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Editor's Choice

2021 Editors' Choice: Down-Day Activities in Telluride, Colo.

Day off? Make it day on with these down-day activities.

You could easily ski a week at Telluride Ski Resort and find new lines and zones, but a location such as Telluride is bursting at the seams with winter fun to be had off the slopes, too. It was hard to choose, but here are our favorites down-day activities in and around Telluride, Colo. 

Snowmobiling with Telluride Outfitters

Telluride Outfitters Snowmobiling
Snowmobile through ghost towns with Telluride Outfitters. Photo courtesy of Telluride Ski Resort

The highlight of the week for one editor was a snowmobile tour with Telluride Outfitters. We joined a small group embarking on the Alta Ghost Town Tour and spent two hours revving up and down groomed trails past several remnants from the ghost town of Alta at 11,800 feet, where miners at the Gold King mine lived and worked in the late 1800s to mid 1900s. Telluride Outfitters also offers longer snowmobile excursions to Dunton Hot Springs and full-day backcountry trips into the Barlow Creek high alpine terrain for more experienced sledders.

Telluride Horseback Adventures

Roudy Roudebush, Telluride Horseback Adventures
Take a ride with local cowboy Roudy Roudebush. Photo: Brett Schreckengost

Layer up for a scenic winter trail ride with local cowboy and true character Roudy Roudebush with Telluride Horseback Adventures, who’s been getting tourists out on the trails for the last 40 years. Roudy’s barn is located a scenic 45 minutes from Mountain Village, and the trail rides show off the region’s beauty from a totally different perspective.

Telluride Historic Walking Tour

Ashley Boling wears a lot of hats over his long, blonde hair. Literally: Cowboy hat, bike helmet, painter’s cap, DJ headset, and even a clown wig. That’s because on any given day, Boling, who conducts Telluride’s entertaining and informative historic walking tours of downtown, might also be painting the set for an upcoming theater production, manning the mic during a morning talk radio broadcast, guiding a raft down the Colorado River, or pulling clown duty at a child’s birthday party.

Boling’s historic walking tours of downtown Telluride are not to be missed. From the front steps of the courthouse—which was built in 1885 but burned down in 1887 and rebuilt, with brick, in 1888, mind you—Boling managed to fill this editor’s head with a surprising amount of facts and historical nuggets about Telluride’s glory days before depositing me in front of San Miguel Valley Bank (of Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid fame…) en route to his next gig. Yep, you guessed it: Birthday clown. 

Ice Skating

Ice rink at Mountain Village, Telluride, Colo.
The Mountain Village ice rink, conveniently located in the heart of Mountain Village.Photo courtesy of Telluride Ski Resort

There’s a small ice rink behind the Madeline up at Mountain Village, but the outdoor rink at Telluride Town Park is the real deal, serving up perfect box-canyon views.

Spirit Tasting at Telluride Distilling Company

Telluride Distilling Company Vodka and Telluride Mule
Must try: Telluride Distilling Company’s Telluride MulePhoto courtesy of Telluride Distilling Company/Melissa Plantz Photography

Tucked away in Mountain Village is a little gem of an après spot that’s quietly cranking out some tasty craft spirits. Telluride Distilling Company opened a new space inside the Franz Klammer Lodge in 2018. There are casual tastings led by head bartender Abbott Smith, daily cocktail specials (don’t miss the $5 mule), and to-go bottles to enjoy back at the hotel room. The SKI staff was treated to a potable tour through Telluride Distilling’s spirits. These were our favorites:

  • Vodka: The gluten-free vodka is deliciously smooth, as it goes through the operation’s continuous fractioning column, producing a spirit with a higher quality and consistency than what comes out of a still pot. Signature Cocktail: Telluride Mule (Vodka + ginger beer)
  • Whiskey: Distilled from a high altitude malt rye mash and aged in charred oak barrels that formerly housed red wine, port, sherry, and more, the resulting spirit boasts hints of vanilla, chocolate, and honey. Signature Cocktail: Hot Toddy (Whiskey + tea + honey) 
  • Peppermint Schnapps Chairlift Warmer: Peppermint Schnapps goes down like butter and, like the name promises, will give you that warm glow and an overall happy vibe. Signature Cocktail: The Snuggler (Peppermint Schnapps + Hot Cocoa)

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