Yay for Skiing, Riding & Holiday Making in Telluride

Telluride, Colorado

Telluride, Colorado

Telluride Town All Wrapped Up for the Holidays

Telluride Town All Wrapped Up for the Holidays

Yay, it’s December! Yay, the ski area is open! Double yay, we have a good amount of fresh snow–a season total of over fifty inches so far! Yay, it’s the most beautiful time of the year in the most picturesque mountain town in America. Really. Telluride, Colorado gives festive new meaning all winter long and most especially right now and throughout these upcoming weeks.

Driving Toward the Mountain

Driving Toward the Mountain

Getting Closer

Getting Closer

After a super warm and dry November, the Telluride Ski Resort lifts are finally powering  us up to the tops of the mountains we love so dearly.

Do you remember how you felt on Christmas Eve when you were a child? Well, that’s how many of us have been feeling lately. The excitement is palpable; it seems that just the thought of cruising down the hill basking in the fun and freedom that’s part of most every on-mountain experience has half the town giddy. I woke up at 5:30 in the morning on opening day in anticipation of the thrill of being out on the hill.

Our Mountains

My Neighborhood

Even the Driving Is Fun

Even the Driving Is Fun

Although Telluride opened a week later than usual with just a handful of trails, more terrain will be available to us as of this Saturday. Then more after that, then more and more until the whole mountain reveals its full splendor. It’s like unwrapping presents during the Christmas season–it’s wonderful to savor opening them piecemeal instead of unfurling all faster than you can sip an egg nog. To me, holiday gifting is at it’s best when I give and receive packages over an extended period. And no, I can’t imagine the ski mountain opening up full-on on opening day. My legs couldn’t handle it! I’m still recovering from the three days on the hill I enjoyed this past weekend.

Me on Opening Day

Me on Opening Day

If you don’t live in T-ride, consider planning a pre-holiday getaway. This is when you can snatch up some great lodging deals and even some fresh pow before the Christmas crowds charge in. Voted #1 for scenery by SKI magazine, Telluride, Colorado truly is the prettiest mountain town in America, a Victorian gem that glitters even more brightly during the holiday season. Believe me, the views of both the mountains and the town rank among the most magical in the world. And that’s coming from a gal that lived eleven years in Paris, the City of Light extraordinaire.

Blowing Snow

Blowing Snow

I have to wrap up this post now so that I can head out to Noël Night one of the headline events of the season. Don’t worry, there’s more fun to come–from now through the New Year.

Best of all, you can still find great lodging, restaurant and spa deals through December 24 (and beyond, in some cases). You also can revel in free airfare throughout most of the season on flights originating from Denver and Los Angeles. Yes, that’s not a typo–see below for details.

So why not come here to ski, shop, celebrate or just get away from it all in one of the most  festive places on earth?

There’s nothing like a great ski day, particularly when it happens in Telluride, Colorado. And the time spent afterward in the shops, restaurants, bars and hotels is vraiment magique.

Happy holidays to all!

Admiring Elks in the Alpen Glow: Another Reward of December Skiing

Admiring Elk in the Alpen Glow: Another Reward of December Skiing

Check out the specials from my favorite lodgers in Telluride: the New Sheridan Hotel, Mountain Lodge Telluride, The Peaks Resort & Spa, Inn at Lost Creek and Telluride Resort Lodging. Go to my Faves page to read more about what I’ve written on these landmark properties over the years. See below for more details on current news and special offers.

Getting Ready for Christmas

Getting Ready for Christmas

The Ski Tree

The Ski Tree

Visit Telluride Tourism to find out about the Holiday Prelude activities lined up in the town of Telluride and Telluride Mountain Village these upcoming weeks. Aside from Noël Night, one of my other best loved holiday times takes place in Telluride Mountain Village when Santa appears on the scene (often on the ski slopes with his elves). This year there will be a sleigh-full of activities taking place Saturday, December 17, including ice skating, free holiday movies and tree lighting and caroling. Be sure to check out Bootdoctors for some of the best holiday cheer around.

Our Beloved Gondola

Our Beloved Gondola

Mark your calendar for Tuesday, December 20 from 6 to 9pm at Club Red, when Telluride will be celebrating the 20-year anniversary of its beloved gondola. Here’s to the most fabulous gondola in the world–not only does it offer jaw-dropping views in a friendly, fast, efficient and super clean manner, but it remains free to all year-round! Come and toast this Telluride icon at this party that’s sure to be memorable.

Telluride Ski Resort Firing Up the Guns

Telluride Ski Resort Firing Up the Guns

Telluride Ski Resort

The biggest buzz on the mountain is that Telluride Ski Resort has joined The Mountain Collective, a superlative collaboration among the world’s best ski resorts. If you purchase The Mountain Collective Pass, you’re entitled to an avalanche of free ski days in over a dozen first-class resorts as well as lots of other perks and privileges. In Telluride, for example, Collective guests enjoy ski benefits as well as a special lodging offer at The Peaks Resort & Spa. And that’s just for starters; check out The Mountain Collective for more.

Mountain Lodge Telluride

Mountain Lodge Telluride

Mountain Lodge Telluride

This elegant mountain property offers a cozy cabin of lodging specials now through December 24. Keep checking in throughout the season for other exciting deals as well. New this year:  Lunch at The View, Mountain Lodge’s signature restaurant, which also serves breakfast, après ski and dinner. Ski in for delicious food at excellent prices served within a spectacular great room. And as you might have guessed, the view ranks among the best in Telluride. (Read my story on The View and Chef Bud here.)

New Sheridan Hotel and Chop House Restaurant & Bar

New Sheridan Hotel and Chop House Restaurant & Bar

New Sheridan Hotel Chop House Restaurant & Bar

Indulge me while I sigh over this oh-so lovely hotel, restaurant and bar. No one can hide their affection for the beloved New Sheridan, let alone me. I could live the rest of my days at the New Sheridan Hotel, Restaurant & Bar. Considered the hub of Telluride for over a century, this historic gem may be considered the cherry on the cake of our town. I love the fact that despite their world-renowned reputation, they, too, offer sweet deals on lodging, food and adventures.

FREE AIR

OK, I think here I’ve saved the best for last. Telluride Ski Resort and Mountain Lodge Telluride will be offering free flights to travelers originating from Denver and Los Angeles throughout the 2017 ski season, provided people book a stay at their properties. Mountain Lodge requires a three-night stay minimum; Telluride Ski Resort, which includes The Peaks Resort & Spa, Inn at Lost Creek and Telluride Resort Lodging, extends this offer with varying requirements, depending on the property. Promotions are subject to availability and some restrictions may apply, however, either way, this is a screaming deal.

Call Telluride Ski Resort at 877-635-3792 and Mountain Lodge Telluride at 866-368-6867 to chat about the particulars and/or to reserve. Be sure to mention the Free Air package!

Yay for travel to the Rocky Mountain West. Yay for deals in Telluride, Colorado.

Here’s wishing you a great season!

Post Election Healing

Museum Going with a Dear Friend

Museum Going with a Dear Friend

Let’s take a collective ten deep breaths. Ommmm. Remember to exhale long and completely. Now try doing that every hour. Yes, that’s ten deep breaths every hour, every day.

Whether consciously or subconsciously, most of us spend every hour of our day trying to manage our stress. We all have so much going on! And yes, one can even feel stressed in a beautiful mountain town surrounded by some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the world.

Just now, as I began to write this story, the internet at home here was all goofy. RRRRRrrrrrrr. Fortunately, I didn’t let that frustrated feeling set in and I just brushed it off (sort of) and decided to write free form without needing a speedy internet. Lots of letting go here.

I feel the need to address the stress subject with you because so many people have been distraught over the election results. Whether your candidate won or not, everyone has experienced a certain amount of stress over this. (Just think of the Trump supporter attempting to defend his president-elect on social media or at the water cooler. Or, even without saying anything, hearing all the opposition against his or her choice.) It’s hard to move on from it all, especially since the daily news flashes keep bringing bad news to the dems. Ugh.

Try Breathing into this Painting Entitled Friendship by Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim

Try Breathing into this Painting Entitled Friendship by Agnes Martin at the Guggenheim

Just think of the people directly implicated by this. I mean right now. My older brother, Frank Clemente, the driving force behind Americans for Tax Fairness, was to meet with Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren just after the election. Well, you can bet that meeting was cancelled. And now I’d imagine Frank’s work has quadrupled. So discouraging. more »

Celebrating 100 years of Our National Parks at Mesa Verde

Spruce Tree House Cliff Dwelling at Mesa Verde

Spruce Tree House Cliff Dwelling at Mesa Verde

Me Overlooking Spruce Tree House

Me Overlooking Spruce Tree House

Touring Mesa Verde National Park

Touring Mesa Verde National Park

You’ve probably heard that 2016 marks the one-hundred-year anniversary of the National Park Service. Often referred to as America’s Best Idea, there are more than four hundred parks within our beautiful country and I think fall is one of the best times to visit them. In celebration of this milestone, there’s one more entrance-free day left and I find it appropriate that this one takes place on Veteran’s Day, November 11.

To me, it feels like I’m living within a national park in my home of Telluride, Colorado. I believe that Ken Burns, renowned filmmaker of America’s National Park series and many other inspiring documentaries, feels similarly. Perhaps this is why he spends so much time in our little box canyon mountain town. I did an interview with him a while back on our national parks that is still very pertinent today. Do check it out here.

Even so, I love venturing out and exploring the real deal. Fortunately, we have a couple national parks in Colorado within about an hour-and-a-half drive of Telluride: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Mesa Verde National Park. (The latter is also a World Heritage Site.) I visited the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park with my parents six years ago toward the end of a big southwest tour that also showcased Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. Click here to read Touring the Southwest with My Parents, which features those two world-renowned destinations. At the end of that trip, I also visited the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park with them and I highlight this amazing national park in Part Four of a series of stories I did about rafting in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. After you read about this little-known national park, check out Rafting and Roughing it on the Black Canyon of the Gunnison Part One, Part Two and Part Three–it was a big outdoor adventure that I hope to do again some day. You just might want to plan a similar trip there yourself.

Speaking of world famous sites, it always strikes me that at America’s National Parks I see an overwhelming number of foreigners. Sometimes I think they value what we have more than most of us. Possibly. In any event, I hope this story and the photos herein will prompt you to break out and savor what we are so blessed to behold within our nation’s borders. I also think it might be a great way to blow out some election overload!

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Going Forth with Fabulousness

Mom and Me Faking It Until We Make It

Mom and Me Faking It Until We Make It

I’m back. Or at least I hope so. This is by far the longest I’ve gone without posting a blog since I started Bonjour Colorado in 2008. Even throughout the craziness of working as a ski instructor at Telluride Ski Resort during epic snow years, I’ve never let so much time pass without being in touch. But I can’t begin to explain how upended my life has been these past months.

I never imagined that the death of one parent might trigger a whole series of events that would make my brain feel like mush. Honestly. (The six months leading up to this life-changing event were extremely stress inducing, however, the last few months have been mind numbing.)

I’ve barely been able to keep up with emails let alone string two sentences together for a story. I had a deadline for Forbes Travel a few weeks ago that I just kept putting off. I’ve never blown off deadlines like that but I felt like I couldn’t compose a proper sentence. Finally, I forced myself to sit down and commit to the act of writing. What first sounded like an instruction manual ended up reading with more of a flourish after an hour of tweaking, so that experience helped me to regain confidence in myself as someone that has not become totally unhinged.

From that point on, I swore I would write at least a couple of hours every day. It has been a couple of weeks and I’m just sitting down now to jot off a few lines. So much for deadlines and goals.

What have I been doing? Well, I guess the best response is I’ve been juggling a ton of physical, emotional and mental clutter. I’ve been seeking some kind of normalcy, some kind of routine while everything around me has been shifting and transforming like an iceberg in the Arctic during the month of July.

My father passed away in March and since then, there has been an endless series of to-dos, none of which have had much to do with my own work. I spent a sweet period of mourning this spring with my mother in upstate New York, during which time we started to adjust to the idea of Dad no longer being around while writing thank you notes to the many people that sent flowers, goodies, donations and mass cards. I also accompanied Mom to a lot of her doctors’ appointments and attempted to gain better knowledge of what was happening in her world.

Then as if my father was upstairs pulling strings, we learned that there was a serious offer on our house at Lake George in the Adirondacks. After having been on the market for almost five years, it seemed as though it was now time to sell. Well, you know what they say about death and moving.

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June in the Rockies: A Gorgeous Time of Year

The View of the Beautiful Funky Town of Telluride from Our Room at the New Sheridan

The View of the Beautiful Funky Town of Telluride from Our Room at the New Sheridan

Telluride Green and White

Telluride Green and White

Last Week in T-ride

Last Week in T-ride

I’m on Lake George in the Adirondacks now where I’ve been plunged into the luscious heat and humidity of an upstate New York summer. It feels glorious, especially as I sit here on the porch in a bathing suit and sarong typing away on my laptop. It has been quite the spring in Telluride, chilly and snowy all the way up through last Thursday. Of course you can never entirely put winter clothes away in the Rockies, but this year I needed good, sturdy boots right up to Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer.

Views from the Neighborhood

Views from the Neighborhood

Spring View from the House

Spring View from the House

As much as I’m happy to be sitting here in bare feet wiggling my toes, I was thrilled to experience that extraordinary time of the year when the mountains emerge from their deep winter slumber before I left. I witnessed the fuzzy buds of the aspens pop into bright leaves as the crystalline snows melted on their branches. The play of spring light against the fresh yellow-green of the season and the pure white snow made for a dazzling display of nature. I was happy this all happened during a time when I was busy running about to do errands because the panoramic views on my drives were beyond breathtaking. Changes in the leaves occurred seemingly by the minute. Indeed, it’s a wonderful time of the year for the earth to reawaken, especially in the mountains of Colorado.

Telluride

Telluride

I thought I’d share with you here some images from this time of year taken this year and last. I also wanted to tell you about a little-known secret: June is one of the best times of the year in the Rockies. In Telluride, it’s when Bluegrass happens (the third week in June), but first and foremost, it’s the month of some of the best weather of the year. The hills are truly coming alive during this time and although it might rain some in June, we’re not yet soaked with the monsoonal flows that hit the mountains in July and August. Yes, it’s a splendiferous time of the year. And the summer crowds have not yet arrived. (Not that it ever becomes very crowded in Telluride.)

Nightcap at the New Sheridan

Nightcap at the New Sheridan

Our Room at the New Sheridan

Our Room at the New Sheridan

Feeling Cozy at the New Sheridan

Feeling Cozy at the New Sheridan

My Hotel and Dining Recommendation
Truly a destination hotel, the historic New Sheridan has long served as the hub of Telluride. And as much as I don’t like to play favorites, I would go so far as to say that this glittering establishment stands out as my all-time favorite place to be in Telluride. It’s the place to go to dine, drink, savor an elegant hotel stay and just while away some time as you watch the fun and playful doings of our beautiful mountain town unfold before you. I stayed here for a night almost year ago with my boyfriend, Steve, and it was one of the best staycations you could imagine. Highlights included late-night drinks at the bar, luxurious accommodations and a superb brunch in the Chop House Restaurant. So many of the sights, sounds and smells from that stay still tingle my senses; the pop, pop, pop of the opening of bubbly for the Sunday brunch still echo in my mind along with the stillness of the night as seen, heard and experienced from our beautiful room. A true bastion of tradition and refinement, the New Sheridan perfectly embodies the spirit of Old World grandeur and old mining town charm.

Beautiful Bathroom at the New Sheridan

Beautiful Bathroom at the New Sheridan

Heading to Brunch

Heading to Brunch

Brunch

Mimosas

Brunch

Brunch

Old Time-y Photos Line the Walls at the New Sheridan

Old Time-y Photos Line the Walls at the New Sheridan

Beau: A Fixture at this Fine Establishment

Beau: A Fixture at this Fine Establishment

The Town of Telluride Early June

The Town of Telluride Early June

When in Telluride, be sure to make your way to the recently opened New Sheridan rooftop bar, last summer’s talk of the town. Here are a couple of photos from a fun time I shared there last September with a good friend.

Enjoying Drinks at the New Sheridan Rooftop Bar

Enjoying Drinks at the New Sheridan Rooftop Bar

Here's to a Fun Summer Scene

Here’s to a Fun Summer Scene

For more on the New Sheridan, read New Sheridan Hotel:  Telluride’s Historic Gem.

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Two Favorite Paris Restaurants: Le Vaudeville and Julien

Le Vaudeville Terrace

Le Vaudeville Terrace

Le Vaudeville au Soir

Le Vaudeville au Soir

The Barman at Julien

The Barman at Julien

Art Nouveau Splendor at Julien

Art Nouveau Splendor at Julien

Last week there was a NYT piece circulating on the internet about how Paris’s high-end restaurants are experiencing a bit of une crise. Some blamed the aftermath of the Paris attacks while others blatantly stated that there’s no need to blow your budget on a fancy-schmancy night out when there are so many wonderful meals to be enjoyed at a host of other restaurants, brasseries, bistrots and cafés in the French capital. Clearly, it doesn’t have to be all about whether un resto has a star or not.

This social media conversation prompted me to think about two of my favorite Paris restaurants: Le Vaudeville and Julien. These landmark establishments rank as what the French would call une valeur sûre, or a sure value. Indeed, when you dine–for lunch or dinner–at either of them you know you’re going to delight in a fine meal in a lively setting served with aplomb. The décor of each ranks among the most historic of Paris and a moment passed here will dazzle both your eyes and spirit. It’s no wonder these long-established restaurants are considered institutions in a city that boasts some of the finest dining experiences in the whole world.

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Nights Out in Albany and Saratoga Springs, New York

Sam Bush Giving It His All at The Egg

Sam Bush Giving It His All at The Egg

My Mom and I laid low during the few weeks after my father passed away in March at our family home in Troy, New York. Then I said, “Let’s have some fun.”

After a few minutes of reflection, Mom said, “Yes, I’d like to break out and enjoy myself. Although don’t take too many pictures because officially I’m in mourning.”

The heck with old conventions–we’re no longer entrenched in the burdensome customs of the Victorian Age; Mom was long overdue for a little gaiety in her life. (I do, however, think there’s a lot to be said for the nineteenth-century tradition of wearing black for at least a year. It indicated to people ‘I’m vulnerable. Be kind to me.’ But I suppose that’s a thing of the past–people would just think we dressed very New Yorkish. Or Goth.)

So I checked out what was happening in the capital district area, the region that encompasses Albany, Schenectady and Troy as well as the event listings for Saratoga Springs, New York, the quaint old town just forty-five minutes north of us where I lived five years prior to moving to Colorado. Of course I zeroed in on what interested me the most in the Entertainment section of the Times Union; fortunately Mom and I have very similar tastes.

I snatched up tickets for a Sam Bush concert at The Egg in Albany and a book event featuring Augusten Burroughs, put on by the renowned Northshire Bookstore in Saratoga. Mom agreed to treat us to dinner and suddenly we felt excited about life again. With all the care-taking Mom did for Dad the past six months, there’s no doubt that these plans promised to buoy her back to more fun-loving days.

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Be Not Afraid

My Father on Lake George , New York in 2008

My Father on Lake George , New York in 2008

It has been just over four weeks since my father passed away. Even though I have been almost frightfully composed, I still feel like I’m in a blur. I think I’m in the midst of processing so much.

I do want to broadcast, however, to not be afraid. My father almost died on the eve of the millennium, then in 2008 and then at the end of 2014. So I had plenty of time to ponder his eventual passing. Plus, he was 89 years old. Yet even with this mental preparation, I always imagined I’d be in pieces upon hearing the news and then, of course, at his funeral and then in the days and weeks that followed. But no, I’ve felt a calm and resiliency that has surprised me.

I mean it–be not afraid. Do not live in fear of something that will come, something that you have no control over. Those heartbreaking moments do happen in our lives and it’s unproductive to anticipate–with dread–how we will handle them. We all have an inner strength that knows no boundaries. For me, I feel that my father’s passing has helped me to get in touch with the stuff I’m made of–I am Frank Angelo Clemente’s daughter.

He was a devoted family man, an accomplished businessman and un passionnée of skiing, tennis, exercise, food, Broadway show tunes, the English language and even French. But most of all, he was extremely kind and steady, compassionate and thoughtful and always appreciative and grateful for what he had and for what other people did for him.
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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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