2002 Number 19 Resort In North America: Telluride, Colo.

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If you're looking to get back to the roots of Colorado skiing, look no further than Telluride. Whether it's the fact that "the resort oozes the old spirit of skiing," as one reader explains, or because "accessibility is difficult and flying directly into Telluride is spotty," Telluride will always be regarded as a one-of-a-kind resort. Indeed, one Telluridean truth remains constant: Its "overwhelming beauty" impresses locals and visitors alike. "The most unspoiled ski area in America," reveres one reader. Beauty aside, there are other reasons to visit the box-canyon resort with an 8,750-foot-base. Telluride's consistently praised terrain teems with "great steeps and glades," "tight trees" and "expert bumps." This season, Telluride adds dessert to its ski menu by opening Prospect Bowl. The 733-acre area will nearly double the size of the mountain. Three new high-speed quads will anchor some 1,500 vertical feet of glades, bowls, chutes and groomed trails. Done skiing for the day? Telluride's "nice, funky village" is one of the finest ski towns in North America, with options galore for dining, tavern-hopping and shopping. Stay in Mountain Village and ski to a bistro for a hot cup of coffee and a muffin. Or stay in town and watch locals rush to the mountain as you explore Main Street, which is on the National Historic District list. Many longtime visitors develop a nearly religious attachment to the area. As one reader sums it up: "Telluride is heaven on earth. A trip there is more like a pilgrimage than a vacation."

WHAT'S NEW Prospect Bowl's three high-speed quads will access 733 acres of intermediate and expert terrain.

A GOOD DEAL Ski and stay for only $79 a day from Nov. 21-Dec. 19, 2001. Price includes a night's lodging and a lift ticket; 800-854-3062.

MEDALS GOLD Terrain, Challenge, Service, Weather, Dining, Scenery; SILVER Snow, Lodging, Après-Ski, Off-Hill Activities.

HIGH/LOW RANK Scenery (4), Dining (8), Lodging (16); Lifts (45), Value (59), Access (73).

DON'T MISS Sunset cocktails at Allred's. The restaurant is perched at 10,535 feet at the top of the gondola; the views are stunning.

READER REMARKS (+) "No liftlines." "Beautiful scenery." "Lots of this place scares the hell out of me."
(-) "Hard to get to." "Caters to the Hollywood crowd." "Lots of this place scares the hell out of me."