best things to do in Telluride in winter

Skiers hit the slopes at Telluride Ski Resort in March 2024. Pam LeBlanc photo

Telluride always tops my list of the best ski towns in Colorado, and it’s hard to whittle the reasons why down to a short list.

Still, I’ll give it a try. I’ve skied there, ridden a fat tire bike through the snow, gone snow mobiling and dog sledding, ridden a sleigh to dinner and climbed a frozen waterfall.

Still, it comes down to the basics. Without further ado, here are the 10 best things about Telluride in winter. (I’ve got a whole other list for summer…)


  1. The ski mountain. Telluride Ski Resort spans more than 2,000 acres, with 19 lifts whisking skiers up those scenic peaks. The longest run stretches 4.6 miles, and from See Forever Run you can, well, see forever.
  2. The gondola. Visitors can stay in the old mining town of Telluride, on the valley floor, or book a room in Mountain Village. (I stayed at The Peaks Resort & Spa.) Either way, it’s a free 12-minute gondola ride from one place to the other, and the night view of town lights sparkling far below alone is worth the trip.
  3. The New Sheridan Historic Bar. This popular nightspot hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1895 – and it offers $5 Jack Daniel’s every night. (That’s a bargain in Telluride, where a cocktail will set you back at least $15 at most bars.)
  4. The Free Box. Lose a mitten? Need a warm hat? Check the Free Box on North Pine, just off Colorado Avenue. Locals and visitors alike head there to donate or pick up gently used pieces of clothing and housewares.
  5. The view from Colorado Avenue. Telluride is situated at the end of a box canyon, and the view is magnificent – a street lined with colorful houses and shops, surrounded by mountains.
  6. The sports. Scale a frozen waterfall with San Juan Adventures. I did it a few years ago and won’t forget the feeling of getting to the top and peering down at the guide far below.
  7. The penny bear. A 15-foot sculpture of a bear called Ursa Ravus stands across the street from Town Park near the end of Colorado Avenue. It’s made of 187,000 pennies embedded in concrete, and worth a visit.
  8. Telluride Distilling Company. Grab an old fashioned(or a bottle of bourbon) at the Telluride Distilling Company’s tasting room in Mountain Village. They also make a fine peppermint schnapps called Chairlift Warmer.
  9. The snowmobiling. Telluride Outfitters offers guided snowmobile trips to the ghost town of Alta. During the heyday of the Alta-Gold King mine, a couple hundred miners lived there in the late 1800s.
  10. Telluride Tom. Tom Watkinson is Telluride’s best ambassador. Watch a 23-minute film about him, just released this month, on Ascend here.

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I’m Pam LeBlanc. Follow my blog to keep up with the best in outdoor travel and adventure. Thanks for visiting my site.

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