Oprah Buys Telluride Mountain Village $14 Million Dollar Home

Last year, media tycoon Oprah Winfrey purchased nearly sixty acres of land close to Colorado’s Telluride Ski Resort and has now purchased property close by for $14 million.

According to those with knowledge of the deal, Ms. Winfrey purchased a modern home with full furnishings in Mountain Village in an arrangement that closed in the previous week. The home is listed as having five bedrooms, 3.23 acres, and boasts 8,700 sq.ft.

The home comes complete with a steel-and-glass bridge over the great room and forty-five foot walkway which goes out to a tree-top deck equipped with a fire pit, both of which are thirty-five ft over the ground, according to its listing. The seller, Bob Wall, a retired technology executive, has stated the home has a fifty-six foot wine cellar created to resemble a tunnel used for mining. Mr. Wall states that It even includes its own cable railroad to take you straight to the slopes.

The house was originally on the market in 2009 for $15 million through Telluride Real Estate, but was unlisted and put back on the market last year for $13.75 million. When it was sold it was not formally listed. Mr. Wall chose to sell the house that was built in 2001 so he could spend more of his time in other places.

When Ms. Winfrey bought those sixty acres in Mountain Village back in 2014 she had intentions to construct a home there. Those acquainted with the deal have said that Oprah will be using this house as somewhere to lodge while overseeing the building of the new house.

Matthew Hintermeister, a Telluride real estate agent, was not a part of the deal but has shown this home to potential buyers, stated that it is on a private road and has very chic construction. In addition, he said that is wasn’t uncommon for residents in Telluride to rent or purchase a home temporarily during construction of a permanent home.

Top 4 Skiing Zones in Telluride

Let the skiing begin! Telluride opened Thanksgiving day, and our last storm dumped 26” of fresh snow! The snowmaking crew has been working hard, and Ski Patrol has been checking and opening more terrain. All of this excitement has made me think of the way I ski Telluride. I like to think of the resort in terms of zones of difficulty, in much the same way that runs are given ratings with a green square (beginner terrain), a blue circle (intermediate), or a black diamond (expert). These zones are useful when trying to avoid wasting time getting from place to place. Before you formulate a plan, assess the current conditions, your goals, and your ability.

I took a 2013 trail map (courtesy of Telluride Ski Resort) and drew my zones right on top. Let’s start in Mountain Village and work uphill.

updated map tellurideGreen Zone

The green zone includes lift 1 (Chondola), Lift 10 (Sunshine Express), and Lift 11 (Ute Park). This terrain is really fun to ski with beginners. I’ve taken kids from the Adaptive program here when they were just beginning to ski, and it was great. Mellow slopes and wide runs are characteristic of the terrain here, but there are a few more challenging sections where you can pick up some speed, if that’s what you’re after. If you have young skiers, laps on the Chondola are a nice quick option, close to the warmth of the village. Lift 10 will provide excellent longer runs. I typically don’t ski here myself unless there isn’t new snow around, and conditions are cold and fast. In that case, there can be some fun jibbing opportunities, and a few interesting “secret” tree runs.

Blue Zone

The blue zone includes lifts 4 (Village), 5 (Polar Queen), and 12 (Prospect). Most of the terrain from these lifts is intermediate, and is steep enough to be excellent on a good powder day. Laps on lift 4 will be fun on a weekday, but during weekends I would head over to lifts 5 or 12. The three lifts should really be distinct zones, because it is difficult to move between them. Pick one and stay for several laps.

Black Zone

The black zone is huge. It covers much of the mountain, and is probably the main reason why Telluride Ski Resort is so wonderful. It includes lifts 7 (Coonskin), 8 (Oak St.), 9 (Plunge), 6 (Apex), 14 (Gold Hill), and 15 (Revelation). If snow has fallen, I usually assess the wind loading, follow the sun, and pick an area within this zone. For the steepest skiing I prefer the Telluride town side, and like to do laps on lift 9. You can ski lifts 14 and 15 as though they were on the same side of the mountain, although 15 takes you back into Revelation Bowl. Lift 6 holds wonderful tree skiing, and some of the lines between 6 and 15 are very intense.

Red Zone

The red zone includes all of the in-bounds terrain that you can hike to. I’d recommend wearing an avalanche beacon and carrying a shovel and probe in most of this zone. You should know how to use them too—go ahead and practice in Beacon Basin, a little spot with switchable buried transceivers and target pads on the way from lift 5 to 12. Check with a lift operator or ski patrol, they’ll let you know where to practice (and which areas are open). You can access the incredible hike-to terrain from 3 places. From the top of lift 15 you can head out to the Gold Hill Chutes. These are extremely steep and rarely open. When they are the hike and subsequent ride can be very memorable. From the top of lift 12 you can access the Black Iron Bowl and Palmyra Peak. The first run is just a few feet from the lift, so don’t miss the opportunity to get fresh tracks for a minimal hiking investment. The hike to the peak is much longer, but the payoff is an incredible. The third area is Bald Mountain, which can be accessed by a trailhead at its base off of the Galloping Goose trail.

Wherever you decide to ski, go with a partner and a plan, and let someone know where you will be.

Brad Wilson is a technical writer. This year he celebrates his 21st season on a snowboard by skipping work more frequently on snow days.

Telluride Holiday Events

With the holidays fast approaching it may be overwhelming to choose which holiday events you want to attend in Telluride. We have put together this list of some of our favorite events happening this holiday season:

The Holiday Prelude– Dec. 2–13, is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. Featuring a lineup of events for the whole family. The two week festival includes a variety of events including lighting of the Ski Tree, cookie decorating, card making, sitting with Santa, train rides for kids, and a Ride to the North Pole on the Gondola Express.The Mountain Village is offering a variety of free events the weekend of Dec. 11-13.

Schmid Ranch Christmas:- Find your Christmas tree from the Schmid Family Ranch forest, make a wreath, enjoy homemade hot cocoa and more! The Schmid Family Ranch is a Centennial farm on Wilson Mesa, about ten miles West of Telluride, Colorado. This event is FREE and open to the public, 12-4 p.m.

Ski Tree Lighting Celebrate the lighting of Telluride’s Ski Tree, constructed of recycled skis donated by the community, followed by a ceremonial ski burn to favor the old Norse god Ullr, Patron Saint of Skiers. DJ Soul Atomic will perform during the festivities. Senior Mahoney, will be the guest of honor at the lighting ceremony. Senior was instrumental in the founding and development of the Telluride Ski Resort.

Trip to the North Pole

The magic starts at the Oak Street gondola station where the free gondola is being transformed into a Trip to the North Pole. Visit Santa, make an ornament with one of his elves, decorate a cookie and enjoy free hot chocolate in Heritage Plaza from 3-6pm on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 11 & 12.

The North Pole On Ice

December 11 @ 6:30 pm – December 12 @ 9:00 pm: “The North Pole on Ice” show will feature International and National ice skating medalists with two pair teams, a male soloist, and a female soloist. You don’t want to miss this show filled with triple jumps, dizzying spins, creative pair lifts, death spirals, and even a back flip. The shows are scheduled on the Mountain Village Ice Rink on both Friday and Saturday, December 11 & 12 at 6:30 p.m.

Santa’s Pajama Breakfast

December 13 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am: On Sunday morning, December 13th, bring the kids into Palmyra for our Santa’s Pajama Breakfast, a great opportunity for photos with Santa and a cheerful holiday breakfast.

Telluride Holiday Pop-Up Market

December 20 @ 1:00 pm – December 21 @ 6:00 pm: Shop Local. Shop Independent. Shop handcrafted.  A two day event featuring talents from our San Juan region. Cider and treats will be served.

Restaurant Review: Baked in Telluride

Baked in Telluride has been around for nearly 40 years. The real reason that I come back time after time is the quality and food selection. The doughnut case is absolutely stunning, and there is a great selection of artisan breads and bagels. For breakfast, I opt for their flavorful and cheesy breakfast burritos and flaky, buttery scones. Pizza is hot and ready by the slice, and I recently noticed that they serve all sorts of salads, too.  They serve set-meal style dinners for $9.99 and offer different weekday specials like calzones and spaghetti and meatballs. Additionally, they are a top notch bakery with cakes, crisps, twists, cookies, and all the other concoctions that no other bakery in Telluride offers.

I ordered a feta and spinach stuffed crescent, a slice of veggie pizza, and a coffee refill. I am partially convinced that the crescent was magical. I could probably write an essay about it. I encourage you to try for yourself—you will not be disappointed. You can’t get baked oven style pizza as good as this anywhere else in Telluride. My coffee was hot and flavorful, the way I like it.

You can tell the owner puts his heart and soul into this place. From the bakery, to the pizza, to the sandwiches and even $9.99 dinner specials, you can’t beat the quality. For owner, the greatest satisfaction is knowing the bakery is a part of Telluride’s everyday life. “My business model is to see my customers, locals and tourists, at least once a day.”

If you find yourself hungry in Telluride, Baked In Telluride is a perfect solution morning through nightfall. They’re open 5:30 am to 10:00 pm, and they deliver around town, or cater up to 100 people.

You can visit their website at www.bakedintel.com, or just stop in on your way through town. Next time you’re in Telluride, treat yourself to the best bakery around—I’ll see you there!

Brad Wilson is a technical writer and a wannabe local who loves Telluride like deep-sea divers love finding treasure.

6 Tips for Renting Ski Equipment

Enhance your experience with these expert tips.

Travelling with ski or snowboard equipment can be an encumbering experience, and experienced skiers and snowboarders know that renting equipment can be a great way to lighten your load and make your ski-trip a little easier. Comfortable boots and familiar skis are nice, but it’s no fun to carry bulky bags that flop in all the wrong spots. Take into account airline baggage fees for oversize and overweight bags and you may decide that renting equipment is a good financial decision as well. You might even end up liking your rented gear more than your own!

  1. Paperwork.
  • If you have a large group, call ahead to give the rental technicians time to prepare. If you know foot sizes and ski preferences for your party the shop may pre-package your gear for quicker setup. Don’t bring a large group in to get set up right before closing time—best to start early the next day.
  • Typically when you arrive you’ll be asked to complete some basic information. Most shops will have computers set up to make the process easy. Complete and print forms for every person who will be renting equipment.
  • The technicians are going to need to know what level of skier you consider yourself. No need to be overconfident in your abilities—this (along with your height and weight) determines the release settings for your bindings. So, safety first! You’ll be a type I (beginner), II (intermediate), or III (advanced) skier. If you’ll be hiking Palmyra peak or other hike-to terrain, or are just a super-aggressive shredder, you’ll be a type III+.
  • You’ll also select your package at this stage. Most shops will offer several levels of equipment. Click here for help selecting the best package.

2.  Boots.

  • Wear just one pair of ski-socks. I prefer a good knee-high snowboard specific wool blend sock. Avoid cotton socks, ankle socks, and multiple pairs of socks. I promise—three socks will not keep your feet warmer, it will only decrease circulation and lead to cold feet.
  • Don’t use toe warmers in your ski boots. They’ll really mess with your fit. Think about the poor technician who will be pulling your stinky toe warmer out at the end of the day!
  • If you use arch support or custom insoles, bring them. Let the technician who is fitting your boot know right away that you’d like to use your own insoles.     

3. Skis and Snowboards.

  • Usually it’s best to let your friendly ski tech choose a size for you. If you’re very familiar with a specific size go ahead and request it. Big foot snowboarders- request a wide board.
  • Take a look at your bases right away. Are they dry, white, or fuzzy? No good. Ask your tech for a freshly waxed ride, or you’ll be stuck in the flats all day while your friends whiz by.
  • While you’re inspecting your shred sticks, make sure that the edges are completely intact and free of major burrs. Most shops charge for blown edges, and you don’t want to be responsible for someone else’s error.
  • Razor sharp edges are not necessary, or even helpful. Your edges should be relatively sharp in the mid-section of the ski or snowboard, but deburred (more rounded) at the tip and tail. This keeps you on your feet and off of your face.
  • Excluding waxing issues, there is no such thing as a “fast” ski. If you want a performance ski, pay a little more for the upgrade package.

4. Helmets, Poles, and Accessories.

  • Don’t settle for the first helmet you try. Make sure your helmet fits well (it’s your brain in there!) and is compatible with your goggles before you leave the shop.
  • Don’t have goggles? Buy some. Even cheap goggles are pretty dang good these days, and most shops will sell to you as you check out.
  • Don’t forget your poles. To get the right length flip one upside down and grab the pole just above the basket. Your arm should be bent at a 90 degree angle.
  • Checkout is a good time to grab hand warmers, snacks, and sunscreen. After all, it’s Telluride, and there’s going to be blazing sunshine at some point.

5. Choose the best equipment for your level.

Most shops will offer a junior package, a standard package, an upgrade package, and a demo package.

Junior Packages include smaller gear, but the main difference is that these are typically for kids under 12. If your 12 year old has huge feet, the techs will put him in standard boots. If your little girl is a shredder, ask to see if the shop has junior sized demo gear.

Standard Packages usually include boots with three buckles instead of four and skis with a softer flex. If you are a beginner, these skis are usually a little more forgiving, and tend to wash-out through turns rather than hold an edge. The boots will be comfortable but offer a little less support. Remember, as a beginner or intermediate skier you might prefer comfort over performance.

Upgrade Packages will typically include four buckle boots and stiffer, more aggressive skis. If you are an intermediate skier, this is the package that will give you the best results. The skis will typically be more responsive, and the boots offer greater support and adjustability.

Demo Packages should be top-of-the-line equipment. Intermediate and expert skiers will benefit most from demos. Demo skis are a good way to sample the newest technology. Maximize your field testing by switching to a different setup after lunch.

6. The most important tip of all: tip your technicians.

The guys and gals of Telluride rental shops might seem to be living it up, but chasing the dream doesn’t always buy lunch. A ten dollar investment here will earn you the best fitting boots, fastest skis, and friendliest service in the west.

Telluride has more than a few rental options. Check with your lodging—they may provide rental discounts. Some companies will deliver equipment right to your room, and others offer specialty equipment. The best bet is to call ahead to confirm availability and other details.

Black Tie Ski Rentals

Boot Doctors

Christy Sports

Gravity Works

Ski Butlers

Telluride Sports

Special thanks to the crew at Boot Doctors for the good advice!

About the author: Brad Wilson is a super-snow-geek and ex-rental shop manager. Keep an eye out for him at Telluride—he’ll be tele-skiing backwards or hiking his snowboard up Bald Mountain.

Telluride Ski Resort Winter 2016

Enhance Your Skiing or Snowboarding with Skill-Specific Camps in 2016

Biomechanics Camp: Looking to ski more efficiently so that you can ski longer? Consider enrolling in the Ski and Snowboard School’s Biomechanics Camp that helps people of all ages learn to ski efficiently and in a way that decreases stress on the body. Dr. Kim Hewson, Orthopedic Surgeon, former Director of Sports Medicine at the University of Arizona and a lead Telluride Ski School Instructor has refined a scientific-based biomechanics approach that will be taught at this camp.

Dates: January 15th – 18th

Making Friends with Moguls: Do you find mogul runs intimidating and avoid them on the mountain? Then this camp is for you. This two-day camp will help you make friends with moguls and develop confidence in blue-level mogul fiends while skiing in a small group setting with like-minded skiers. The camp will start out slowly with proven exercises and progressions to get you to your goals.  

Dates: Camp 1: January 20th – 21st;

Camp 2: February 29th – March 1st

Silver Skiers Program: For the 2015-2016 season, the Telluride Ski and Snowboard School is offering a special program for skiers 50 years young and up. Two sessions consisting of four Thursdays each will match coaches from the senior ski school staff with smaller groups and will make skiing fun, relaxed and enjoyable for fellow seniors. The program is designed for novice/cruisers through advanced/hard-core skiers and is meant to focus on the camaraderie formed through skiing with people of similar skill level and with similar interests.

Session 1: January 7 – January 28

Session 2: February 4 – March 3 (*Please note there will be no session on February 18, President’s Week*)

Notable Adventures for 2015-2016

The Telluride Adventure Center serves as a winter adventure hub for anyone looking to get their adrenaline pumping in Telluride. From heli-skiing to snowmobiling to fat biking and ice climbing, the Telluride Adventure Center can assist in helping you take an adventure of a lifetime off the slopes.

Five Reasons to Book your Telluride Ski Vacation Now

Conde Nast Traveler readers have voted Telluride their favorite ski destination for the past 3 years in a row saying “Telluride rises above the rest with its no-nonsense attitude, a healthy mix of ski bums and artists, gorgeous location (300 inches of snow and 300 days of sunshine every year), and sublime winter sports.” JetCharters.com has voted Telluride the best ski destination for 2015 saying, “What was once a remote mining camp for silver and gold prospectors has become the top ski destination in the country,” said Robert Hart, president at JetCharters.com.

If you need more reasons to pack up for Telluride check these out:

1. No Lift lines

The town only has a population of about 2,500 people. Pair that with the fact that they have numerous ski lifts to get you to the top of the mountains, and you can bet on not having to waste your time waiting around.

2. Gondola

When visiting Telluride you can also stay in the neighboring town of Mountain Village, 9,500 feet above the valley. These two towns are connected by a free Gondola. The first free, green transportation of its kind, nothing in the U.S. compares to the Telluride Gondola. The ride is just 13 minutes, but you will wish that it was much longer while you are taking in all the beautiful scenery that the ride has to offer. Additionally, the gondola can also take you to nearby Uncompahgre National Forest and Telluride Ski Resort.

3. Resorts

Telluride is home to several amazing resorts including Telluride Ski Resort which offers 127 trails and over 2,000 acres. Besides skiing, make sure to enjoy a beer by the fire. SweetWater Brewing Company and Telluride Brewing Company have just announced they will be official sponsors of the resort for ski season, an added bonus for us. Dine at Allred’s their flagship restaurant, with a wine program that boasts a 1,000 bottle wine list. Chef Mike Regrut’s concept of ‘comfort American food with classical French influences’ make us want to eat there every night.

The Peaks Resort and Spa (owned by Telluride Ski Resort), a ski-in/ski-out full service hotel, features 177 guest rooms, a 42,000 square foot spa with 32 treatment rooms, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and 9,100 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. You can relax in their luxury hotel and take in all the beautiful scenery, dine at their top notch restaurants, pamper yourself with their full spa menu, or hit the slopes.

4. Secret Foodie Destination

Telluride may be predominately known for it’s skiing, but it is quickly becoming a foodie hot spot from the best craft burgers to four-course dining. Forbes recently gave 10 reasons why.

Telluride is also home to America’s highest altitude restaurant, Alpino Vino, where you can chow down at 12,000 feet. You have to take a gondola to get to the restaurant where you will  then take an enclose snow coach where you will enjoy views of the Wilson Range. When you arrive, you will experience jazz music, a fire in the middle of the restaurant as well as be able to enjoy your Italian cuisine.  Be warned that there are only 26 seats in the whole restaurant, so I would call ahead before you arrive.

5. Scenery

Coors. Ever heard of it? We have. The mountain on the can, Mount Wilson, is what you see in the Telluride area. Nothing in Telluride can quite compare to their biggest attraction, the San Juan Mountains. They surround the town with breathtaking 13,000 and 14,000-foot peaks that provide the most beautiful backdrop that you could possibly want being the largest mountain range in Colorado. 

Additionally, Telluride has two beautiful waterfalls that are a must see for vacationers, 365-foot Bridal Veil Falls and 280-foot Ingram Falls. Visitors should also plan on exploring the Telluride Historic District. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also one of Colorado’s 20 National Historic Landmarks.


Telluride Scenic Fall Drives

Telluride is famously known for its incredible terrain providing over 2,000 skiable acres in the winter, as well as endless summer activities which include: festivals, hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing, stand up paddle boarding, off road adventures, paragliding, and climbing. Although winter and summer are our two most popular seasons, visitors are quickly catching on the benefits of visiting in the fall.

Fall’s beautiful colors and slower pace is a great time to visit the box canyon. Telluride’s natural beauty provides the perfect backdrop to soak in the changing seasons. The shift from summer to winter is characterized by changing aspens, crisp air, and snow high up on the peaks. While it isn’t the longest season, it’s certainly one of the most beautiful times to be in Telluride. The aspens growing across the mountains shift from their summer green hues, first turning lime before altering into varying shades of yellow. As each clump of trees turns at their own rate, the mountainsides are awash with pigment like a watercolor painting. As the temperatures continue to drop and the sun starts to go down sooner, the leaves continue to deepen in hue eventually hitting the toasted yellow colors we refer to as Gold Season. The height of leaf peeping is usually about two to three weeks around Blues and Brews Festival and lasting until the first or second week of October depending on the year. Once the leaves begin to fall from their branches, the ground carries on the color and makes you feel as though you’re walking down a yellow brick road.

A great way to take in the region is by car and we have included some of our favorite fall drives. This is a perfect time to meander through the beautiful mountains of the San Juans.

Here are two of our favorites:

Dallas Divide
Head west on 145 again and go down valley. Take note of how the landscape changes with the elevation drop. The trees in Telluride typically shift first because of the cooler temperatures and smaller amount of sun. Towns on the way, like Sawpit and Placerville, tend to be a few days (or sometimes even a week) behind Telluride when it comes to leaf changing. When you get to the T intersection after Placerville, take a right like you’re headed to Ridgway. This is an interesting drive because first you lose elevation and then you gain it back. Initially, the road winds along the river but eventually starts to climb as you start to head up and over Dallas Divide. You’ll pass the famed Double RL Ranch on your right which belongs to Ralph Lauren. There are plenty of beautiful aspens along this drive and incredible views of the Sneffels Range. It’s great to see these peaks from the other side as it offers a different perspective of the mountains than what you view in Telluride. There are plenty of places to pull over and stop, so make sure to take your camera! You can continue over Dallas Divide and head on into the quaint town of Ridgway. There are great little shops and some wonderful restaurants like Taco Del Gnar and Eatery 66.

Trout Lake, Lizard Head Pass & Rico
Drive out of the box canyon and take your third right at the roundabout. This puts you on 145 South, towards Durango. First you’ll head up Lawson Hill and pass the turn for Mountain Village on the left. As you continue to drive, you’ll see expansive views of the Wilson Range. This might look familiar as it is the same peaks used in the label on the Coors can. There are a few scenic overlooks to stop and take photos, and further down the road is the historic town of Ophir. This is a very windy alpine road with beautiful mountain views. Eventually you’ll come up to Trout Lake; a beautiful serene lake surrounded by aspens. This area is absolutely breathtaking. The calm water is a perfect place to snap a shot of the changing leaves reflected in the lake. Continue driving south which will take you over Lizard Head Pass (named after the rock that early settlers thought looked like a lizard’s head popping out of the ground) to the historic town of Rico. There isn’t much there, but a few restaurants and a great dive bar. Stop in and enjoy yourself and the beautiful surroundings before returning to Telluride.


Four Best Burgers in Telluride

Telluride is a haven for food fanatics. There is a restaurant for every taste bud ranging from the staple Grilled Cheese Cart to a $175 40 oz. Porterhouse steak from the famed Chop House. As much as we all love high end dining (as well as grabbing a quick bite from a food cart) there is something distinctly enjoyable about biting into a juicy hamburger prepared to perfection.

This great American food staple has evolved over the years from your basic patty on a bun with a little ketchup and mayo on top. In fact, the burger seems to have taken on an art form of it’s own, lending itself to creative interpretation. As such a staple, it’s practically a requirement now to have a burger on the menu, and not just for casual dining. High end eateries are crafting their own versions with designer ingredients and special grills to cook them on. With all the options out there what is it that makes a truly great burger and sets one restaurant’s option apart from the eatery across the street? Is it the creativity? Ingredient sourcing? Sauces? Bun? Perhaps personal preference–we’ll let you decide.

As any true western town, Telluride has no lack of burger options. In this quaint community of only 2,700 year round residents, there are no less than 10 different places to sink your teeth into a juicy patty. So to simplify things for you we’ve chosen four of our favorite burger spots between both Telluride and Mountain Village.

Bargain Burger: Diggity Dog
Sure it’s not glamorous, but you can’t complain about the price point or the large selection of toppings to add. Another positive is the quick counter front service, and its Mountain Village location doesn’t hurt either. It’s located in Heritage Plaza right in the Mountain Village Core just a stone’s throw away from the Gondola and Village Express Chair Four (the ski area’s main access point). Quick, affordable and convenient—perfect for ski bums on the go.

Creative Burgers: Flora Dora
The Flora Dora serves some of the best burgers in town and has quite a varied list of options for you to choose from. Most are named after locals who frequent this longstanding family-owned and operated restaurant. Of course there is always the basic burger, however, why not branch out and try something with bacon wrapped poppers, chipotle aioli on foccacini bread? If that’s not hitting the spot you might be interested in the Conlin Burger topped with fried mac ‘n’ cheese. Make sure not to overlook Josh’s Brie Burger, complete with watercress, avocado and habanero fig compote. For those watching what they eat, they have a killer Paleo Burger which includes: oyster mushrooms, egg, bacon, avocado, lemon herb aioli and sweet potato hash. This is the spot for the discerning burger eater looking for something creative and different.

Variety and Options: Palmyra at The Peaks
Palmyra is a beautiful spot that faces due west overlooking the iconic Wilson range. As far as sunset views go, you can’t beat their outdoor deck or floor to ceiling windows. They focus on Colorado sourced food and have multiple options for burger lovers. Their menu includes five different burgers: Simple, Peaks, Lonestar, Pandora, and Lux. Each has it’s own garnishes and toppings, such as, fried onions on the Lonestar and pork belly jam on the Lux. Meat options include: Colorado Wagyu, Beef, Lamb, Chicken, or House Made Black Bean and Quinoa (vegetarian). Each burger is paired with French fries or a side salad unless you would like to substitute for sweet potato tater tots or soup. We highly recommend the sweet potato tots! If that is not enough options for you, you can add cheddar, swiss, pepperjack, bleu cheese, avocado, bacon (because that should always be an option) jalapeno, pico de gallo, and a fried egg to any burger of your choosing. The options are so extensive it’s tough to decide what to order. We recommend hitting it right at sunset and getting the Burger and Beer special which includes a Simple Burger and a Sierra Nevada beer for just $10! It’s such a sweet deal we considered it for our Bargain Burger, but alas, with all those options we thought it would be best for someone who likes to personalize their patty.

Best Ingredients: Smugglers Brewpub
Telluride’s only true brewpub, Smugglers, named after one of the region’s top producing mines, has an incredible selection of food and craft beer. At any given time, the pub serves between 15 and 20 house made beers to complement their well curated dishes. The pub faire menu sources local ingredients within 100 miles of the Telluride region (quite a feat considering our high elevation location). No pub would be complete without an incredible burger on their menu. Smugglers works with local ranchers to source all of their meats. The burgers are made from cows that roam the valley here in Telluride. This helps support the local community as well as provide the freshest possible ingredients for their dishes. We also like the ever changing and rotating menu. With locally sourced products and a rotating selection, this is great for visitors who come to Telluride frequently.

No matter what you’re looking for burger-wise you’re sure to find it in the box canyon. From the grab & go cheap-o, to toppings like habanero fig capote, as well as locally sourced meat, there’s no excuse to have a bad burger while in Telluride. The biggest decision you might have to make is how not to eat a burger every night!

Telluride Blues and Brews Festival 2015

After another remarkable weekend at the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival it is easy to understand why this event is one of the region’s most popular music celebrations. In a town that plays host to a multitude of festivals each summer,Telluride Blues and Brews stands out for its remarkable line-ups, flawless execution, and encouragement of character.

Last Friday night was the “Sharp Dressed Fan Contest” where festival goers could win weekend passes for next year’s festival by donning the best costume for that night’s headliner, ZZ Top. Plenty of people went above and beyond just donning ‘cheap sunglasses’. This was a great way to get the crowd excited for that ‘little ol’ band from Texas,’ ZZ Top. The crowd didn’t need much encouragement as it was buzzing with energy before they took the stage. Everyone moved forward to get a glimpse of the legendary group as they opened with Got Me Under Pressure and continued to rock through some of their classics like Waitin’ for the Bus, and Jesus Just Left Chicago. All of Town Park sang along as they played the well-known tune I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide. Telluride’s altitude of 8,750 feet didn’t seem to be affecting the lowland band as they continued to rock through the night ending with not just one, but two encores. They sent the crowd home with a cover of Merle Travis’ Sixteen Candles.

Luckily the music didn’t stop once the last band left Town Park stage. From there, festival goers fled to the Juke Joint shows taking place at various venues around town. Only in its second year, the Blues Stage located in the Hanley Pavilion hosted Houma, Louisiana blues artist Tab Benoit followed by Rich Robinson Friday night. The spacious venue holds stadium style movie theater seating in the back—a perfect way to accommodate those who want to be up close to dance, and offer seating to those who are tired from dancing all day in the sun. Both artists put on solid performances closing out a great first day to the festival.

Saturday had the biggest attendance thanks to the Grand Tasting. This year, 56 breweries participated with over 170 different beers to try. There seemed to be hops everywhere in hats, backpacks, even worn around the neck! This year’s best of fest went to Roaring Fork Beer Company, a returning champion.

Saturday’s lineup was so  energetically entertaining it’s hard to narrow down a highlight. Austin group, Bright Light Social Hour, kicked off the day to an engaged audience. This was their second time playing the festival and they did not disappoint. San Francisco based band, Monophonics played an incredible set vivaciously belting out soulful tunes that echoed off the box canyon walls. Adding to their performance was French special guest, Ben I’Oncle. His smooth voice, a combination of Bob Marley and John Legend, slowed the band down into a nice deep rhythm. Perineal favorite Anders Osborne rocked the stage with his gritty New Orleans blues. Eric McFadden played some incredible riffs while John Gros, formerly of Papa Grows Funk, laid down some killer New Orleans piano lines. No mention of this show would be complete without highlighting Carl Dufrene’s hard hitting bass work. Dufrene passionately plays bass with his entire body, pounding out an undeniable foot stomping sound while Ander never fails to deliver both on guitar and vocals. The band was just as pleased with their performance as the crowd was beaming ear to ear in pure happiness as the crowd went wild.

Next up, the Queen of Soul herself, Miss Sharon Jones was backed up by The Dap-Kings. Emerging on stage in a gold sequin top and iridescent teal trousers, she set the scene to blow attendees away with her incredible vocals. Soul music produced a full sound elevating the crowd to new heights. Once again, festival goes exited town park ecstatic after the incredible day of music they had seen.

Sunday brought gospel music. The festival opened with the Blind Boys of Alabama followed by Leo “Bud” Welch—both legends in their own right. The Blind Boys of Alabama performed their blend of traditional and contemporary gospel, and Leo “Bud” Welch brought authentic rural Mississippi blues sound, hard to find outside of the south. One festival favorite came later in the afternoon, New Orleans band, The Revivalists, took the stage. This energetic group blends funky New Orleans horns with ragtime keys and strong vocals. Their performance is what sets them apart as each player is engaged. Energetic and lively, they had the crowd moving shaking and throwing their hands in the air.

Bringing the crowd back to their bluesy roots was Legendary blues musician Taj Mahal with his group, the Taj Mahal Trio. Performances like these keep Blues and Brews authentic and music fans coming back year after year. This was not the last time we saw Taj on stage.

Finishing out the evening was Gregg Allman. He opened the show with I’m No Angel and swapped between playing the organ and guitar performing songs like Melissa, Whipping Post, and Midnight Rider. The highlight of the night was Taj Mahal sitting in to whom Allman credited with getting him into the “boogie business.” They performed a favorite of The Allman Brothers Band, Statesboro Blues, written by Blind Willie McTell. Allman’s performance was back by a fantastic band including Marc Quinones, percussionist of the Allman Brothers, as well as a keyboardist, lead guitarist, drummer and horn section. The horn section offered a nice diversity to his sound playing riffs on the sax that Allman typically does vocally. While remaining bluesy it produced a rounder, fuller and more soulful sound. He closed out his set with Dickie Betts’ tune Southbound.

The performances on Sunday were a perfect way to round out the festival. A little more down tempo and relaxed, everyone left a little more kicked back and satisfied with the weekend of music they had experienced. From Juke Joints to Town Park Stage, there is no lack of talent at Telluride Blues and Brews 2015 was the best year yet and will have some tough competition to follow. Cheers!