Telluride, Colo.: Rank 21 West, 1998

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Once nicknamed "To Hell You Ride" because of its reputation as a boisterous mining town, Telluride promises skiers a hell of a ride with its legendary double black-diamond slopes. It's well worth rising early for first turns in the Dynamo or the hike-and-ski chutes of Gold Hill. You'll also want to ride Lift 9 for the mogul marathon known as the "Locals' Lap" (Kant-Mak-M to Spiral Stairs to Lower Plunge to Mine Shaft). "Great tree runs and gullies," says one reader. While there are plenty of green and black runs on the hill, moderate skiers might feel neglected. "Intermediate terrain is scarce," a reader complains. A quaint Victorian town in the San Juan Mountains, Telluride is tough to beat for charm. "Beauty everywhere," swoons one reader. Another laments that the gem has "lost its small-town attitude." For a dose of local color, head to Leimgruber's Bierstube for après-ski and sip brews with the raccoon-tan crowd. Then stroll to 221 South Oak for dinner¿you'll remember the meal long after your trip ends.

What's New Ski Forever Weeks (which cater to mature skiers); increased air service to Montrose.
A Good Deal Choose from a free lift ticket, ski clinic, lunch or half-day of childcare when you stay at participating properties, Nov. 25-Dec. 17, April 3-10. Call (888) 355-8743.
Medals Gold Terrain, Challenge, Weather, Scenery; Silver Service, Lodging, Dining, Aprés-Ski.
High/Low Rank Scenery (3); Access (74).
Don't Miss Get a world-class rub at The Peaks Resort & Spa.
Reader Remarks "Beautiful, cozy, small¿but big enough." "Old, slow lifts. Hard to get to."