What Are You Buying Your Valentine? How About a Little Ski In/Ski Out Number at the Villas at Cortina in Telluride?

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Gus Cortina

I know it’s 72 degrees in Dallas, but the ski season is in full swing just a few hundred miles north of us.  And we are quite in love with the town of Telluride, Colorado. We would prefer a little ski in/ski out place at the Villas at Cortina over a box of chocolates. Or flowers. That’s a place where we could escape in winter OR summer, bring the kids and grand-kids, and make it a family fun time. When your children grow up and work, their time becomes incredibly precious and cannot be parsed out enough.

Cortina Villas

A care-free second home at the Villas of Cortina in Telluride provides the perfect family getaway with the cleanest, most wholesome family sport of all times: skiing. That photo is of 2014 Olympic silver medalist in Slopestyle skiing, hometown Telluride boy, Gus Kenworthy, in the Villa’s ski tunnel.

First of all, it’s easy to get to Telluride from Dallas. Dallas snow seekers are taking advantage of increased service to Telluride (MTJ) this winter on American Airlines. Telluride has announced a 20% overall increase in flights to the destination for the 2014-2015 winter season, and the Dallas flight leads the way with a 51% growth in seats.

“We are thrilled to provide such a significant increase in flights this winter,” said Colorado Flights COO Matt Skinner. “With daily direct flights, Dallas residents have easy access to the best skiing in the Rockies.”

American/US Airways offers daily direct flights out of Dallas through April 6, 2015, with an added Saturday flight (through March 28, 2015) to accommodate the growing number of Telluride enthusiasts in the Dallas metro area. And there are many!

“The new and increased flights are a game changer for North America’s #1 resort,” said Telluride Ski & Golf President & GM Greg Pack. “We are pleased by the significant added access from Dallas. We already have the easiest ski town to get around in with our two free gondolas and free public transit system, so making it easier for our guests to get here falls in line with our core strategy — make it easy for our guests.”

That’s another great thing about Telluride when you own a home at the Villas at Cortina: it’s a truly walkable community and if you need a car, they’ll give you a lift!

Telluride was recently named North America’s #1 ski resort, by the readers of Condé Nast, for the THIRD consecutive year.

Why do SKIERS like Telluride so much?

The word I hear over and over is terrain. There is something for everyone to ski on these mountains. Like moguls? Well, they make me turn! Telluride is said to have the best, found mostly on the mountain section that drops between the gondola mid-station and the town of Telluride. I haven’t been yet, but ski expert Larry Olmstead cannot say enough great stuff about skiing Telluride terrain:

…which is where I have traditionally spent much of my time, but this is less than a quarter of the map (click here for interactive map). So I had relished world class bump runs like Spiral Stairs, Kant-Mak-M and Mine Shaft at the expense of the rest of the mountain. Secondly, Revelation Bowl, the last major terrain expansion, did not exist the last time I visited. On the backside of the peak, this is Telluride’s answer to Vail’s Back Bowls (though on a much smaller scale). It is a true treeless bowl where you can ski basically any line, and it is all single black terrain that tends to load up on powder and usually has one groomed route down. What this means is that it is accessible to a wide range of skier abilities including those who normally could never really experience bowl skiing elsewhere. A strong intermediate can manage the groomer under most conditions, and advanced skiers will love it. And when it snows it really snows…

Bowl skiing made easy? Book my trip! How about a 4 and a half mile beginner’s run when your energy is on low?

Even intermediate skiers can sample powder skiing with Telluride’s vast assortment of varied blue and double blue trails.There truly is something for everyone on this mountain and the ability level is exceptionally well distributed. Beginners have their terrain, including a 4 ½ mile run down from near the top, something not many mountains offer. In many cases, less skilled skiers never see anything above the mid-mountain restaurant, but the top of Telluride offers some of the most stunning views in American skiing, vistas across the jagged San Juan range, and any skier of any ability can get up there, experience this true alpine environment, and then ski down.

So true! So many times the hardest lifts have the best views, and I have to side-slip my life away. Not at Telluride:

Intermediates have it made, because Telluride has tons of very varied blue and double blue terrain – and not just groomed cruisers. Improving advanced intermediates can try bump runs and powder skiing and glades, all especially welcoming to first timers in these styles and well suited to learning. There are very few mountains that offer intermediate glade skiing. Basically they have every step along the skiing ability curve, from novice to beginner to intermediate, advanced intermediate, expert and way beyond. The Polar Queen Express high speed quad is like an entire blue and double ski resort in and of itself, and many skiers spend their whole day here. Prospect Express is another area devoted to green, double green, blue and double blue skiing. For less skilled skiers, the Sunshine Express area has lots of long green runs and is isolated from more aggressive skiers who sometimes scare beginners.

Then there is the town: Telluride is an historic Old West Colorado town set in a box canyon, surrounded by mountains and protected wilderness. Unlike most ski resorts, this is a town you can walk or ski into and out of. Few ski resorts boast this — certainly Vail, Park City Mountain Resort, Aspen, Breckenridge and Heavenly (for expert skiers) all have ski in/ski out towns, but Telluride is the most authentic.

Besides, when you have a ski home at Cortina, you have a private tunnel that gets you right to the lift lines which also, by the way, seldom have lines. Most owners find they stay in and relax at the Villas, but if you want to go out…

Telluride also offers a plethora of experiences once you are off the slopes. Some people are hard core, I know; they will get on the first lift of the morning and when the last lift goes up, they are on it. But for some people, skiing is a half-day adventure. Then it’s Miller Time. When you are not skiing, Telluride offers a lot of fun things to experience:  lots of restaurants, shopping, off-slope and après ski activities.

Cortina kitchens

Cortina great room

Cortina bedrooms

Cortina outdoor cooking

When you live at the Villas, your apres- ski menu includes a soak in a beautiful year-round pool and hot tub, a drink in the owner’s lounge or fun convo around the outdoor fire pit. You will likely run into someone from Dallas here! Kids can find fun in the game room, or the pool, or you can even let them wander down to the plaza unsupervised if they are old enough. Parents have told me one reason why they love Telluride so much is that it is one of the few places in American where they can “unleash” their children with confidence, which actually builds in another layer of parental relaxation.

Then there’s the service and ski pampering you only find at the Villas of Cortina: a private shuttle service takes you or the kids wherever you want to go in town — grocery shopping, the free gondola, drop off or pick up the kids in the plaza. It’s almost like having a private chauffeur. They will even pick you up from MTJ. Oh, and schlepping is a word you might just drop from your vocab after the Villas get hold of you: ski valet and storage is right at the ski tunnel in the Owner’s Lounge, right there when you come in off the mountains, right there when you are ready to head out.

The Villas at Cortina make skiing much less cumbersome for families, which keeps you coming back for more and more. Villas start at $1,595,000, and last a whole lot longer than Valentines flowers!