Skiing in Telluride with kids
When we planned a trip to go skiing in Telluride, CO for Spring Break last year, I knew we were stepping up to the big leagues as far as mountain resorts go. You can read my tips on getting kids started skiing here.
We stayed in the house of a friend within the town of Telluride. The town boasts amazing shops and restaurants. Although there are several bases to ski down to, Mountain Village is the center of the skiing activity in Telluride.
Per their website, Telluride has over 2,000 acres of skiable terrain. 36% of it is intermediate level and 41% is advanced skiing, which is perfect for us. We stuck to 4 or 5 lifts with lots of different run choices. Hubby and I tend to tackle advanced (black diamond) runs in the morning while our legs are still fresh. One big plus is that our ski time with the boys never got boring and repetitive. It was nice to be able to ski down to the town at the end of the day. But if one of the kids was too tired, we would just ride the gondola back down to town too.
I was surprised by the lack of lift lines and huge crowds in Telluride. Don’t get me wrong, ski school was busy, as were the restaurants. But I never felt like I waited very long in a lift line if there was one. I’m making an assumption that some of the reason for that is the lack of day trippers from Denver like there could be at so many of the rocky mountain resorts along I-70 from Denver. And that’s fine by me!
Renting Skis in Telluride: Because we were staying with friends, I decided to splurge a little on ski rentals. I had always wanted to try out a butler service. There were a couple of them in town, but we used Black Tie. At a pre-arranged time, they show up with several different styles/sizes after you have registered the specifics of each person in your group. If you rent online early you can get 20% off and kids rentals free with an adult rental.
Well, I’m spoiled now! I did not miss standing in line filling out forms inside a store, taking the kids jackets on and off cuz they got hot, etc. I could have just as easily rented equipment from Telluride Sports or the Boot Doctor in town or Mountain Village. But the convenience of a ski rental delivery service was luxurious. If something goes wrong, they’ll meet you at the mountain base for a quick fix or new equipment. Bo needed to switch from a snowboard to skis in the middle of the week, and they arrived at our house, made the switch, and I never had to change out of my slippers. They will also pick them up from a ski valet or locker. So, no schlepping through town with your skis to turn them in on the last day. Yippee!
Storing skis in Telluride: One benefit of staying in a hotel in Telluride or Mountain Village, is the valet service for your skis. They don’t want you carrying your skis through the hotel, or storing them in your room, so valet service it is. Mountain Village also has an interesting Storage Yurt for skis and boots. It’s a yurt, you can’t miss it. You can check your skis there, and walk back to your condo. Although it gets cold there at night so I wouldn’t want to check my boots, as it is so much harder to get them on when they are cold.
I had called ahead to reserve several storage lockers at the base of the Gondola in Telluride through Telluride sports. That way we wouldn’t have to walk to two blocks from the gondola to the house with equipment in tow. Reserving lockers ahead of time is really recommended. It turned out that our house came with storage locker use too, so I ended up canceling our reservation. But it was easy to set up in case we need it another time.
Telluride Ski School: Ski school is located at the base of Mountain Village. I didn’t mind “commuting” on the gondola from the town of Telluride to Mountain Village for ski school in the morning. But I think if my kids were under 9 years old, I would have preferred staying in Mountain Village.
My kids had been to a couple of different ski schools at smaller resorts before we hit Telluride. Just like a lot of ski schools, they have 6 or 7 different levels of classes, and separate the little tikes under 6 into a different group. Always pre-register your kids online for ski school. It saves time and lots of frustration. You still have to go into registration to pick up their lift tickets and such, but you’ll be in and out quickly. I loved that they had big jugs of sun screen available inside the registration area just in case you forgot. Who am I kidding…I forgot for myself!
Telluride ski school was definitely a step above our previous experience. And it’s about $150/day not including equipment. Gulp! The skiers are divided based on form, not just whether they can get down the mountain. At a lower tiered resort our boys had gotten to the most advanced group. But at Telluride they were evaluated as being in level 4. Apparently they still pizza a little too much when nervous. Duke and Bo were determined to get into the parallel skiing only class. After 2 days in ski school I could see marked improvement. Bo smoked me on the last run of the day and it was a black diamond.
One of our family rules is that you have to go to ski school for a minimum of two days. Ski instructors can teach kids how to improve your form and speed much better than I can. I also like that Hubby and I get a little alone time to challenge each other on the slopes. Kids as old as 14 can still go to ski school at Telluride.
Beyond Skiing: When Junior had his arm cast put on this year, we asked the doctor about skiing…No. Snow shoeing…No. Snowmobile Tour…Yes!
I know this post isn’t about skiing, but I had to add it in here. Junior is certainly not the first kid to endure a ski trip with a broken arm. All of his fingers were not in a cast, so as long as he could hold on to the handles as he rode on the back with Dad, he was good to go. We took a family friendly half day tour with Telluride Outside. They suit you up with extra warm wear, helmets and boots. Don’t forget your goggles. You’re gonna need them.
Obviously, kids ride behind the driving adult. So if you have an odd number in your family as we do, someone has to stay behind at the house, and/or an adult has to drive again on another day. The tour is cold yet fun, with some amazing views and photo opportunities. In case you didn’t know, snowmobiles are big machines. We enjoyed it, but would probably not do it again. The gas fumes from the machines can get to you if you are sensitive to that sort of thing.
Lets just say if Hubby ever complains about my driving at home, all I have to say is snowmobile. He got a little too close to the well of a tree and the snowmobile got its nose end stuck on its side after Hubby jumped ship. The guide was right there to lean the machine back up and get him going again. I was very thankful for the helmets. Duke hung on the whole time and was just fine. We can laugh about it now, but it was a tense couple of moments. There was no damage to the snowmobile (thanks to the soft snow) so it didn’t impact our wallet either. Generally, It’s not an inexpensive activity, so think carefully before booking.
Overall, the skiing at Telluride is a step above the places we have been as a family. But that kind of skiing comes at a cost. I was grateful we were able to save on accommodations so the lift ticket prices were not as jarring to me this time. Hubby and I agreed that we would definitely come again, even if we can’t hoodwink our friends into letting us stay at their house again.
If you need to catch up, here are my musings about the town of Telluride. Next up on the blog…eating in Telluride. Yummmm.