Telluride takes top honors in Traveler magazine

World-class skiing along with unique services, such as Alpino Vino, the European-style chalet located at 11,996 feet near the top of Gold Hill, have made Telluride Ski Reosrt the No. 1 resort in North America, according to Condé Nast Travel magazine.

Only four days into its 40th season, Telluride Ski and Golf Company is celebrating being selected 
No. 1 Resort in North American by Condé Nast Traveler magazine.

Last year, Telluride was ranked third behind Beaver Creek and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia.

This year, the resort beat out those resorts along with such well-known ski destinations as Jackson Hole, Park City, Vail and Aspen.

“What a fabulous thing that everybody here is involved in a resort that made No. 1,” said Telluride owner Chuck Horning in an article in the Telluride Daily Planet. “It’s not based on statistics or how easy we are to get to, it’s based on the people who came here and rated all the resorts. We should be celebrating up and down the streets.”

The resort also received a No. 5 ranking in Ski Magazine’s reader survey, a poll of people who take their skiing and snowsports quite seriously.

“That’s just huge, to also get No. 5 in that one,” said Telluride spokesman Tom Watkinson. “Those really are dedicated skiers and boarders and to have them put us up there with resorts that have 1.8- or 2 million skiers a year really says something about Telluride and what we have to offer.”

Last year, Telluride attracted about 424,000 skier days, in a year in which the industry as a whole saw a decline in visits.

The top five in the Ski Magazine poll were Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.;  Deer Valley, Utah; Vail; and Telluride.

Rounding out the top 10 were Jackson Hole, Wyo.; Sun Valley, Idaho; Snowmass; Beaver Creek; and Cayons, Utah. For the first time, three Utah resorts placed in the top 10.

The Condé Nast survey ranked ski resorts on a five-point scale — excellent to poor ­—on such criteria as terrain and conditions; lifts and lines; après-ski/activities; and local dining and local ambience.

Telluride scored the highest in all categories except après ski, where it ranked second.

Telluride received a 94.3 overall on a 100-point scale.

Telluride Ski Resort’s Vice-President of Sales and Marketing Ken Stone said the resort will use the ranking in a new direct mail and email campaign.

“We have over 100,000 targeted individuals,” Stone said. “It’s a good way to catch their attention. We are able to use this boastfully in a way. It’s certainly something to be proud of.”

At the same time, the ski resort lost a bit of its history a month ago when French skiing champion Emile Allais died at a hospital in France at age 100.

A story in the Daily Planet recounted how Telluride ski area developer Joe Zoline hired Allais to come evaluate the potential for a ski area in the early 1970s.

Zoline, the story says, knew it would take someone of Allais’ reputation and knowledge to convince skiers from Denver and other distant areas that skiing at Telluride was as good or better than other choices.

“Allais’ vision and subsequent construction of the ski resort helped transform Telluride from sleepy mining town into a vibrant mountain community,” wrote Heather Sackett, associate editor for the Daily Planet.

A former coach of the French Olympic team, Allais won gold medals in the downhill, slalom and combined in the 1937 world championships and also helped popularize parallel skiing.

The expert run Allais Alley, a narrow, mogul-filled slope off the Apex Lift (Chair 6), is named in his honor.


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