Telluride Tourism’s Top Dogs

Telluride on the Fourth of July

Telluride on the Fourth of July

Telluride Celebrating America's Birthday

Telluride Celebrating America’s Birthday

Phew! What a holiday weekend it was! Tourism here in Telluride, Colorado, was cranking. I think half of Texas and Arizona found their way here at some point this past week. Not to mention all the east coasters that were surely breathing a sigh of relief when they found themselves away from the humidity and hubbub of their densely populated places of residence. And who could blame them? It has been hot, dry and sunny here in Telluride but our warmth is nothing compared with what most of the rest of the country has been experiencing. During the summer, we still enjoy cool interiors without the need for air conditioning. Evenings require a blanket—perhaps two, if you’re camping.

I’d like to take this opportunity to salute all those that work in the hospitality world in Telluride and other big vacations spots around our country. Here, as in many other locales, the period surrounding the Fourth of July ranks as crazy-busy as the week between Christmas and New Year’s. What’s even more of a challenge for Telluride hospitality workers is that our season goes from just a smattering of business to sold-out-status within just a few week’s time. Finding good, reliable help in such a seasonable environment is always a challenge but somehow most establishments—from a high-end hotel to the local pizza place—pull it off, for the most part flawlessly. Unfortunately I think a lot of the stress and strain of doing business in such a fickle environment falls on the ownership and most definitely the management.

Mountain Lodge Telluride

Mountain Lodge Telluride

Ray Farnsworth at the Historic New Sheridan Bar

Ray Farnsworth at the Historic New Sheridan Bar

I had the chance to chitchat about the hospitality industry in Telluride—and much more—last winter on my Travel Fun show during a fundraising campaign for KOTO, the local public radio station in Telluride. I had invited three of T-ride’s top movers and shakers in the hospitality industry to join in on the “funraising” campaign:  Ray Farnsworth, General Manager of the New Sheridan Hotel and the Chop House Restaurant & Bar, Larry Mallard, Principal and Co-Owner/Operator of Telluride Alpine Lodging and Steve Togni, General Manager of Mountain Lodge Telluride and The View restaurant. Their fine properties combined represent a good measure of the resort lodging available in Telluride. The New Sheridan Hotel and Bar along with the Chop House have served as the hub of Telluride for ages although even more so within the past five years after the brilliant restoration of this historic gem. The View is one of the best kept dining secrets of Telluride Mountain Village. Telluride Alpine Lodging manages lodging in both Telluride and Telluride Mountain Village. These are indeed busy guys.

Ray’s firmly committed to our little radio station; not only does he DJ his own radio show but he also heads up the board at KOTO and consistently pulls through as one of the our top fundraisers. For this segment (which you can listen to below), Ray was kind enough to man the board for me, a not-so easy task when you’re dealing with three guests, a host (moi) and people calling in.

Chop House Restaurant

Chop House Restaurant

In addition to his regular responsibilities with the largest lodging supplier of Telluride, Larry serves as Chairman of the Telluride Tourism Board, a delicate and demanding job when you have to satisfy the needs of so many different players within this tourism-driven community.

Larry Mallard and His Wife Mitzi

Larry Mallard and His Wife Mitzi

The River Club

The River Club

Steve Togni at Mountain Lodge Telluride

Steve Togni at Mountain Lodge Telluride

Steve serves on the Colorado Flights Alliance as well as on the board of directors of the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association (CHLA), two “extracurricular activities” that require him to manage the interests of people within the hospitality industry of Telluride and around this magnificent state. Plus, he’s been my significant other for almost five years, a considerable job in and of itself.

In any event, these guys run top properties here in Telluride, highly successful establishments that serve as a testament to their hard work. Best of all, they also devote a lot of time to their community as you can hear below. And they regularly donate all kinds of wonderful lodging to our causes! Somehow, too, they manage to carve out time for girlfriends and in the case of Larry, a wife. They’ve all stayed what amounts to an eternity in Telluride—at least in the hospitality world where people move on to other positions within a few years time. Clearly it’s their love for what they do and our amazing mountain town that keeps them here.

The latter is what draws the crowds here as well. People whom I hope possess an awareness for the efforts that go into every room reserved, every housekeeping sweep, every meal served, every reception prepared, every budget tallied, every promotion launched, every contract negotiated, every HOA meeting chaired, every person managed, every piece of property repaired, every welcome extended and oh-so much more.

Thank you Ray, Larry and Steve and all the rest of you hospitality people that help to assure our good times.

Telluride Wildflowers

Telluride Wildflowers

For more on the New Sheridan Hotel and Chop House Restaurant & Bar, read my posts at New Sheridan Hotel:  Telluride’s Historic Gem, Favorite Telluride RestaurantsNight Out in Telluride and Filling in Nicely in Telluride:  Snowstorm After Snowstorm.

For more on Mountain Lodge Telluride and The View, check out my stories Night out in Mountain VillageTogethering in the RockiesTelluride’s Beauty BoutiquesThree Men, Three Telluride Mountain Village RestaurantsGreat Rocky Mountain Decks:  Spectacular Views Year-RoundFilling in Nicely in Telluride:  Snowstorm After SnowstormGreat Fall Travel in the Rockies and Ski In/Ski Out to Great Snow in Colorado and Filling in Nicely in Telluride:  Snowstorm After Snowstorm.

The River Club, one of the signature properties of Telluride Alpine Lodging, is a boutique private residence club located along the San Miguel river, just two blocks from the gondola in historic Telluride, Colorado. Luxurious two- and three- bedroom residences are available for rent or ownership. Ownership includes lifetime Telluride Ski and Golf Club privileges.

Be sure to check out Telluride.com, a major website affiliated with Telluride Alpine Lodging. Here you can find tons of great information on Telluride along with gorgeous images of our mountain town and the surrounding area. They even have a webcam located in the heart of Telluride.

Getting to Telluride

There’s daily flight service to Telluride from Denver, however, the primary point of arrival is Montrose, Colorado. From Montrose, it’s a stunning one-and-a-half-hour drive to Telluride. You don’t even need to rent a car since once in Telluride, you’ll travel mostly by the gondola, the Galloping Goose (our bus system), by foot, bike or skis. Our public transportation system—including the gondola—is free year-round. Book an airport transfer in advance with Telluride Express, a reputable shuttle bus service that whisks people over high mountain passes in all weather as safely and reliably as a mom pushing her babe in a carriage. Telluride Express also does transfers to and from Grand Junction airport, an increasingly popular transportation hub, two-and-a-half-hours from Telluride. (A mere jaunt by Western standards.)

KOTO‘s summer fundraising campaign will begin in August. With the generosity of  different establishments in Telluride, I’m often able to obtain giveaways, or premiums, in the form of lodging in exchange for a donation to this unique community radio station in Telluride. If you’d like to be on the list to find out about these premiums, contact me through this blog.

Thank you to the Telluride Tourism Board, Ryan Bonneau, Neil Hastings and the properties featured here for the use of the images in this post.

Taking Hospitality to New Heights: Steve Cooking Me Breakfast on a Camping Trip in Moab, Utah

Taking Hospitality to New Heights: Steve Cooking Me Breakfast on a Camping Trip in Moab, Utah

Click on the play button below to hear Ray Farnsworth, Larry Mallard and Steve Togni talk about their properties, Telluride tourism, the hospitality industry and more.

Play

Great post about our awesome town!!

 

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