SKI - - WEST - —Stephen Sebestyen

Tucked neatly in South­west­ern Colorado’s dra­matic San Juan Moun­tains, amid aspen groves and crys­tal clear skies, the nat­u­ral beauty of Tel­luride is hard to over­state. Read­ers main­tain the re­sort is “one of the most beau­ti­ful spots in the world” and has the “best scenery in ski­ing.” But the moun­tains are for more than just look­ing at: Tel­luride of­fers amaz­ing ski­ing for peo­ple of all abil­i­ties. If groomers are your thing, check the crisp cor­duroy un­der the Vil­lage Ex­press lift. Bumps more your style? The Plunge lift has you cov­ered. Still yearn­ing for more steep, tech­ni­cal ter­rain? Drop into Dy­namo and hold on tight. Read­ers high­light “chal- lenges ga­lore” (No. 7) and trail va­ri­ety (No. 10) that “brings even more tech­ni­cal ter­rain and fam­ily fun into the fold.” Be­tween the moun­tain, the lo­cals who ski it, and the town be­low, it’s no sur­prise that Tel­luride is ranked No. 1 in Char­ac­ter again this year, with a quaint down­town tucked into a scenic box canyon. Hike, bike, shop, eat, drink—all from Tel­luride’s main drag. High ranks in Din­ing (No. 6) and Lodg­ing (No. 5) sup­port the town ex­pe­ri­ence, though get­ting here ain’t easy. But then, read­ers say, it does help pre­serve Tel­luride’s “quin­tes­sen­tial Colorado ex­pe­ri­ence,” which is no small feat in this day and age.

BRAG­GING RIGHTS When the snow­pack and ski patrol al­low, hike the ridge­line to­wards Palmyra Peak, and drop into the Gold Hill Chutes. Steep, fast, and tech­ni­cal, and stupidly fun.

DIN­NER PICK Ac­ces­si­ble via gon­dola, Allred’s Restau­rant is perched be­tween town and moun­tain, and serves up con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can cui­sine, fine wines, and breath­tak­ing views. Be sure to get there be­fore sun­down.

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