Blog :: 01-2021

Telluride Blues & Brews Festival Shares Update on 2021 Proceedings


Telluride Blues & Brews Festival Shares Update on 2021 Proceedings

Added officials from SBG Productions in a lengthy statement, “We are working closely with health officials, while monitoring the success of the vaccines and keeping an eye on the changing state of live events for this summer. When we have a clearer picture of what events will look like and receive a ‘green light’ from officials, we will provide additional updates.” Organizers of the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival have confirmed that the three-day celebration will take place at Colorado’s Telluride Town Park on Sept. 17-19, 2021, “but only if it is safe to do so.”

In turn, tickets for the 2021 Telluride Blues & Brews will not go on sale until the event is definitely a-go.

“For those who have rolled over your 2020 tickets we are grateful for your faith in our festival and no action is needed at this time – your tickets are in our system and will soon be re-issued with the 2021 dates,” officials added.

Before the pandemic put the music industry on ice, the 2020 edition of Telluride Blues & Brews was set to feature Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Brittany Howard, Buddy Guy and more. Organizers hope to confirm a “similar lineup” for 2021.

For more info click here.

Read the full statement from Telluride Blues & Brews below:

SBG Productions wishes you a happy, healthy and strong start to 2021 and hope this update finds you well. We want to start by thanking everyone for the overwhelming support through 2020. We would also like to thank all the partners, artists, and loyal fans who joined us on our YouTube and Facebook channels last September for the virtual festival fundraiser. Your generous donations helped support our non-profit partners Music Maker Relief Foundation and the Telluride Food Bank. If you haven’t already watched the virtual festival, each night’s stream is still available, click here to watch. Go check out the shows and consider buying some merchandise to support us.

Like many of you, we are eager for the day when it is safe to return and gather for live music and events. We miss the hair-raising performances, beautiful summer days in the mountains, countless smiles and much more that words simply can’t describe.

Currently, we are planning to celebrate the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival in Telluride Town Park on September 17-19, 2021, but only if it is safe to do so. We are working closely with health officials, while monitoring the success of the vaccines and keeping an eye on the changing state of live events for this summer. When we have a clearer picture of what events will look like and receive a “green light” from officials, we will provide additional updates.

Tickets for the 2021 Telluride Blues & Brews Festival will not go on sale until we know it will be safe to host an event. Until that time, all other festival announcements will be paused. For those who have rolled over your 2020 tickets we are grateful for your faith in our festival and no action is needed at this time – your tickets are in our system and will soon be re-issued with the 2021 dates. Most of the artists scheduled to perform have expressed interest in this year’s dates, likely leaving a similar lineup in place for 2021.

Thank you for your overwhelming support through this complicated time. We miss you and still believe our community and festival will return stronger than ever.

Stay healthy, stay safe and we hope to see you soon.

Special Thanks to SBG Productions

Mayor's Minute - 2021: The Year Ahead



Mayor's Minute

2021: The Year Ahead

Hello neighbors,

We all know 2020 was the most challenging year in recent memory, but we should all be proud of how we met the challenge. As we begin a new year, I want to bring you up to date on a number of Town initiatives.

Last month, Town Council approved the 2021 Town budget totaling $22.8 million, after pulling out pass-through items (i.e., gondola, tourism, and museum budgets). I would like to thank again the Budget Committee, led by Jack Gilbride and Pete Duprey, for working with the Town Manager and Finance Department to develop a budget that includes a number of large-scale investments in our infrastructure, specifically focused on responsible community development, while ending 2020 with healthy reserves of $22.3 million and simultaneously reducing debt.  

This past April, Town Council drafted and began implementation of a COVID-19 Recession Policy that outlined certain revenue loss parameters that then triggered pre-identified spending reductions. As a result, Town Council deferred most 2020 capital infrastructure projects, placed all non-critical staff on a three-month leave of absence, reduced and/or temporarily halted all non-essential municipal services, implemented a hiring freeze, and initiated additional temporary budget reductions.  

Given the unprecedented challenges that COVID presented in 2020, we are pleased to report unanticipated increases in sales tax throughout the second half of the year. However, we are still cautious in our financial planning given the economic uncertainty 2021 holds; therefore, we are forecasting relatively flat growth in our sales tax figures. Additionally, due to the uncertainty related to a recent Colorado ballot measure’s impact on property tax moving forward, we are also not forecasting any increase in property tax revenues.

Remember that you can use our interactive online tool to view all town budget and financial data and in-depth financial reporting with two years of actuals, current, and proposed budgets that can also be viewed in interactive charts and graphs.  

Comprehensive Plan Revision - $150,000 

The Town of Mountain Village Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2011 and was written to be a 30-year roadmap envisioning the future use and needs of the community. Town Council's goal at the time was to encourage future development while controlling unbridled growth.

However, in the intervening years, Town Council and the community have noted that the Comprehensive Plan is overly prescriptive and complicated in certain respects. The Comprehensive Plan does not reflect current economic realities (e.g., VRBO/AirBNB) that have transformed communities such as ours. As such, we need to amend the Comprehensive Plan to provide future town councils, property owners, and community members solid, yet flexible, guidance to inform and support the critical decisions they will face in years to come. 

Through a public Request for Proposals process, the Town hired MIG, a national firm with extensive experience developing and updating comprehensive plans for communities like ours, to reassess portions of the Comprehensive Plan.

We do not anticipate major changes to the Comprehensive Plan with this amendment process, instead, we expect to: 

  • Simplify and modernize the Comprehensive Plan to serve as a guiding document versus a regulatory document, which is more in line with traditional community comprehensive plans
  • Align the Comprehensive Plan with the town’s Community Development Code,
  • Reexamine Mountain Village’s economic model
  • Review our contemplated growth model 
  • Remove overly prescriptive tables, formulas, and measures that have been a barrier to future land use

Over the next six months, MIG, along with Town staff, will be gathering input from the community, businesses, key stakeholders, the Design Review Board, and Town Council via virtual public forums, interviews, and public meetings. All public meetings during this process will be held virtually via Zoom web conferencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be noticed through a dedicated Comprehensive Plan newsletter (sign up for that list below) and posted on our event calendar. 

In concert with this larger Comprehensive Plan effort, we also look forward to reengaging with our partners at TMVOA and TSG to move forward with the planning and implementation of the Town Hall and Village Center Subarea Plans. 

You may learn more about the process on our and sign up for dedicated Comprehensive Plan newsletters on our website

Sidewalk, trails, and bike lane improvements within Mountain Village - $1.4 million 

Last year the town began the engineering phase of sidewalk and bike lane additions being created to enhance the safety and walkability of our community. With substantial funding from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Town Council approved the funding and creation of a number of sidewalks and bike lanes, to help make biking and walking along Lower San Joaquin Road, Mountain Village Boulevard, and other key corridors safer and easier. These roads were selected based on public feedback, traffic conditions, and Town Council’s concerns about bikes and pedestrians along these roads. As part of maintaining and improving our quality of life, we will continue to invest in keeping our plazas and streets useable and safe for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike. 

Broadband system fiber capacity upgrades (1G Project) - $ 2.2 million 

In 2019, the Town of Mountain Village announced the official launch of our Fiber-to-the-Home project, which set out to deliver ultra-high-speed 1-gigabit internet to the exterior of each property in Mountain Village by the end of 2020.

The pandemic delayed the construction and installation. However, operations have recently resumed, and the project is slated to be complete by September 2021. 

These fiber upgrades are a critical investment in meeting our personal and business needs for improved connectivity. To learn more about the fiber project and to sign up for updates on the fiber construction project, please visit 

Affordable Housing

Recent events have made affordable housing in our region even more of an urgent priority, one we share with the Town of Telluride, San Miguel County, and TSG. To this end we have continued to consider expanding the Village Court Apartments, an investigation we were forced to put on hold with the pandemic concerns. In 2021, we will move this task forward, considering all possibilities of Town funding, public/private partnerships, and review of management options. In addition, we are identifying land available for building under various scenarios, and if development partners demonstrate the ability and commitment to build affordable housing, the Town will make every effort to reduce or eliminate hurdles. More on this as our options unfold.

Lastly, through the support of the Mountain Village community, our restaurants and retailers have been able to keep their doors open and kept many of our neighbors employed throughout this challenging year. Small choices matter - please continue shopping and eating local whenever possible. Thank you for volunteering and working together to keep Mountain Village safe, healthy, and open for our full and part-time residents, businesses, and guests.  

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me or any of your other Council members with any questions or concerns you may have.  

Warm regards,

Laila Benitez
Mountain Village Mayor

Telluride, CO Mayor strikes positive tone in State of Town address

Facemask ordinance extended

Special Thanks Suzanne Cheavens, Associate EditorTown council

Telluride Town Council passed a resolution Tuesday that puts new centerlane parking measures on the books. (Planet file photo)

Twice a year, Telluride’s mayor delivers a State of the Town address that is a reflection on events, accomplishments and sometimes, disappointments. Various mayors have offered anything from dry punch lists of achievements, to ebullient assessments of another six months of life in Telluride. Mayor DeLanie Young, who with members of Telluride Town Council, was tasked with leading town government through the economic and social challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, struck a series of positive notes in her January State of the Town address, delivered at Tuesday’s regular council meeting.

“There is much for which to be grateful,” Young said. “Many in our community have received vital assistance this year. Planning and building more employee housing, rent relief, and food boxes contributed to our basic human needs. Grants to businesses and investments in outdoor infrastructure kept people employed and our economy on track. We can always do more. We can always do better.”

Young also highlighted positives such as increased civic involvement in government proceedings, sales tax collections that matched those of 2019, record Real Estate Transfer Tax collections, the forward movement of the Sunnyside affordable housing development, rent relief, and strengthened collaboration between local governments.

“We must remember to watch closely and listen closely, because there are people who still need our help,” Young concluded. “There are some who have struggled and received little to no support. The real beauty of our community is incomplete without the total sum of its parts. We must work together to preserve what we all love — our beautiful home: Telluride.” 

(For the full text of the State of the Town address, please see Page 3 in this edition of the Planet.)

Following the abrupt halt to a council call-up of a Historic and Architectural Review Commission decision that denied the demolition of two historic, though altered, structures on a West San Juan Avenue lot slated for possible construction of a new hotel, (the applicants withdrew the request to demolish the house and shed), council tackled the rest of its agenda.

With no discernible end to the pandemic in sight, council, faced with its emergency ordinance concerning facemask set to expire Jan. 26, voted unanimously to extend the legislation. The latest extension will expire May 21.

The extension, explained town attorney Kevin Geiger, contains provisions similar to the state’s executive order and is little changed from previous iterations of the ordinance. Key differences in Telluride’s ordinance in contrast to the state’s order, are the requirement that children ages 2 and older also don facemasks in indoor businesses open to the public, and on public transit (along with adults), and that wearing a face covering is required if lingering longer than 5 minutes outdoors with those outside of one’s household pod. Geiger reminded council of the motivation behind the emergency ordinance, which is, “concern for the public health, safety and welfare” of residents and visitors.

Young added that the American Pediatrics Association’s recommendation that younger people also wear masks, gave weight to Telluride’s ordinance.

The May 21 expiration date coincides with the expiration of the resolution in place that allows public, open consumption of alcoholic beverages, giving council an opportunity to reassess each piece of legislation concurrently, based on the newest information surrounding the pandemic.

“We’ll start looking where we might go for the summer,” Geiger said.

Council also passed on second reading a resolution that aims to relieve the centerlane of its increased use in the commercial core so that delivery trucks can gain improved access. In council’s memo, the purpose of the resolution is to restore the loading zone to its primary and intended purpose — commercial delivery for businesses lacking alley access.

“With the dramatic increase in vehicular traffic this summer, keeping the Center Lane Commercial Loading Zone clear and open for delivery trucks has become increasingly challenging,” the memo from the Telluride Marshal’s Department reads. “A review of the procedure on the issuance of center lane and service permits showed that there are currently 357 center lane permits issued and 220 service permits issued. Although stricter enforcement is one component of this, clearer guidelines on the use and issuance of permits needs to be addressed.” 

Telluride Chief Marshal Josh Comte explained the resolution places a cap of three centerlane permits per business and that the New Sheridan Hotel has been accommodated with spaces in front of the courthouse for guest check-in, loading and unloading. Those spaces will also be utilized as drop-offs and pickups for taxi and shuttle services. Other requirements in the resolution include a 30-minute time limit for active loading or unloading, a fee and fine schedule, and other measures.

The resolution was passed unanimously.

Council was also unanimous in giving Jonathan Greenspan another term on the Ecology Commission, on which he has served since November 2014.

“He’s taken an active role in ecological discussions across the region for many years,” said Mayor Pro Tem, Todd Brown before making the motion to approve Greenspan’s re-appointment.

Greenspan will serve for another two years.

The town has entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the Town of Mountain Village, which will provide grooming for the sledding area on Firecracker Hill in Telluride Town Park. Mountain Village owns snowcat equipment designed for the job and will bill the town  $90 per hour for the service. The goal, according to the IGA is to “provide a quality sledding experience for citizens and visitors.”

“We’re preparing it in anticipation of more snow,” said Town Manager Ross Herzog.

The sledding hill will remain closed until that time.

This Ski-In/Ski-Out Hotel in Telluride Just Got a Luxurious Makeover

Complete with an apres ski bar and lounge.

Special Thanks to RACHEL CORMACK 

Madeleine Hotel and Resorts Colorado

The tiny ski town of Telluride in Colorado isn’t exactly flush with five-star hotels, which makes its latest luxury offering all the more enticing. The Madeline Hotel & Residences of the Auberge Resorts Collection has undergone a dramatic transformation and is now fit for skiers who appreciate the finer things.

Located at 10,540 feet, the ski-in/ski-out mountain retreat features luxurious new social spaces and amenities that guests can enjoy in a breathtaking alpine setting. Miami-based interior design team Rose Ink Workshop spearheaded the makeover and the updates include a vibrant new apres ski bar and lounge dubbed the Timber Room, a new boutique and a refreshed lobby. Of course, there is wood, fur and fireplaces aplenty, which render the resort both chic and cozy.

Complementing the redesign is a spate of new experiences and amenities. Thrillseekers can partake in adrenaline-pumping activities like ice-climbing the Mystic Falls or touring the San Sophia ridgeline from 13,000 feet in a helicopter. There’s also alpine skiing, dog sledding, hiking and fly fishing.


Madeleine Hotel and Resorts Colorado

The Great Room. 

Conversely, those looking to relax can take advantage of the gold-standard wellness offering. The Madeline actually collaborated with Olympian Gus Kenworthy to create the new Recovery Ski Lounge which features a range of advanced post-workout therapies, such as Hyperice, Normatec and Hypervolt that will keep you in tip-top shape.

“We have created one-of-a-kind experiences that celebrate the best ski mountain in the US,” general manager Bryan Woody said in a press release.

Madeleine Hotel and Resorts Colorado

The Bar. 

The culinary offering has also been refined. It celebrates the biota of the mountain and includes hearty feast plates, like Rocky Mountain Elk with local huckleberry jus. To wash it down, there’s an array of warming cocktails and classic libations with a local flair. The steaming TNT, for example, pairs Telluride whiskey and local cofee with Montenegro, cream and freshly grated nutmeg.

When it’s finally time to rest your head, the Madeline offers both guest rooms and suites, as well as one- to four-bedroom residential condos with expansive mountain village views. The renovation work on these areas will be done in April, so best book a trip after then.

Check out more photos of the resort below:

Madeleine Hotel and Resorts Colorado

The Timber Room. 

Madeleine Hotel and Resorts Colorado

The Boutique. 

Madeleine Hotel and Resorts Colorado

The Lobby. 

Madeleine Hotel and Resorts Colorado

The Lobby. 

Madeleine Hotel and Resorts Colorado

The Lobby. 

Madeleine Hotel and Resorts Colorado

The Great Room. 

Madeleine Hotel and Resorts Colorado

The Great Room. 

Madeleine Hotel and Resorts Colorado

The Great Room. 

How to avoid the worst MLK mountain traffic on I-70 this weekend

Martin Luther King holiday weekend typically ranks fifth-busiest of the year for traffic at Eisenhower-Johnson tunnels

Special Thanks The Denver Post 

President’s Day ski traffic backed up on the on ramp to I-70 eastbound at US Hwy 40 in Empire, Colo. on Monday, February 17, 2014. While President’s Day historically sees the most I-70 ski traffic, MLK weekend comes in at a close second. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post)

If you’re heading to the mountains over the long Martin Luther King holiday weekend that begins Friday, we’ve got some advice to help you avoid the worst of the traffic heading west. Here’s a clue: Unless you’re heading up Friday, you’d better beat the sunrise.

According to CDOT spokesman Bob Wilson, the best times to head west from Denver on Saturday, Sunday or Monday over the holiday weekend usually are before 7 or 7:30 a.m. Heading up before noon on Friday typically is OK, “since people often work a half-day and then head out,” Wilson said.

The Martin Luther King holiday weekend usually ranks as the fifth-busiest of the year for high country traffic as measured by traffic counts at the Eisenhower-Johnson tunnels, behind Independence Day, Presidents Day, Labor Day and Memorial Day.

So far this season, ski traffic is down compared to last year. With resorts limiting visitation due to the pandemic and less-than-abundant snowfall to attract skiers and riders, December saw 995,646 vehicles travel through the tunnels, a decrease of about 8.9% compared to December 2019.

RELATED: How ski resorts will be operating now that they are at Level Orange

“It’s likely a combination of lower-than-average snowfall, limitations on resort visitation during peak holiday weeks, fewer people traveling/leaving home during the pandemic in general, warnings about backcountry avalanche risks, etc.,” Colorado Ski Country USA spokesman Chris Linsmayer wrote in an email.

As of Wednesday, 20 Colorado ski areas had snowpacks that were below 80% of normal, according to OpenSnow, an independent snow tracking and forecasting service. Four were at 80%-90% and only one — Wolf Creek — was above average at, 101%.

Related: Skiing in a pandemic, is this the worst year of skiing … or the best?

As a result, CDOT expects traffic this weekend to be less than last year, when more than 171,000 vehicles passed through the tunnels over the four-day period. Still, it’s bound to be slow-going much of the weekend, so you’ll want to avoid the worst of it. Here are some things to keep mind if you’re heading for the hills:

Westbound: Friday traffic for the MLK holiday weekend peaked last year between 2 and 3 p.m. On Saturday, it peaked from 8 to 11 a.m. and again from 2 to 4 p.m., with a high for the day of 2,668 vehicles from 3 to 4 p.m. On Sunday, it peaked from 9 to 10 a.m., and on Monday it peaked from 8 to 11 a.m.

Eastbound: Friday traffic peaked last year from 2 to 3 p.m. On Saturday, it peaked from noon to 1 p.m. and again from 3 to 4 p.m., remaining heavy through 7 p.m. On Sunday, it was heavy from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Monday, it peaked from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 2 to 5 p.m., remaining heavy until 7 p.m.

Busiest days, times: Of the four days of the MLK weekend last year, the highest westbound traffic came on Saturday (28,388) with the highest eastbound traffic on Monday (28,006). The busiest hours of the weekend both came on Saturday: 2,668 vehicles westbound from 3 to 4 p.m. and 2,899 eastbound from noon to 1 p.m.

Adventures in Telluride

Winter Activities



Guided Snowshoeing

Explore Hidden Areas of the Resort

Our legendary guide staff will detail the local flora and fauna and provide exclusive knowledge about the captivating natural world.



Snowbike Course & Rentals

A Fun Way to Speed Down the Hills!

Our snowbiking instructors will provide you with an exciting, fun experience that fits your needs and abilities.

Kids Snow Camp


Kids Half Day Snow Camp

A Cool Alternative to Ski School

Discover the wonders of Telluride through programs such as Winter Wilderness Survival, Trekking and Tracking, and Geocaching!

Telluride Helitrax



Guided Heli-Skiing and Snowboarding Tours

The Telluride Adventure Center works with Telluride Helitrax to skiers and snowboarders create the memory of a lifetime.

Kids Half Day Snow Camp

A cool alternative to ski school for kids ages 5-12.

Kids Snow Camp

Kids Half Day Snow Camp Sessions:

P.M. HALF-DAY 1PM-4PM $100


The Telluride Adventure Center provides day camps for kids ages 5-12. Our programs are designed to connect kids with their environment and develop a deeper appreciation for the world around them.

Due to social distancing protocols Kids Snow Camp will be operating in the outdoors only, in half day increments.

A cool alternative to ski school for kids ages 5-12, your child will experience a half-day of outdoor winter activities. Discover the wonders of Telluride through programs such as Winter Wilderness Survival, Trekking and Tracking, and Geocaching! Give us a call for details on our weekly program schedules. For a safe and enjoyable adventure, your child needs to bring a warm jacket and gloves, a winter hat and boots, sunglasses or goggles, and a water bottle & backpack. Due to Covid-19 social distancing protocols, lunch will not be included in Kids Snow Camp this year, and reservations will need to be booked in half day increments in advance, either over the phone or through the webstore.

For a safe and enjoyable adventure, your child needs to bring a warm jacket and gloves, a winter hat and boots, sunglasses or goggles, and a water bottle & backpack. All other equipment is included in the price. Camp departs from the Sunset Plaza in Mountain Village.

For more information, please email or call (970) 728-7433.

Snow Bike Course & Rentals

Smiling Snowbiker at Telluride Ski Resort

No tires needed on this biking adventure! Ski blades replace wheels as you cruise and curve down our groomed ski runs. With smaller ski blades on each foot, you are able to carve through the snow and stop with ease. While staying on the mountain, try this fun alternative way to speed down the hills! Whether you’re a veteran skier who wants to switch things up a bit or you’re new to the slopes and want to start off slow, our snowbiking instructors will provide you with an exciting experience that fits your needs.

In order to rent a snowbike, you simply need to join us for a quick half-day certification course, and upon completion you are then welcome to keep your bike for the rest of the day. Once certified guests may rent a bike whenever they would like to go out on their own for years to come!

Skiing and snowboarding experience is not required, but is highly encouraged in order to immensely increase your chances of passing the certification course.

Due to Covid-19 social distancing protocols, walk-ins will not be accomodated for the winter of 2020-2021. To register for a snowbike lesson or rental, please book online or over the phone (970) 728-7433.

Two-Hour Certification Class:





Snowbike courses begin in Sunset Plaza at 9:30am of the reservation day. For more information, please email or call (970) 728-7433.

Guided Snowshoeing


Snowshoe Tour Prices:


For more information, please email or call (970) 728-7433.

Guided Snowshoeing

Explore areas of the Telluride Ski Resort that are inaccessible on skis or a snowboard. Our group and private snowshoe tours cater to all ability levels. Advance reservations for snowshoe tours and rentals will be required to participate in the tours. Walk-ins will not be accommodated in the winter of 2020/2021 due to Covid protocols.

Imagine being led through Telluride’s winter wonderland by an expert naturalist. Our legendary guide staff will detail the local environments’ flora, fauna and provide exclusive knowledge about the captivating natural world. Tours are designed to accommodate all ability levels and depart from a designated outdoor meeting space across the snow from the top of chair #1 in the Sunset Plaza.


  • Approx. 3.5 hours from start to finish
  • There are two tours available per day. One at 10:00am the other at 10:30am.
  • Tours depart from the Adventure Center’s designated meeting spot in the Sunset Plaza.
  • Tours depart from the Adventure Center’s designated meeting spot in the Sunset Plaza
  • Please arrive ten minutes prior to your tour (9:50am and 10:20am respectively) to meet your guide and finalize any details.
  • Guests can expect to return to village core by approximately 1:30pm if on the first tour, or 2:00pm  if on the second tour.
  • Each tour may accommodate a maximum of 4 guests who have traveled and lodged with one another.
  • Walk-ins will not be accommodated during the winter of 2021. Advance registration must be completed online or over the phone to participate in a tour.
  • On the tour, the group will walk from the meeting area to the Chondola/Lift 1 (half chair lift, half gondola) and download on the 4-person gondola portion of the lift. Across from the bottom of the Chondola is the bottom of Sunshine Express/Lift 10, a chair lift that takes you to the Top-A-Ten Nordic and Snowshoe Area.
  • Guests will be outfitted for snowshoes once outside the warming yurt at the top of lift 10.


Telluride Helitrax

Telluride Helitrax
136 Country Club Dr.
(970) 728-8377


The Telluride Adventure Center works with Colorado’s premier helicopter ski company,  Telluride Helitrax, to bring advanced-intermediate to expert skiers and snowboarders the memory of a lifetime at some of the highest elevations in North America.

The  Helitrax Eurocopter  S350 B3e helicopter allots guests exclusive access to over 200 square miles of high alpine basins, cirques and summits. Backcountry enthusiasts can expect an average of six runs over the course of a day, totaling approximately 10,000 to 14,000 vertical feet.

Special Thanks to The Telluride Adventure Center

How to Stay COVID-Safe on the Ski Slopes This Year

What ski areas are doing—and you should, too—to minimize virus risk.

BY  Special Thanks to Men's Health

skier carving through powder snow


The day after Thanksgiving, Dr. Jana Eller and Dr. Shiraz Naqvi were seated beside an outdoor fire pit at the base of Telluride Ski Resort, taking a short break from skiing. The two physicians from Houston had driven more than 18 hours to get here for the holiday weekend, and they were staying (and preparing meals) in a rented home. They traveled with another couple and their kids, colleagues they’ve been “bubbling” with in Houston.

“We got a COVID test prior to leaving and will get another when we return,” Naqvi said.

The skiing itself doesn’t feel much different during the pandemic, Eller said, but, “the après ski scene is just gone.”

In March, at the beginning of the pandemic, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order requiring the state’s ski resorts to close in response to COVID-19, which had hit the state’s ski towns early and hard. Now, as the resorts enter their busy season, the state has taken pains to avoid blanket closures even though cases of COVID-19 are reaching their highest levels yet.

What to expect when you ski this year

Resorts that are able to stay open will look different this year, of course. Mandatory face coverings have become the norm, but other COVID mitigation efforts vary by site. Vermont resorts ask skiers to certify their compliance with rules governing interstate travel during the pandemic when buying a lift ticket, and in California, a regional stay-at-home order has essentially closed ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe region to non-residents. In Colorado’s Pitkin County (home to Aspen), visitors will be required to confirm they’ve had a negative COVID test result within 72 hours of travel or pledge to quarantine for 14 days after arrival or until they obtain a negative test result.

The internationally renowned ski destination of Telluride is one of the many places trying to operate safely while protecting the 8,000 or so permanent residents in the area. On Nov. 25, with its COVID case numbers skyrocketing and its positivity rate hitting 4.6%, San Miguel County, which includes Telluride, closed its bars and restricted its restaurants to takeout and outdoor dining only. Signs posted throughout the resort remind visitors of the “five commitments of containment” — wear a mask, maintain 6 feet of physical distance, minimize group size, wash hands frequently and, when you feel sick, stay home and get tested.

How bad would things have to get to close the resort? That’s hard to gauge, said Grace Franklin, public health director for the county. People are going to do what they will regardless, she said.

“If we shut down the ski resort, how many people will take to the backcountry and get injured or trigger avalanches where the impact is greater? It’s a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation,” Franklin said.

So they’re trying to figure this out: “How do we create safer, engineered events so people have an outlet, but we minimize as much risk as possible?”

How risky is skiing this year?

Skiing itself poses relatively little risk, said Kate Langwig, PhD, an epidemiologist at Virginia Tech. “You’re outside with a lot of airflow, you’ve got something strapped to your feet so you’re not in super close contact with other people, and most of the time you’re riding the lift with people in your group.”

Gathering in the lodge or bar is by far the biggest COVID risk associated with skiing, said Langwig, who grew up skiing in northern New York. “In my family, one of the things you do after a day of skiing is connect with friends and have a beer in the lodge,” and it’s this social aspect of skiing that’s too risky right now, she said.

In an effort to discourage tourists and residents from congregating, local governments, medical facilities and the ski resort released a co-signed letter in November urging people to cancel any plans to gather with those outside their immediate household and celebrate the holidays solely with people from their own household. Keeping the resort open will require everybody to do their part, said Lindsey Mills, COVID public information consultant for San Miguel County.

“We are not telling anybody not to come, at least not yet,” said Todd Brown, Telluride’s mayor pro tem. But local officials are broadcasting a strong message to everyone in the area — “Chill out. Don’t have the big party with five families.”

That’s important not only for your own health; this year, you also need to think about the impact your skiing will have on the community, and whether it could overtax the medical facilities. San Miguel County has an urgent care center but no hospital, and its medical center experienced a 22% staffing shortage at the end of November, mostly because so many employees are in quarantine. Hospitals in nearby Mesa County reached their ICU capacity last month, and other hospitals in the region are also pinched. “We can’t have a situation where people break their legs on the slopes and we can’t get them care,” said Franklin.

The resort has taken steps to facilitate physical distancing among visitors. Reservations aren’t required at Telluride, but lift tickets must be purchased in advance, and the resort can restrict ticket sales if necessary, said Jeff Proteau, vice president of operations and planning at the Telluride Ski Resort. Gondolas are operating with the windows open and each load is restricted to members of the same household.

What will happen at the lifts

To reduce contact in and around the lifts, workers have created “ghost lines” of empty space to ensure a 6-foot distance between groups while they wait in lift lines. People from the same household can stand in line together and ride the two- to four-person lifts next to one another, Proteau said, but when riding a lift with someone from another household, guests are asked to leave a vacant seat between them.

Langwig was a children’s ski instructor for many years and worries about ski school. “You interact pretty closely with the kids,” she said, noting that runny noses are common. “You spend a lot of time getting kids bundled up and to and from the bathroom.” This could be especially challenging if indoor spaces are closed, she said. “Hot chocolate breaks are one of the ways you get kids through the day, and that’s not safe anymore.”

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In anticipation of visitors needing to take breaks to warm up, the resort has installed six temporary structures around the mountain with insulated ceilings and heated panels. When the sides are rolled up, they’re considered outdoor spaces, Proteau said, but they can be closed into confined spaces with limited occupancy as needed, especially on a blustery day.

The risk for most employees on the mountain should be relatively minimal, Langwig said, at least at work. “Lift attendants are outside wearing thick gloves and a mask most of the time. Compared to someone who works in a restaurant, their risk is pretty low.”

Employees are generally assigned to work in small groups that can be quarantined, if necessary, without wiping out a whole department, Proteau said. There’s also contact tracing in place for resort employees.

Arizona native Joey Rague moved to Telluride last year and works as a ski valet on the mountain. He said there’s a huge incentive among employees to keep the resort open. With affordable housing sparse in Telluride, “all of us are struggling seasonally to be able to pay rent.”

So far, he said, most visitors have been respectful and conscientious of the rules.

“It seems as though people understand that if we want to stay open, we have to come together,” he said.

From: KHN.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) that is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Telluride Tacos and beer

New brewpub and taqueria in Mountain Village

  • Special Thank Bria Light, Telluride Daily Planet Staff Reporter

Tacos and beer

From left to right, Brian Gavin, Chris Fish, and Tommy Thacher of Telluride Brewing Company toast outside Mountain Village's latest eatery, the Telluride Brewing Company Brewpub and Taqueria. (Courtesy photo)

When I was 20 years old, I fell head over heels in love. It was the kind of love that hit me with all the force of divine revelation, an unshakable certainty that this was a love that would stand the test of time. The only thing was, the object of my affections was not, in fact, human, or even a single entity. Truth was, I had fallen irrevocably in love with Mexican street tacos.

Indeed, this is a love that has endured to the present day, and though I no longer inhabit the homeland of my beloved tacos, our long-distance relationship may soon come to a blessed end. Telluride Brewing Company Brewpub and Taqueria will open its doors Wednesday in the Mountain Village center, offering a rotating selection of unique craft beers and a mouth-watering menu of authentic Mexican-style street tacos crafted by Chef Alex Castagneto.

“Alex was making these incredible tacos up in Denver and I never forgot it,” said Jared Schwartz, co-creator of The Goods Hospitality and Los Buenos Tacos, who partnered with Telluride Brewing Company for the brewpub. 

The tacos, Schwartz said, feature fresh in-house tortillas made from blue corn sourced from Bow & Arrow of the Ute Mountain Ute tribe, along with locally-sourced meats, proteins and produce. Al pastor pork will be roasted in traditional style on a rotisserie and served with the requisite pineapple slivers for that pop of sweet with the savory. Cochinitas, a slow-roasted marinated pork traditionally wrapped in banana leaves and roasted for days in the ground, will be on offer alongside barbacoa, locally sourced buffalo tongue lengua and Baja-style fish tacos.

Vegetarians have options too: char-grilled mushrooms with herbs and calabacitas with stewed black beans offer non-meat proteins for the herbivores.

“Los Buenos Tacos boys — their tacos are mind blowing,” said Chris Fish, co-founder and brewmaster of Telluride Brewing Company (TBC). “It’s very exciting to pair our beers up with these tacos. We’re really excited about this partnership.”

While the brewery had been thinking about opening up a second location for years, it wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that the idea to bring a brewpub to Mountain Village began to crystallize with assistance from the Town of Mountain Village Owners Association. 

“The Lawson Hill location is a little difficult if you don’t have a car or it’s not summer so you can’t bike,” said Tommy Thacher, TBC’s co-owner and president, explaining that the team had considered locations as far away as Montrose. “This location allows us to stay at home and grow our footprint in our own community, which is what it’s all about, and it allows us to reach a bigger audience.”

The brewpub also boasts an on-site brewing facility, with Fish concocting a variety of new styles and experimental small batch brews. An aficionado of Belgian-style beers, Fish is looking forward to embracing his love of traditional beers by brewing up old-world styles like tripels, saisons, farmhouse ales and Christmas beers.

“It’s a total fun zone,” said Fish of the new brewing space. “We’ll be using it for recipe development, pushing boundaries and diving into lots of traditional styles. We’ll be able to do a lot of stuff we couldn’t do on a large production scale down at Lawson.”

Of course, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the new brewpub will be open for take-out only for now. Fortunately, street tacos lend themselves well to eating outside or on the go, traditionally gobbled down by a roadside stand fresh off a piping-hot comal. Mountain Village’s plazas are “common consumption” areas as well, so patrons can also purchase take-away pints, crowlers and six-packs.

“Street tacos are meant to be eaten on the go,” said Swartz, noting that the brewpub is offering a “baker’s dozen” special, with an extra taco thrown in for free upon ordering a dozen. They’ll also be offering taco supplies to go, so DIY taco lovers can get their fix at home.

Between the food and the beer, “it’s an all-star team up here, super passionate about using the best ingredients,” said Thacher. “It’s a unique and fun partnership.”

JetBlue Welcomes Winter with First Flights Arriving in Telluride

JetBlue Airways

On Dec. 19, JetBlue announced its new winter seasonal service to Telluride, Colo. has begun with Flight #2325 from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and Flight #2540 from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) arriving at southwest Colorado’s Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ) at approximately 2 o’clock this afternoon.

“JetBlue’s new seasonal service in Telluride – via Montrose Regional Airport – is the latest example of JetBlue adapting its route map to better serve customers in this new travel environment,” said Andrea Lusso, vice president network planning, JetBlue. “At the same time, the new routes not only help us diversify our network, but also introduce another unique destination to our customer bases in our East and West Coast focus cities.”

JetBlue is the only airline to offer nonstop service between Montrose and New England, and offers a new choice for ski-bound travelers in Southern California. Supplemental nonstop service from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is scheduled on peak travel days around the President’s Day holiday.

Telluride – one of the premier ski destinations in the West – is just 90 minutes south of Montrose. Nestled within Southwest Colorado’s dramatic San Juan Mountains, Telluride is known for its world-class alpine skiing, awe-inspiring scenery and vibrant summer festival season. Telluride has been ranked the #1 Ski Resort in North America by Condé Nast five of the last six years.

Colorful Victorian-era homes, clapboard store fronts, boutiques, art galleries, gourmet restaurants, and historic buildings are set against a backdrop of 13,000-foot peaks, and complemented by the modern Mountain Village, a short, free gondola ride away. Skiers can glide straight into town and Mountain Village, with the majority of lodging within walking distance or a short shuttle (or gondola) ride to the renowned slopes of Telluride – a true ski-in/ski-out destination.