Colorado Mountain Living Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride: Telluride Ski Resort Telluride Ski School the 70s in Telluride the old days in a Colorado mountain town
Originally published in Masters of the Mountain 2015-2016, the new Telluride Ski & Snowboard School magazine, I’m posting my expanded version of my Telluride Ski School History story below along with photos from days gone by and shots from this season.
“The mountain was raw. We were into steep skiing. The town was wild. We never knew it was going to go this far,” says longtime Telluride ski instructor Cindy Smith about the early days of Telluride. “There was a lot of craziness,” she adds, “but boy, was it fun.”
From people riding horses into the New Sheridan Bar to lines of cocaine laid out on the tables of certain establishments, there was some outrageous behavior going on in T-ride during the old days (the seventies through early eighties) and indeed some blatant lawlessness. “Some people even say that firemen would come in and hose people down in the the bars on really rowdy nights,” Cindy continues.
Colorado Hotels & Lodging Mountain Living Restaurants Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride: Bootdoctors early season skiing holiday festivities Mountain Lodge New Sheridan opening day Telluride Telluride Ski & Snowboard School Telluride Ski Resort
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With all that’s happening in the world, most of us are feeling extra stressed these days. This is true even in Telluride, Colorado, one of the safest and most beautiful places on earth. No one is immune to feeling reverberations from all these horrific terrorist acts. As I wrote in my story, Paris Attacks Hit Home, we are one.
Still though, we are so privileged in this sweet little ski town. Few people lock the doors to their cars and houses except during bear season, since our local bruin population has become pretty savvy about entering spaces redolent with lingering pizza, berry and pie smells. We live in a bubble of sorts where our biggest threats come from pushing it too hard on the slopes or getting caught in an avalanche during a backcountry ski.
Colorado Mountain Living Telluride: best fall foliage tour Colorado fall foliage season Colorado peak leaf-peeping SW Colorado Telluride gondola Telluride Photo Festival
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Happy fall to all!
I am so excited about the beauty that surrounds me right now–the colors are really going off. As usual, it came upon us very fast and I see a change in the foliage every day. We’ve been spoiled with summertime temperatures the past week so in some ways, fall has taken us by surprise. At least that’s the case for me.
Good news is that according to the forecast, glorious Indian summer weather will continue to light up the leaves and our spirits for the upcoming ten days or so as we inch toward peak viewing times. (In truth, it’s typically gorgeous around here in southwest Colorado through mid October, especially if the mountains are frosted with fresh fallen snow.)
Colorado Durango Four Corners Hotels & Lodging Mountain Living: Blue Lake Ranch charming country inn Colorado lodging Durango lodging Mesa Verde
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I love living in southwest Colorado. Here in Telluride we’re in a high alpine world surrounded by 14,000-foot peaks, yet within an hour’s drive you find yourself in more arid, Western-looking landscapes sporting temperatures almost twenty degrees warmer. That’s a welcome relief this time of year when most people want to extend summer as much as possible.
About this time last year I discovered a wonderful guest ranch that I didn’t know existed: Blue Lake Ranch. And what a discovery it was!
Colorado Mountain Living Music & Dance Telluride Telluride Festivals: Camping Colorado Telluride Bluegrass Festival Telluride Festivals
Superior quality music, a stellar natural setting, sunny days, clear nights, fine fiddle playing, booze, the smell of weed wafting over the scents of barbecue, fried fish and garlic, old friends and new acquaintances, colorful costumes, lyrical ballads, savory eats, tie-dye tops, penetrating instrumental solos, strappy sundresses, bare foot dancing, shorts, face painting, straw hats, jamming, T-shirts of every ilk, color and message imaginable, a heart-stirring lonesome chorus, flip flops, hula hoops, a carnavale-like parade, dusty cowboy boots, melodious breakdowns as quick as an Irish reel. This is just a sampling of what makes the Telluride Bluegrass Festival so much fun and so mentally, physically and spiritually transcending.
Beauty Colorado Girl Talk Mountain Living Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride: Beauty Tips Ski Instructor's Life Telluride Ski & Snowboard School Women Telluride Ski Resort
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As I ease into off-season mode, I find myself almost sentimental about all the camaraderie I share at Telluride Ski & Snowboard School. Indeed, I’m now shifting into a more solitary existence, left to fend for myself–as a lone freelance writer–instead of being part of the team that helps to make magic at Telluride Ski Resort. Within Ski School, we’re very much like a family; we’re part of a tribe that speaks the same language and shares many of the same passions even though we are a mix of astonishingly unique human beings.
The women at Telluride Ski & Snowboard School feel like sisters to me and over the years I’ve come to love many of them in my own special way. They are strong, beautiful ladies that radiate a sense of well-being that’s surely the envy of many. They’ve chosen a lifestyle that embraces the outdoors and the physical and a profession that focuses on how to share their remarkable love of the mountains with others. These gals are hot–not so much from what they wear (although a new pair of shades is always remarked). But rather their sizzle comes from how they turn their skis and boards; or even better, from the self assuredness that those skills give them, on and off the slopes. They exude a self confidence and authenticity far superior to anything you might see on the runway or red carpet. Solid and grounded, our band of Telluride Ski & Snowboard instructors serve as terrific role models for women of all ages.
There are many gals that standout at Ski School. So I thought it would be fun to start highlighting them in posts here at my blog, a series that I plan to continue next year. This lineup is by no means all-inclusive. The idea is to spotlight some of the girl power in our special club and also perhaps to provide a few beauty tips along the way.
Colorado Mountain Living Skiing & Snowboarding Telluride Writing & Books: Balancing the Physical with the Mental The Ski Instructor's Life The Writer's Life
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I came across the above fortune a few weeks ago in our local Chinese restaurant here in Telluride, Colorado. That was when I was in the throes of spring break craziness and the end of ski season was drawing near. It seemed most à propos since I was already contemplating my flip side, or how I would soon transition from a predominantly physical existence–that of a ski instructor–to the more cerebral ponderings required of a writer.
Indeed, at that point I was craving a good read and near desperate to sit still for a while and give my body a rest. As hard as I may try, reading and writing during ski season is always a challenge, especially from February on when I go full tilt. I’m just too tired at the end of the day to do much more than swill a glass of wine from my couch, and so the stack of books on my nightstand piles up as high as the writing assignments awaiting me at my desk.
Art & Culture Colorado Mountain Living Outdoor Adventures Telluride Telluride Festivals The Rockies: Blue Lake hike Eric Moore fall foliage viewing Mt. Sneffels photography festival Colorado Ralph Lauren's Ranch Telluride Photo Festival
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It’s unfair that the northeast of America is most often credited for its fabulous fall foliage. I’m from upstate New York and know well the glorious riot of colors that typically explodes there and–in New England–in autumn. But here in Colorado, I’m doubly awed–not only by our fabulous flourish of yellows, golds, orange and rust–but also by the majesty of our mountains, magnificent peaks which appear even more awe-inspiring as the low-lying autumnal sun casts its brilliant light on our dramatic panoramas.
I gobbled up an eyeful of this magnificence yesterday when my boyfriend and I embarked on a hike to Lower Blue Lake off of Dallas Creek Road, situated beneath Mt. Sneffels, one of the area’s most iconic Fourteeners, measuring 14,150-feet in elevation. This is God’s–and also Ralph Lauren’s Ranch–country, made accessible to all thanks to an easement by Ralph. It also takes a sturdy, vehicle to handle the bumpy half-hour drive into the trailhead and a strong will and steady athleticism to hike the 3.3-mile ascent up to dazzling Lower Blue Lake. I’m proudly sporting the blisters today that I earned from yesterday’s effort; there’s no doubt that it was my best hike of the season.