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There’s something special about Telluride. Everybody says so, whether vacationing for the first time, returning for an umpteenth visit, or having called the region home for decades. The San Juan Mountains are undoubtedly among the most beautiful peaks in the Lower 48 and rival many found around the globe. Additionally, the character and charm of Telluride and its residents are hard to beat. Incorporated as a town in 1878, people came to Telluride at the turn of the century in hopes of finding their fortunes. Gold and silver ran rampant in the mountains above town and with that came a hearty crowd full of personality. History was made regularly with Butch Cassidy robbing his first bank in town and Telluride being the host-site of the world’s first commercial-grade AC power plant. But whether scientist or criminal, people were bright, determined and loved having a grand time. Telluride, even then, was known as a town that appreciated the good life.

Bouncing back from a post-mining slump in the mid-1900s, a similar crowd arrived in the early 70s-smart, passionate and fun-loving-in time for the start of the ski area in 1973. Now more than 30 years later, Telluride is renowned for its fantastic ski terrain (which virtually doubled in size with an expansion in 2002) and superb community. Both Mountain Village and Telluride are generously doused with gourmet restaurants, sassy boutiques and impeccable architecture; a progressive political/environmental consciousness permeates the alpine air; outdoor activities come in all shapes and sizes; and cultural events/festivals happen year-round. And with air service continuously expanding and improving, this once hard-to-get-to spot in Colorado’s southwestern corner (that’s still 37 miles from the nearest traffic light) is easier to get to than ever before. Major airlines like United, America West, Delta, Continental and American fly into the Montrose airport (thanks to the Airline Guarantee Program), connecting the region to metropolises like Denver, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Atlanta, Dallas and Newark.

Yet although “growing up,” so to speak, from a rugged mining settlement, to a safe-haven for hippies and urban renegades, to a sophisticated, world-class mountain resort, Telluride has managed to cling firmly to its rustic mountain roots and sincerely appreciates its past.