Telluride is a Colorado town that is the county seat and the most populated town of the county of San Miguel. This town covers an area of seven tenths of a square mile and has a population of just over two thousand residents. The town is located in a box canyon and is surrounded by cliffs and mountains on all sides. At the mouth of the canyon sits Bridal Veil Falls. Stretching between Telluride and Mountain Village is a gondola that is free for all to use. There is only one main road into the town, but there are several off road routes. One of these routes is Imogene Pass, but one must use a 4×4 truck on this route and exercise extreme caution. Another route into town is Black Bear Pass. This pass is the most dangerous pass in the entire state and sits at an elevation of almost nine thousand feet.
In 1858, gold was discovered in the area that would become Telluride. In 1875, John Fallon made the first claim in the area and the settlement of the town soon followed. Three years later it was incorporated. Originally, the town was known as Columbia, but due to the mail becoming frequently mixed up with the mail of Columbia, California the post office renamed it in 1887. It was named after the element tellurium, which is consequently not found in this area. The mines of the area had abundant deposits of silver, gold, lead, zinc and copper. Retrieving the goods out of the mines was an arduous process and not many mines opened in the area. Then in 1890, the railroad came to the town and more mines began to appear in the town. The most famous mines in the area are Sheridan, Tomboy, Smuggler Union, Nellie and Pandora. In 1978, the last major mine in the town closed and Telluride repositioned itself as a ski resort.
The transition from mining town to skiing resort was a hard one for the residents of Telluride. Many of the older mining families fled the town to head to other mining operations elsewhere. During this time, there was an influx of younger people who came to the area to enjoy the slopes. Telluride was initially against the growth of the town and the influx of strangers into it. Luckily, the town started several festivals which eased the transition and made it possible for the town to attract fresh blood. By the mid-1990s, the town had established itself as a resort town. Today, the town is considered a year round resort. During the winter, visitors can enjoy snow boarding and skiing, and during the summer visitors can enjoy hiking, sightseeing, rafting and mountain biking. The town has also been the home to some very interesting personalities. People who currently live in the town or have resided in the town at some point in time include Lawrence Kasdan, Patricia Aburdene, Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., Vincent Saint John, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Peter Yarrow, Susan Saint James, Richard Holbrooke, Christie Brinkley, Barry Sonnenfeld, Antonya Nelson, Clifford J. Laube, Ben Clark, Pamela Zoline, Rob Schultheis and L. L. Nunn.
A popular attraction in the area is Telluride Ski Resort. This ski resort lies between Telluride and Mountain Village. It was started by Joe Zoline as he searched for a way to make the best alpine resort in the world from scratch. This resort features three bowls; Prospect Bowl, Black Iron Bowl and Revelation Bowl. Telluride Ski Resort has one hundred and twenty runs. Of these runs twenty-three percent of them are beginner, thirty-six percent are intermediate and forty-one percent of them are expert level. The longest run here is the “Galloping Goose” which runs for over four and a half miles. This ski resort also has eighteen lifts. Of these lifts eight are express lifts, four are miscellaneous lifts, two are double chair lifts, two are triple chair lifts and two are gondolas. Telluride Ski Resort receives over three hundred inches of snow per year, so there is always plenty of powder to ski on.
Skiing is not the only attraction in the town. Other winter activities in the town include ice skating, snowmobiling, dog sledding, helicopter skiing and even winter fly fishing. Ice skating can be done at the professional grade hockey rink at Capella Hotel in Mountain Village and the new ice rink in Telluride Town Park. The area also has many back woods places to enjoy everything from hut skiing to ice climbing. But, the town has more than just winter activities. It also has a whole host of summer activities. These include 4×4 Off Roading, ATV Riding, Camping, Mountain Biking, Disc Golf and Court Sports (such as volleyball, tennis, basketball and racquetball). There is also golfing, fly fishing, hiking, picnicking, river sports, hang gliding, rock climbing, skate parks and swimming.
Other attractions in the town of Telluride include Telluride Historical Museum, Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride Film Festival, San Juan Hut System, Telluride Helitrax, San Miguel River, San Miguel County Courthouse, Deep Creek Trail, Telluride Ski School, Bunzy Bunworth’s Historic Tours of Telluride, Opera House, Ah Haa School for the Talking Gourd, Bear Creek Falls, Sneffels Highline Trail, New Sheridan Hotel, Telluride Repertory Theatre Company and Alpine Chapel. Prominent shopping venues in the area include Alpen Schatz Boutique, Alternative Edge, Appaloosa Trading Company, Black Bear Trading Company, China Rose Florist & Greenhouse, Telluride Paper Chase, Pip’s Fine & Funky Consignment, Stained Glass Art Company, The Sweet Life and Whiskers & Tails Pet Wash & Supplies.