The Telluride Experience

From a base of 8,750 feet on upward to over 13,000 at the peak, Telluride is a destination you’ll want to indulge in, whether you’re slope-savvy or not. There’s a certain indescribable charm about the Telluride Ski & Golf Resort. Maybe it’s the refreshing mountain air, the sight of the snow-capped peaks (no matter when you visit, you’ll always see some snow), or the inviting nature of the Madeline Resort & Spa. Simply put, when you’re there, there’s nowhere else you’d rather be.

After checking in on Monday, we made a quick stop at Tomboy Tavern for the best Bloody Marys on the mountain.

If you’re stopping by Tomboy Tavern, don’t forget to try: the Carnitas Plate, the Tomboy Burger, and of course, the Bloody Marys.


Bill Jensen, CEO of Telluride Ski & Golf Resort and former YPO member, hosted dinner at The Chop House later that day. Bill is happy to meet with all YPO members during their visit to Telluride, providing behind the scenes insights into running one of the most iconic ski resorts in North America. His advice is invaluable, and you won’t want to miss the opportunity.

Dinner was a delight, with The Chop House boasting some of the best game and western aged beef in Colorado. In the warm months, you can make your way up to the only rooftop bar in the town of Telluride, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking 360-degree views of the majestic terrain.

If you’re stopping by The Chop House, don’t forget to try: The Wild Mushroom Soup to start and follow it up with the Rocky Mountain Elk Short Loin.

On Tuesday, we embarked on a Private Snowcat Tour to the top of the mountain before dawn. With intense verticals along the way, a quick breakfast and coffee in the cabin of the cat provided the necessary nourishment for this thrilling once-in-a-lifetime experience. But that was just the trip up. We still had to get down the mountain, and that meant experiencing some incredible First Tracks skiing. The experience was hosted by Jeff Proteau, Director of Operations at Telluride, providing an amazing commentary on the resort throughout his 25 years with the organization.


Looking for lunch after a long morning on the slopes? We recommend Bon Vivant, where Telluride Top-Chef Jared Campbell walked us through the menu.

If you’re stopping by Bon Vivant, don’t forget to try: the Wild Boar & Duck Cassoulet, a local favorite.

That afternoon, we embarked on an exhilarating Heli-Trax Aerial Tour of the mountains. Lasting about 20 minutes, the aerial tour is the ideal size for forum groups and perfect as an optional activity for larger groups. If you’re looking for even more adventure, heli-skiing is also available.


The Madeline Resort & Spa, where we were staying for the trip, is a luxurious ski-in/ski-out property that can tailor-fit accommodations for small groups or larger chapter retreats with a vast assortment of room options and multi-bedroom suites.

For dinner, we met with Madeline’s General Manager, Duncan Hogarth, and Group Sales Director, John Carter, to discuss past retreats at The Madeline and brainstorm new and unique experiences for future ones.

Our final day was occupied by private ski lessons arranged by Telluride Resort. They can put together professional instructors with skiers of any skill level to make for a fun day on the slopes. Start with the basics, improve your form, advance to backcountry skiing, or anything in between. The pros will build a lesson plan to fit your party’s ambitions, from one-on-one to larger groups.


We stopped for lunch at 12,000 feet up in the mountains at Alpino Vino, hosted by Chad Horning (YPO Rocky Mountain), Co-owner of Telluride Ski & Golf Resort. Touted as the “highest restaurant in North America,” this beautiful Italian chalet was the perfect place to take a break and learn from Chad the history of the resort and how his group came into ownership back in the early 2000s. Chad is a great asset for any retreat and has plenty of knowledge to share with his fellow members.

If you’re skiing by Alpino Vino, don’t forget to try: 2009 Talenti Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Antipasto Selection of Fine Cured Meats & Cheeses and the Tomato-Gorgonzola Soup. Magnificent.

After a little high-altitude lunch we were treated to a private tour of the Wagner Custom Ski Factory with CEO Pete Wagner. This is a can’t-miss experience for any retreat group and the story behind Pete’s operation is fascinating, not to mention witnessing the process of building high-performance skis right before your eyes.

We wrapped up the day with dinner at Allred’s, perfect for groups of any size and able to accommodate large groups on a buy-out basis of up to 130 people. The atmosphere is warm and inviting and the perfect finish to a day on the mountains.


If you’re riding the gondola up to Allred’s, don’t forget to try: a Basket of Truffle Fries, Shishito Peppers, the Colorado Rack of Lamb and Sea Bass.

And no trip to Telluride is complete without a stop at The Last Dollar Saloon. Take the gondola down and enjoy the descent into darkness. It’s spectacular. And if you want to extend the evening, the Liberty Bar is a must-visit for some live music and energetic nightlife.

Telluride has something for everyone, and the mountains are a welcome escape for retreats of all sizes. Enjoy the view, hit the slopes, explore the town, and take in some local flavor.

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