the Montrose airport, hop onto a shuttle into town—Telluride is just eight blocks wide and 12 blocks long, so you can walk everywhere after you arrive. If you’re planning to explore further afield, you can also rent a car.

    Another option: Fly into Denver or Salt Lake City, rent a car or an RV, and make the scenic drive to Telluride; both cities are about six hours away by car.

    pDowntown Telluride delivers on charming mountain town vibes.p

    Downtown Telluride delivers on charming mountain town vibes.

     Photography by Deb Snelson

    What to do

    Telluride is the place to be in the spring and summer, thanks to its plentiful outdoor activities—mountain biking, rock climbing, golfing, road cycling, kayaking, 4X4 off-roading and ATVing, rafting, and camping, just to name a few—all set against a picturesque backdrop of rugged mountain peaks, alpine lakes, streams, and rolling meadows. Whether you’re a casual adventurer or an extreme athlete, the experienced guides at outfitters like San Juan Outdoor Adventures and Telluride Outside can help you get started.

    A popular, easy-going hike that will help you acclimate to the altitude (Telluride sits at 8,750 feet above sea level) is the 2.4-mile roundtrip trek to Bridal Veil Falls, the tallest of their kind in Colorado. For a more challenging, full-day excursion, hike the Sneffels Highline Trail, a difficult 12.4-mile out-and-back route with gorgeous wildflowers that starts at the edge of downtown.

    Tap a guide, like those at Mountain Trip, to complete Telluride’s via ferrata route. The via ferrata, which means “iron way” in Italian, involves hiking, climbing, and mountaineering across two miles of steel rungs drilled into a sheer cliff face. You’ll wear a helmet and climbing harness that’s attached to a steel cable most of the time, and the via ferrata doesn’t require any technical climbing experience—but at 600 feet above the forest floor, it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.

    In addition to outdoor recreation, downtown Telluride is home to art galleries and independently owned shops (and some big-name brands like Burton and Patagonia), perfect for an afternoon of browsing outdoor gear, books, home decor, and more. Scope out the massive selection of hanging wall hooks at the aptly named shop Hook, then find your newest read at Between the Covers Bookstore next door. For leather bags, belts, wallets, and gifts, stop at Crossbow Leather, where owner/designer Macy Pryor handcrafts each item in her on-site workshop.

    Book a guided walking tour, led by a historian from the Telluride Historical Museum, to learn about Telluride’s architecture (which runs the gamut from elegant Victorians to mining shacks) and rich history, starting with the Ute tribes who spent their summers along the San Miguel River through to the rowdy fortune-seekers who flocked here during the silver-mining boom. Telluride’s downtown core has been a National Historic Landmark District since 1964.

    Where to eat

    Start the day with a pastry and a “Day Maker” sandwich (eggs, white cheddar, breakfast sausage, pepper jam, and arugula on an English muffin) from The Butcher & the Baker. For lunch, you can’t beat the tacos at Gnarly Tacos, like the Korean barbecue or the braised pork belly (it’s best to go early in the day, too, since this place usually has a line out the door come dinner time).

    Enjoy dinner under the stars on the patio of 221 South Oak, an upscale restaurant with a full vegetarian menu featuring thoughtful dishes like house-made potato gnocchi with hazelnut chili oil, and grilled maitake with goji berry and walnut jam. (You might recognize owner/chef Eliza Gavin from her appearances on “Top Chef” and “Beat Bobby Flay.”)

    Grab a cocktail at the rooftop bar of the historic New Sheridan Hotel, which has been hosting travelers since 1891. (You can dine al fresco throughout Telluride, as many bars and restaurants are offering extra COVID-safe outdoor seating on patios, sidewalks, and parklets this year.)

    For a totally unique experience, grab a bite from one of the dozen restaurants at the base of Telluride Ski Resort, then walk over to your own private repurposed ski gondola at The Cabins at Mountain Village to enjoy your food.

    No visit to Colorado is complete without a flight of tasty craft beers, so head to Stronghouse Brew Pub, which opened last year inside a historic stone building, or Smuggler Union Restaurant and Brewery, with a blonde ale that won a bronze medal at the Great American Beer Festival.

    Madeline Hotel Residences Auberge Resorts Collection

    Bed down at the cozy Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection.

     Courtesy Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection

    Where to stay

    The Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection, located at the base of Telluride Ski Resort, is an ideal basecamp for your trip. This updated 83-room alpine retreat, which also features 71 residences, is surrounded on three sides by the San Juan Mountains and offers stunning views from its 4,000-square-foot outdoor terrace, complete with a heated pool, massive hot tubs, fire pits, and al fresco lounge. A free gondola ride from the ski area gets you to downtown Telluride in just 13 minutes.

    In downtown Telluride, the boutique 21-room Hotel Columbia is a quick walk to shops, restaurants, the gondola, and the scenic San Miguel River Trail. The hotel is dog-friendly and offers an array of light-filled rooms, suites, and penthouses. Led by chef/owner Chad Scothorn, the award-winning, on-site Cosmopolitan restaurant—known locally as "The Cosmo"—offers an impressive wine list and New American cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients. Be sure to ask for a table in the spacious new "Cosmo Backyard" outdoor space across the street.

    Telluride Venture Accelerator launches new phase


    • Special thanks to the Montrose Daily Press

    The Telluride Venture Accelerator, an initiative of the Telluride Foundation, is launching a new chapter and rebranding as Telluride Venture Network (TVN).

    Launched in 2013, the Telluride Venture Network is a nationally recognized, award-winning entrepreneurial ecosystem that supports new, innovative, and growing businesses. TVN is rooted in the history of innovation for which the Telluride region is known, including Nicolai Tesla’s first AC power transmission to power the mines, as well as the creation of a world class ski resort. TVN’s mission to diversify the regional economy has resulted in 50 graduating companies, dozens of new jobs, millions of investment dollars raised, 1,000-plus hours of mentoring, and the birth of a high-impact efforts such as the Telluride Venture Fund (TVF), a regional loan fund, and an active co-working space.

    “We are all incredibly excited about TVN’s next phase” said TVN founder and Telluride board member Jesse Johnson. “This is a world-class organization with one of the strongest mentor communities in the country. TVN has been and will continue to be on the forefront of innovation and finding solutions, all from our beautiful outpost in the mountains.”

    Over the years, TVN has surfaced a large local business mentor and investor network, which the Telluride Foundation wants to leverage as a powerful force to help expand the entrepreneurial ecosystem, support local business, and create an intellectually stimulating community for all its members.

    Having a mentor can change the playing field for a small business. Research has shown that small businesses that receive mentoring early in the development of their business achieve higher revenues and increased business growth. A 2014 survey by the UPS Store found that 70 percent of small businesses that received mentoring survived more than five years – double the survival rate of non-mentored businesses. The same survey found that 88 percent of business owners with a mentor said that having one was invaluable.

    While TVN will develop a mentor and investor network to support entrepreneurs graduating from TVN or growing ventures in the region, it will also continue its well-established programs, including its focus on bootcamps, 10-day intensive sessions guided by seasoned mentors.

    Bootcamp focus areas have included mining solutions, plastic alternatives, and growth and fundraising. In 2021, thanks to a generous supporter, TVN will be introducing a new, dedicated bootcamp focused on immigrant communities.

    TVN serves as the Telluride Foundation’s signature program for entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, startups, and related activities in the region and is an advocate for entrepreneurship and remote-worker resources at the town, county, and state level. TVN is just one of the Telluride Foundation’s programs to support an entrepreneurial ecosystem, which includes the Telluride Venture Fund, an early-stage investment fund, and the Telluride Regional Loan Fund, a $2 million working capital loan fund that supports rural business startup, growth, and job creation and retention in southwest Colorado.

    The foundation has been recognized nationally for its innovation efforts as a community foundation, including being a founding member of the national Entrepreneurship Funders Network, along with the Kauffman, Blackstone, and Lemelson foundations, as well as having a board member role on Startup Colorado.

    Leading these innovation efforts will be Bonnie Watson, managing director of the Telluride Venture Network. Watson came to the foundation in 2018 as its Southwest Capital & Transaction adviser to manage the Telluride Venture Fund and Telluride Regional Loan Fund, as well as focus on leveraging the Opportunity Zone designation of rural communities in the region.

    Watson has been working directly with startup companies and small businesses in the region to create and coordinate new, as well as existing, sources of capital to help fund various business ventures. Now, Watson will expand her role to manage TVN’s restructuring.

    Watson is excited for this new chapter in TVN’s journey. “This new chapter will help support entrepreneurs through accelerator bootcamps and capital (investors, loan fund, venture fund) but will heavily focus on leveraging our incredible team of mentors to build mentor teams for each entrepreneur,” she said. “The journey of entrepreneurship is marked by many uncertainties, but a mentor team can validate an idea and give vision to make a startup successful.”

    As a Colorado native who grew up in Evergreen, Watson graduated from Colorado Mesa University with her B.A. in finance and later received her master’s degree in finance from Colorado State University. Previously, Watson worked in the traditional financing industry as a portfolio lender and taught finance at Colorado Mesa University. She and her husband are also owners of Alt Space (a co-working space) in Telluride.

    Julie Penner will also be continuing to work with TVN as its Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR). Julie has served as the EIR for TVN for the past two years, facilitating the curriculum around theme-based bootcamps for startups working on plastics reduction, investment readiness, local food products, and mining reclamation technologies.

    Penner has a deep background in running accelerators and coaching early-stage companies, and she is, now, leveraging this experience and knowledge to help companies in Telluride’s business ecosystem.

    Penner comes to TVN after five years working at Techstars, a premier global accelerator, and more recently she spent a year as a venture partner for an early stage venture capital fund. She holds a JD/MBA from University of Colorado with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and a BA from Brown University. She began her career at Zeo, a Boston-based consumer hardware startup.

    “I’ve witnessed a lot of great entrepreneurs moving to the Western Slope of Colorado over the last year,” said Penner. “I’m excited to expand TVN to incorporate the best mentors and entrepreneurs in our region, spurring growth in this area. It’s a very exciting time to be based in Colorado if you’re building a company.”

    The Telluride Foundation is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that makes grants to nonprofits, owns, and operates programs that meet emerging and unmet community needs, and makes investments. For more information, visit

    What will Summer Look Like in Telluride?

    What will summer look like?

    • Special Thanks Michael Martelon, Telluride Tourism Board

    It’s hard to believe that it was a year ago when our lives changed forever as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

    Since then, as a community we have repeatedly risen to meet the many challenges the virus has wrought and now, with a fairly successful (but somewhat challenging) winter almost a wrap, we can see the finishing line of April 4 and offseason.

    With that in mind, we at the Telluride Tourism Board, alongside local partners and in conjunction with the trio of local governments, are now turning our attention to summer.

    Let’s begin first with how we think the summer of 2021 will look.

    Even as an increasing amount of the population gets vaccinated, Americans look set to shun international travel and city getaways for a little while longer, and at the same time embrace the outdoors and outdoor recreation. They also look likely to drive instead of fly.

    Accordingly, it seems probable that Telluride and Mountain Village, like other mountain towns across the West, will be popular just like last summer.

    Of paramount importance to the tourism board, then, is continuing to act as a destination management organization, a posture that emphasizes protecting our town, our natural surroundings, and our identity and way of life.

    What exactly does this mean?

    First, it means an intensification of internal marketing and education — in other words, initiatives that are geared to visitors who are already here — on coronavirus safety, trails etiquette and clean-up, the importance of geotagging responsibly, and respecting the environment.

    In this regard, we at the tourism board have partnered with the Telluride Mountain Club (on trails etiquette and clean-up days), the Telluride Ecology Commission and Mountain Village Green Team (respecting the environment) and others.

    In addition, we welcome moves by the local governments to begin preparations now for communications, arrangements and infrastructure to make summer work.

    At recent work sessions, Telluride Town Council continued to mull a revised outdoor dining plan that does not entail the closing of Main Street. Sure sounds like a good move, as it should prevent the traffic-flow issues that dogged our neighborhoods last summer.

    Town council is also working on initiatives to ease pedestrian traffic flow, most especially on Colorado Avenue. These include encouraging use of Telluride Town Park and existing pocket parks like Elks Park and Spruce Park, identifying spaces alongside the river for picnicking, and the installation of more picnic tables and benches around town.

    We are also looking at the possibility of continuing the Telluride ambassador program, whereby ambassadors can educate and direct people on COVID-related protocols and make activity suggestions designed to send people away from pinch points.

    We plan to direct many visitors to Mountain Village to take advantage of the Telski’s bike park and new canopy tours, the cool outdoor dining scene, and common consumption area as well. Mountain Village Town Council has put in place initiatives to once again make Mountain Village a fun and pleasant place to be in the summer.

    Last, we continue to make ourselves available to the arts and festivals communities as they sit down to their respective drawing boards to devise a vibrant but safe summertime arts scene.

    We understand that Mountainfilm will be virtual this year, and Bluegrass may take the form of a series of smaller events (“a work in progress,” organizer Craig Ferguson told the Daily Planet last week).

    What will the other festivals look like? How about Shakespeare in the Park and Art Walk? What role will the Transfer Warehouse play?

    We know there are folks hard at work figuring this stuff out.

    With all of this in mind, it’s worth remembering that Telluride, Mountain Village and the surrounding area are a single destination. Success this summer is based on our ability to collaborate on a unified response that addresses logistics, programming, communication and more.

    The Telluride Tourism Board stands ready and waiting to be a conduit to our visitors, to educate, inspire and inform them — for example, by urging them to take the Tell-U-Right pledge at — in ways that ensure that our community and natural surroundings, as well as our identity and way of life, are all protected.

    Telluride Bluegrass reimagined

    Festival organizers planning for bluegrass series or mini-festival

    • Special Thanks  Bria Light, Telluride Daily Planet Staff Reporter
      • Bluegrass

    With the San Juan Mountains in the audience, Chris Thile starts the 2018 Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Remember the days of a packed Town Park and festivals? The COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 slate, but this summer, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival aims to reboot with a small festival tailored to comply with public health orders. (Planet file photo)


    Across the Northern Hemisphere, the end of June is celebrated as the official beginning of summer, heralding long, golden days of sunshine at last. In Telluride, however, the weekend of the summer solstice is synonymous with the twang of the banjo, the capering of the fiddle and, of course, thousands of colorfully clad festivarians grinning as they boogie down en masse in front of the Town Park stage.

    Nobody needs reminding that plans for last year’s 47th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival ground to a screeching halt shortly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the festival canceled for the first time ever in April. Now, a year into the pandemic as vaccine rollouts ease case numbers and deaths worldwide and the promise of warmer weather appears on the horizon, festival organizers are cautiously optimistic about hosting a reimagined Bluegrass festival in June.

    “It’s a work in progress,” said festival organizer Craig Ferguson, noting that while juggling the evolving nature of ever-changing data and circumstances surrounding the pandemic, planners are moving forward with a festival or possible concert series, but that all plans are subject to change.

    “If we’d been asked about a festival this summer six weeks ago, with where we were with the pandemic, we would have almost definitely had to say no,” he said.

    As cases have dropped and restrictions have eased, however, organizers are laying the groundwork for a live festival, albeit a mini-version with fewer acts, fewer days and fewer festivarians. Organizers have crunched the numbers for Town Park’s capacity to allow for social distancing and currently anticipate that ticket sales will be sharply limited, as well as subject to approval by town authorities. Ferguson estimated that Town Park could host a maximum of 2,500 people when accounting for social distancing, a far cry from the usual 12,000 or so bluegrass fans that flock to the box canyon for the festival weekend in normal years.

    However, organizers are also looking into the possibility of hosting a series of bluegrass shows across multiple weekends, allowing for smaller crowds but more opportunities for concertgoers to attend. Ferguson said that under this iteration, the first weekend would host the “old-timers” of the festival — the bands that have played at the festival the longest — with the subsequent weekends hosting popular groups of shorter tenure with the festival.

    “It’s quite a process, and we’re not going to try to pretend that we can be what we usually are,” he said.

    For example, craft vendors, Night Grass shows and the volunteer program may all have to be axed this year, due to concerns relating to the pandemic.

    “Indoor stuff is just so much harder,” he said of Night Grass, the late-night shows popular at various indoor venues around town. “The idea that people are going to socially distance after beer 30, when it’s midnight — we just don’t want to take that kind of risk.”

    Meanwhile, town officials continue discussions regarding summer festivals while incorporating public health guidance from the state and county as it arrives. Though county cases of the virus have dropped sharply over the past month, one lesson from the pandemic is that planning for the future is a task fraught with uncertainty, frustration and sometimes, last-minute changes.

    Current public health restrictions, noted Telluride Mayor DeLanie Young, dictate that Town Park would be able to host a maximum of 500 people, but officials are hopeful that current virus trends will ease restrictions by summer and safely allow for higher capacity limitations.

    “Generally speaking, council is optimistic that events can occur this summer and that our case trends and disease prevalence continues its downward trend,” she said, reflecting on discussions at last week’s Town Council meeting.

    Ultimately, she observed, all events taking place on Town of Telluride property such as Town Park will have to be in compliance with state and county public health orders, and indicated that officials and organizers are currently waiting for further direction from the state about what precautions and restrictions will be required for summer events like festivals.

    As for vaccines, Young said officials are not taking a stance either way on whether festival attendees need to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

    “The town is not taking any distinct position on requiring vaccinations,” she said, adding that private organizations may be able to do so.

    For now, though many of the details are still in the works and all plans may change, it appears that some level of live bluegrass music in June is likely a go.

    “It will all be so much clearer a month from now,” Ferguson said.

    Still, it doesn’t hurt to dust off your favorite Bluegrass attire and blast some face-melting Sam Bush mandolin solos in preparation for the whatever version the 2021 Telluride Bluegrass Festival is able to take.

    Expanded dining capacity in Mountain Village


    San Miguel County is officially in level yellow on the state public health dial which now allows restaurants to have 50 percent capacity indoor dining (or 50 people, whichever is fewer). 

    Last call is now at 11 p.m and personal gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people from no more than two households. 

    Please remember that masks are required while inside restaurants until customers are at their table. Reservations are required for most indoor dining, so we highly recommend visiting the business directory links below or calling the restaurant ahead of time. 

    If you'd prefer to eat one of our restaurants' meals from the comfort of your own home, Mountain Village Delivery is you're go-to for evening takeout delivery from our Mountain Village restaurants directly to your home or hotel rooms. To learn more on how to use this new service, please visit their website




     Allred's is currently offering limited dining in two-time slots from its iconic location at the top of the gondola. Reservations are required, there will be a guest health screening upon arrival. Learn more through the link below.


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    Altezza at the Peaks Resort


    Altezza at The Peaks features casual mountain dining with regionally-sourced ingredients and offers limited indoor seating, service on its scenic deck overlooking Mountain Village and takeout. Reservations encouraged. 


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    Black Iron

    Black Iron Kitchen & Bar


    Located in the Madeline Hotel, Black Iron Kitchen & Bar is serving takeout and dining on its beautiful patio with limited indoor dining. 


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    Crazy Elk

    Crazy Elk Pizza


    Crazy Elk offers fresh, hand-made pizzas, salads and sandwiches. Limited indoor dining optional, but takeout and delivery are encouraged. 


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    El Rhino

    El Rhino Taco & Coffee Bar


    Located in Market Plaza, adjacent to the newly re-opened Village Market, El Rhino offers handcrafted carnitas tacos, breakfast food items, fine coffee and everything else you need to fuel your day. 


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    La Piazza

    La Piazza del Villaggio


    La Piazza Del Villaggio's menu is a marriage between old family Italian recipes and contemporary influences. Now open for indoor and outdoor dining or takeout 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. daily. 


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    The Pick

    The Pick


    The Pick offers customized, hand-rolled, gourmet burritos and bowls for guests and adventurers who are looking for a hearty, delicious, quick breakfast or lunch. Open daily 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 


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    La Pizzeria

    La Pizzeria


    La Piazza's sister restaurant offers a variety of traditional Italian pizza including the classics and contemporary combos! Top off your meal with fresh gelato, sobetto and affrogato. 


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    Enjoy food and drink from Poachers Pub's classic pub inspired menu and full-service bar out in the Common Consumption Area in the yurt on their patio. 


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    Siam's Talay Grille

    Siam's Talay Grille


    Siam's Talay Grille is now serving  their Thai cuisine through takeout and indoor/outdoor dining daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations are required. 


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    Shake N Grub

    Shake N Dog Grub Shack


    Shake n Dog Grub Shack offers high quality hot dogs, milkshakes, salads, wraps and snacks made to order, fairly priced and served quickly with a smile. Open for limited indoor dining or takeout. 


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    Starbucks at the Madeline Hotel sells  coffee, espresso, tea, grab and go snacks and more. They are open seven days a week 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. with seating outside in Sunset Plaza. 


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    Sunshine Store


    The Sunshine Store recently just launched a deli counter serving soft-serve ice cream with toppings, made to order breakfast sandwiches and subs. Soon they will offer soups, salads, juices and smoothies.


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    Telluride Brewing

    Telluride Brewing & Taqueria


    New to the Mountain Village Center, the Telluride Brewing Company Brew Pub & Taqueria features award-winning craft beer on tap and tasty tacos from Los Buenos Tacos and good times aplenty.


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    Telluride Coffee Company

    Telluride Coffee Company


    Telluride Coffee Co. offers gourmet coffee and espresso, made-to-order breakfast and baked pastries. They also now serve drinks to enjoy in the plaza.


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    Distillery Tasting Room

    Telluride Distilling Tasting Room


    The Telluride Distilling Tasting Room serves signature drinks (with their house-made vodka, whiskey, agave and more) and food to be enjoyed inside or out.  


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    Timber Room

    Timber Room 


    Hotel Madeline's newly renovated Timber Room offers an elevated dining experience with small plates with Old World flair and a nod to local ingredients. 


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    Tomboy Tavern

    Tomboy Tavern


    Tomboy Tavern is open for takeout and dining both inside and on its slopeside patio at the base of Lift 4. Now featuring a new dinner menu!


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    Tracks is your go-to for a delicious and fast meal that can be enjoyed on their patio or for takeout. Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner from Tracks along with a tasty beverage from their full service bar.


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    The View Bar & Grill

    The View at Mountain Lodge


    The View at Mountain Lodge is offering limited indoor dining only. Reservations required. Check out their $65 prix fixe menu and enjoy the view from the warmth of the lodge. 


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    Village Market

    Village Market


    The View is offering limited indoor dining only. Reservations required. Check out their $65 prix fixe menu and enjoy the view from the warmth of the lodge. 


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    Village Table

    Village Table


    Enjoy the Village Table's Mediterranean cuisine for takeout and limited indoor/outdoor dining by reservation daily 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. this winter. 


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    Telluride Film Festival 2021

    special thanks Pat Saperstein

    Telluride Film Festival Sets September Dates

    Courtesy Telluride Film Festival

    The Telluride Film Festival is optimistic that by September, it will be able to safely hold an in-person event in the Colorado mountain town, including an extra day of programming. The fest is set for Sept. 2 to Sept. 6, organizers announced Friday.

    Executive director Julie Huntsinger said in a statement, “We are beyond excited to announce our dates. Our position within the festival calendar gives us hope that we will be able to hold the festival this year. We are guided by science and are continuously evaluating the global pandemic in relation to health, travel and live events. Time will tell, but in the meantime, we are busy planning for and putting together an incredible program.”

    The festival is not making new passes available, since most passholders rolled over their 2020 passes to this year. “Without knowing theater capacity restrictions, the small number of passes left are being held back out of an abundance of caution,” Huntsinger said.

    The festival is compiling a wait list for passes.

    “We would like to take this moment to thank everyone for their continued support of Telluride Film Festival. There have been some truly remarkable souls who went above and beyond throughout the past 12 months,” said Huntsinger. “It has been a difficult year for everyone, and we hope to welcome back our audience to the beautiful mountains of Telluride to do what we do best: celebrate the art of film.”

    The festival also revealed its 2021 poster, designed by Meow Wolf’s Luke Dorman with a motif of classic movie theater marquees and film equipment. Dorman, the lead graphic designer for the immersive art company, is currently working on Meow Wolf Denver, a permanent, four-story experience opening in late 2021.

    The 2020 festival was canceled in July due to the pandemic, but announced that it would have premiered films including “Nomadland,” “The Father,” “The Truffle Hunters” and “The Way I See It.”

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