Delicious food awaits hungry skiers near Telluride’s slopes
A nighttime gondola ride takes guests from the town of Telluride, up the mountain.
By CHERYL NG COLLETT
Published: 09 March 2012 05:12 PM
TELLURIDE, Colo. — The powdery, soft snow is dry and blustery, as if the clouds above Telluride parted and dropped fine feathers upon the 14,000-foot peaks.
“We definitely got the winners’ share of early season’s storms, setting Telluride up with great conditions, and the snow has really turned on in the second half,” says Dave Riley, CEO of Telluride Ski Resort. Snow conditions report 11 inches of snowfall last week, with a 61-inch base — and more snow expected this week.
Perched at 10,000 feet, the outdoor bar and restaurant Bon Vivant, which opened this season, beckons exhilarated skiers hungry for rustic French cuisine, such as hearty French onion soup made with Coloradoapple cider. Its massive deck, sheltered from the elements by a giant 39-foot heated umbrella, boasts unrivaled views of rugged Palmyra Peak.
Underneath, a chef makes crepes. The bartender warms diners with hot coffee or chocolate spiked with Chambord or Grand Marnier and lashings of snowy whipped cream.
Restaurants like Bon Vivant speckled around Telluride let skiers dine without the inconvenience of being funneled into one general eating area. “In America, you eat to ski, but in Europe, you ski to eat,” Riley says. Telluride aims for the latter.
“Our best-kept secret on the mountain is the smokehouse, a small shack located behind Gorrono Ranch restaurant,” says Stephen Roth, the resort’s executive chef of culinary services. The menu includes rotisserie chicken, ribs and Kobe beef sandwiches.
And for the most elevated dining experience in North America, Roth recommends Alpino Vino, an intimate dining experience for 26 guests at 12,000 feet. “With the days a little longer now, the alpenglow from Alpino Vino is just spectacular,” he says.
A free gondola service connects the town of Telluride to Mountain Village, the epicenter of the resort, where all 18 ski lifts are currently open.
Cheryl Ng Collett is a Dallas freelance writer.
WHEN YOU GO
Telluride Regional Airport (TEX) is 5 miles from Telluride or 6 miles from Mountain Village. Or fly to Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ) and then take the Telluride Express shuttle to town. Tellurideexpress.com
Accommodations: Check Telluride Resort Lodging, tellurideresortlodging.com. The Hotel Madeline has luxurious condo-style rooms with convenient ski valet at the doorstep, in the heart of Mountain Village. 1-800-778-8581
Activities: Get details on lessons and outings at tellurideskiresort.com.
On-mountain dining highlights
Alpino Vino: The 26-seat Italian restaurant features a five-course prix-fixe menu. 21 years old and up. See Forever Run, Gold Hill Lift, 12,000 feet (accessible by snow cab).
Allred’s: Colorado cuisine and spectacular views located at the top of the Gondola Station St. Sophia, 10,551 feet.
Bon Vivant: French outdoor bar and restaurant. Polar Queen Express Lift.
Gorrono Ranch/The Smokehouse: American favorites in a casual outdoor setting. Misty Maiden run, Village Express Lift, 10,100 feet.
Tomboy Tavern: Gastropub located at Village Core, Village Express Lift.