By Colin Bane Thursday, Nov 7 2013
TELLURIDE SKI &
“I moved here nine years ago for the skiing after graduating from Colorado College and just absolutely fell in love with the town and the community here,” says Tommy Thacher, proprietor of Telluride Brewing “It’s a special place full of special folks, and you can just feel the awesome spirit throughout town.”
Thacher likes to kickstart his day at the Coffee Cowboy cart at 131 East Colorado Avenue before linking up Lift 8 to Lift 9 to get to his favorite runs. “I’m a big bumps skier, and Telluride has a lot of great steep terrain with a lot of bumps,” he says. “My favorites are Can’t-Make-‘Em, Spiral Stairs and Plunge. Those three will really get your legs burning.”
Telluride, which opens on November 28, has something for everybody, but Thacher — like a lot of locals — is partial to the resort’s most extreme offerings. “Over the last few years, Telluride has really stepped it up, opening a ton of killer new hike-to terrain in the Black Iron Bowl, Gold Hill Chutes and Palmyra Peak,” he says. “It’s really attracted a lot of new people to the resort and to the town.”
Splurge: “The number-one splurge in Telluride is a heli-skiing trip with Telluride Helitrax,” Thacher says. “People come back and just rave about it. Another must is to get yourself a pair of custom skis made by Pete Wagner of Wagner skis. Each of us here at the brewery got a pair last year with the Telluride Brewing logo on them, and those skis have revolutionized my skiing.” For high-end dining, try the five-course wine-pairing dinner at Alpino Vino; at nearly 12,000 feet, it’s billed as the highest-elevation restaurant in North America. Thacher’s favorite in town is chef Eliza Gavin‘s restaurant, 221 South Oak. “The nicest lodging in town is theNew Sheridan Hotel, because it’s super old-school. You get the time-machine feeling like it could be 100 years ago in there, and they also have a great restaurant, the Sheridan Chophouse. The Inn at Lost Creek is another high-end favorite.”
Ski bum tips: For more affordable lodging, Thacher suggests the Victorian Inn and the Mountainside Inn youth hostel. As for drinks and dining, there are plenty of happy-hour deals, but Thacher’s favorites include Oak BBQ, Floradora Saloon, and La Cocina’s. “Almost every restaurant downtown has half-off deals at happy hour, so you really can’t go wrong anywhere.” The best times for a ski bum to find lift-ticket and lodging deals in Telluride are during the early season (November 28-December 20), in February, and in the spring, March 20-April 6. The resort specifically caters to women with its Women’s Week sessions in January and February, and hosts the ten-day Telluride Gay Ski Week the last week of February.
Drink locally: “The Oak is a great spot to end your day, for the après-skiing, and they have great barbecue and specialize in bourbon,” Thacher says. “There’s also the Last Dollar Saloon, which the locals call ‘The Buck,’ and the New Sheridan Hotel bar. We have fifteen beers on tap here at the brewery, and they’re also basically everywhere in town that has a liquor license: the support we get from everyone in town is overwhelmingly awesome.” Try the Face-Down Brown, a 2012 Great American Beer Festival gold-medalist and 2012 World Beer Cup gold cup winner.