True Telluride: Almanac

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(All area codes are 970.)

Getting There Fly to Telluride or Montrose, 65 miles distant. Service to Telluride is on turboprop aircraft; many seasoned travelers avoid it due to weather delays. Telluride Transit (728-6000) and Telluride Shuttle & Taxi (728-6667) shuttle to Montrose.

When To Go Last winter Telluride had great early-season snow when the rest of Colorado was hurting. Early December, January and April tend to offer short liftlines and low room rates.

Sleeping In Consider Hotel Columbia (728-0660), $165-$440/night; Inn at Lost Creek (728-5678) $595-$1,385/night; or The Peaks at Telluride (728-6800), $405-$465/night.

Dining Out Hit The Cosmopolitan in the Hotel Columbia for a salmon nori roll appetizer. Try 221 South Oak for Colorado beef tenderloin. For alpine-asian food, visit Harmons-also the site of a regular poker game drawing the likes of Norman Schwarzkopf.

Après-Ski Leimgruber's is known for waitresses in dirndls, Paulaner beer on tap and a table saved for ski patrol.

Kicking Butt Try the Kant-Mak-M run, where local Caleb Martin, last year's top-ranked U.S. mogul skier, learned his trade. Also check out the World Snowboard Championships coming to Telluride Jan. 8-15.

Kicking Back Visit The Peaks at Telluride, where a brigade of masseuses are at your beck and call (728-6800).

Activities The only heli-skiing in Colorado is offered in the surrounding West San Juan Mountains by Telluride Outside (728-3895). Also try Telski's snowshoe tours (728-6900).

Don't Miss The key lime pie at Jody's Kitchen.

Buying In The River Club sells luxury fractional units at a new condo complex downtown. Prices for 6-10 percent of a two- or three-bedroom unit range from the low $40,000s to the low $200,000s. Call 728-0458.

Vital Stats Skiable Acres: 1,050; Number of lifts: 12; Vertical drop: 3,522 feet; Average snowfall: 325 inches; Lift ticket price: $57; Season pass price: $1,425. Contact: (800) 854-3062; www.telski.com.