Fairmont Heritage Place
Telluride’s uncrowded slopes are a dream. A ski valet shuttles my ungainly planks to the lift. Day 2 – Fame and Fortitude
wild salmon with spinach, bacon, leek and corn polenta. As I unwind back in the Lodge’s Jacuzzi, I catch a glimpse of one more famous face: the Coors mountain I was too lazy to climb.
Day 3 – Casting Call
After an unearned Lomi-Lomi massage at the Lodge spa and an altitude-acclimatizing stint in its oxygen bar, I head to BootDoctors and Paragon Outdoors to learn the fine art of fly-fishing, another Lodge recommendation. My guide, Adam Cuthreil, greets me with a firm angler’s handshake and explains apologetically that, because of the recent snow, the rivers are ideal for whitewater rafting but not so good for fishing. He takes me instead over the mountain to a private pond. In the past I’d spent many weary hours forging streams and decorating trees with fishing tackle. This time, Cuthreil promises, would be different. We could see fish jumping before we arrived at the pond. Nestled in a valley out of the stiff breeze, I soon learn to roll cast and bow-and-arrow cast, along with a few other techniques I had no idea I was capable of. We catch so many fish that, for more of a challenge, I find myself casting my Woolly Bugger into the flattest water. It’s pure magic. As we drive back into town we chat like old friends about the idyllic bends we could fish, if only I was in town an extra day. Forget Paris: We’ll always have Telluride.
Fairmont Heritage Place ownership means an extensive benefit program, providing VIP treatment at all Fairmont Hotels & Resorts as well as exchange opportunities with other Fairmont and Raffles properties worldwide.
PHOTOS: ADAM M C CULLOCH (HORSES, WATERFALLS); ISTOCKPHOTOS (AUTUMN, SKIER)
It’s early but already the practice green below is bustling with golfers, putting on a manicured stretch of lawn that will transform into a heliskiing launch pad later in the season. Downhill daredevils can choose from more than 200 square miles (518 square kilometers) of the most perfect powder. I’ll do it some day. But for the time being I’m content to hone my skills on the intermediate Misty Maiden ski run situated right across the plaza from the Lodge. Telluride’s uncrowded slopes are a dream and I never worry about lugging cumbersome skis: a ski valet shuttles my ungainly planks to the lift of my choice. It’s late autumn so I drink in the cool mountain air and gaze out across the spruce-and-pine-covered slopes to the very familiar-looking mountain beyond. It is, in fact, the same one that inspired the packaging for Coors beer. In summer, more adventurous souls than I make the 12-hour ascent of that iconic Wilson Peak for the most magnificent views of the San Miguel Mountains. For a less strenuous view, I head to the gondola, waving en route at a new owner couple preparing for a day hike. Mountain Village, home of Franz Klammer Lodge, is connected to the old town of Telluride in an adjacent valley by a gondola that runs entirely on wind energy. Reaching the town, I leap from my pod and weave among the neat rows of Victorian houses toward Main Street, which is currently filled with stagecoaches, blacksmiths and glossy brown horses. This is no time warp: it’s a street fair – something at which the town excels. The blacksmith enlists eager children to pound lumps of metal until they resemble… well, pounded lumps of metal. Judging by the smiles, the end result hardly matters. I carry on to adventure outfitter Telluride Outside and meet Richard Thorpe, who hustles me to his brutish-looking 4x4. The off-road adventure was a concierge recommendation and the experience does not disappoint. Soon Thorpe and I are climbing a precipitous, rocky trail high above the town while he schools me in how this alpine settlement came to be. It turns out Telluride wasn’t always so lush. “During the gold rush, steam-powered machines ate every tree in sight,” says Thorpe. This led the mine owner, L.L. Nunn, to seek out an alternative power source. He approached Nikola Tesla about trialing his newfangled alternating current. “Where the heck is Telluride?” came Tesla’s response. Nunn explained that the town’s obscurity was exactly the point: If his experiment failed, no one would know. Installed in 1891, the Ames Hydroelectric Generating Plant produces power to this day. Tesla was not the town’s only brush with fame. Ever since Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank here, Telluride has seen more than its fair share of famous faces. Today’s names, however, are more likely to prop up the local economy than deplete it. Tom Cruise, Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey and Ralph Lauren are just some of the town’s repeat visitors. I’m getting peckish so, following my tour of the canyon, I head to Cosmopolitan, the finest restaurant in town. Reservations are needed as much as a month in advance but the Lodge concierge has enough clout to secure a table on short notice. The meal is sublime: barbequed
Fairmont Magazine winter 2012, International edition