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Telluride – Colorado, U.S.A.

Festival Capital of the Rockies

Isolated in a box canyon surrounded by the highest concentration of 14,000- foot peaks in the United States, Telluride has a well-earned reputation among high-octane vertical ski buffs, vacationing celebs seeking a low-profile hiding place, and Victoriana-seekers looking to experience the charm of its gold-and silver-rush days. It’s one of the best preserved of the old Western ski towns, with a smattering of dirt roads, a laid-back local population, and a main street that seems little changed since the day when Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank here, on June 24, 1889.

Still, things are happening in Telluride. For one, the town is known as the festival capital of the Rockies, with more than twenty-five events planned between May and September, including the Bluegrass Festival (June), the Jazz Festival (August) and the Film Festival (Labor Day weekend). For another, the budget for ski improvements and maintenance year-round is obvious everywhere. Of the eighty-five ski trails and 2,500 acres of gorgeous Rockies terrain, more than two-thirds are given over to beginners and intermediates, while experts rank the steeps among the toughest in the country. The See Forever trail (the name may not be completely accurate, but close enough) is Telluride’s longest, with views of Utah from its 360-degree starting point. For the town’s (and maybe America’s) best freebie, take the breathtaking 12-minute ride aboard the Gondola, connecting Telluride with neighboring Mountain Village.

Outside town, the Wyndham Peaks Resort & Golden Door Spa offers unmatched views of southwest Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, as well as of the hotel and spa’s own 42,000- square-foot mountain enclave. The latest in lap-of-luxury comfort tempts guests to just stay in and skip the slopes, or at least to rush back happily at day’s end.

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