Chef Bud Creates an Elevated Dining Experience at Mountain Lodge Telluride

Chef Bud Thomas at The View at Mountain Lodge

Chef Bud Thomas at The View at Mountain Lodge

“We’re delighted to have Chef Bud with us,” says Neil Hastings, Sales and Marketing Director for Mountain Lodge Telluride during a recent dinner at this renowned place of lodging in Mountain Village. “He really elevates our food and wine experience here at The View Bar and Grill.”

Ever since word began to leak out this fall that Chef Bud Thomas was leaving Rev, the signature restaurant of the Hotel Madeline and the establishment he catapulted to Forbes Travel Guide five-star and AAA five-diamond standing over the course of the more-than two years he worked there as Chef de Cuisine, diners in-the-know have been abuzz about this unexpected change.

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Telluride Women’s Weeks 2015

Girl Power at Telluride Women's Week

Girl Power at Telluride Women’s Week

Women, skiing, snowboarding, instruction, wine, apps, laughs, hot chocolate, girl talk, girl power, toasts, victories, sharing, learning, shopping, dining, fun. It’s that time of year again at the Telluride Ski Resort. The first session of Telluride Women’s Week starts this Thursday, January 22 with a kickoff reception at Mountain Lodge Telluride and continues through Sunday, January 25. The second session is a little longer, beginning in the evening of Saturday, February 7 and continuing through Thursday, February 12.

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Wishing You the Best for 2015

Skiing is Fun

Skiing is Fun

How are you, dear reader?

I wish you good health, love and joy in this new year. It might seem like these well wishes are coming a little late, but strike it up to the French in me. In France, it’s tout à fait acceptable to extend new year’s wishes–both verbally and in writing–through January 31. I love how most everyone you encounter in France echoes choruses of “bonne année, bonne santé” throughout the whole month of January. I’m sure that this year those wishes are even more sincere.

After a super busy holiday season teaching skiing day after day at the Telluride Ski Resort during an extremely cold period of time, I finally collapsed from a mega head cold and sheer exhaustion (perhaps partly brought on by my big move the first part of December). I spent a whole week on the couch, one marked by the tragedy of the events that unfolded in Paris. So very sad. Like so many, my heart ached for all involved and for my beloved France. I checked in with my friends in Paris to express my love and support, many of whom attended the demonstration that was held a week ago today. Vive la France! Vive Franco-American friendship and may the French forgive us for the faux pas of not sending proper representation on their important day of solidarité.

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Skiing Beats Moving

Snowy Telluride

Snowy Telluride

That would be moving to a new place, of course. Because as a general rule, I do believe motion is lotion and you get some of the best motion when skiing.

Ski season is off to a great start here in Telluride. It snowed a ton in November, then we had a dry spell, now with fifteen inches of fresh over the weekend, we’re set up nicely for the onslaught of holiday visitors due to arrive late this week.

I’ve been working out early season glitches such as numb toes, goggle marks and other assorted woes. It takes a while for my feet to become accustomed to wearing ski boots again and damn, I just can’t seem to adjust my goggles on my helmet the way I did last year. I’ll work it all out and as a Telluride ski instructor, soon I’ll be spending eight-hour days in my ski clothing and equipment for stints as long as ten to fourteen days in a row. In the beginning of the season, I sometimes wonder how I do it, but fortunately I throw it into gear, work through the initial aches and pains, and then fall into the swing of things like skis gliding on the snow.

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Telluride’s Secret Spas

Hot Stone Massage at The Spa at the Hotel Madeline

Hot Stone Massage at The Spa at Hotel Madeline

Spa-going is underrated.

Frequent spa goers know how an hour at a spa can transform you; and if you’re lucky enough to spend the better part of a day being cared for within a soothing space, you can leave brand new.

As I’ve written before, Colorado’s mountain towns boast some exceptional spas. Whether attached to a resort or not, our Rocky Mountain state knows how to meet the therapeutic and beautification needs of those visiting and residing in our rugged, sun-saturated environment. What better way to recover from a big day on the slopes or an energetic snowshoe in the valley? Indeed, focus on health and well-being permeates most every facet of our lives in Colorado, especially in Telluride where feeling good is more of a basic need than a luxury.

Below I’ve outlined a few of my favorite T-ride spas that might not be on every visitor’s radar. Smart locals, however, have them on speed dial.

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Jefferson, France, Wine and Radio

Clay Jenkinson as Thomas Jefferson

Clay Jenkinson as Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson, America’s founding father, primary author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, was perhaps America’s first and most devoted Francophile. During his time as minister to France, he lived in Paris five years where he resided in an elegant residence on the Champs-Elysées and entertained his American and French friends with fine food and wine from his newly-adopted land. In Paris, he became truly serious about the pleasures of the table.

Funny how that sounds familiar, since that happens to most of us when we go to France. And wine is always a big part of the equation. Thomas Jefferson was one of the leading figures in facilitating the importation of wine into the U.S. from France and other European countries. Widely recognized as the most knowledgeable wine connoisseur of his day, Jefferson was a staunch advocate of the virtues of wine throughout his life. “No nation is drunken where wine is cheap; and none sober, where the dearness of wine substitutes ardent spirits as the common beverage,” he once argued.

“Here! here!” I say. How true that is–just like a satisfying meal; if it’s delicious, you don’t need to overeat, whereas if you’re not satiated, you’ll likely keep on eating–or drinking–until you are. (I’d say that’s part of the problem in America today.)

I’m thinking a lot about Jefferson these days because I’m in full-on French experience mode, planning a trip to my beloved land where I lived eleven years (in Paris). This devotee of French culture, gastronomy–and the human experience in general–also comes to mind, since Monsieur Jefferson aka Clay Jenkinson is going to be in Telluride, Colorado this Sunday and I plan to go to hear him and say bonjour.

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The Gold Season in Colorado: A Festive Time for Professional and Amateur Photographers

America the Beautiful

America the Beautiful

Oh Say Can You See

Oh Say Can You See

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.

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Adventure Travel Love for You and KOTO

Hiking Mt. Wilson:  Adventure Travel at Its Best in Colorado

Hiking Mt. Wilson, a 14er: Adventure Travel at Its Best in Colorado

I think it’s so cool that we have some of the best adventure specialists based right here in Telluride, Colorado. It makes sense, since Telluride and the outlying region provide the perfect terrain for heading out and exploring the great outdoors whether you’re cycling, hiking, skiing, fishing, climbing or jeeping. Some of these guiding greats have done so well in the region that they also conduct tours beyond southwestern Colorado, as far away as the other side of the globe, in fact.

A few of these companies have generously offered tours to KOTO’s current fundraising campaign. I’ll be chatting more about these adventure specialists on tomorrow night’s Travel Fun, a special live edition of my talk show on travel, which airs Thursday, September 17, A LITTLE EARLIER THAN USUAL at 6:20 pm mountain time.

I have been doing this show for almost eleven years and you can find many of my interviews posted on my blog as podcasts. If you have enjoyed Travel Fun, I encourage you to contact me to make a pledge or a donation. You can also show your love by snatching up one of the below tours at a deeply-discounted price. Thanks to Lizard Head Cycling Guides, Telluride Mountain Guides, Telluride Adventures/San Juan Outdoor Adventures and Telluride Offroad, here’s what I have to offer:

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