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5 Adventure-Packed Films To See At Telluride Mountainfilm


By Morgan Tilton, The Denver Magazine

Where can you meet human-rights activist Shannon Galpin, famed climber Tommy Caldwell, and Fawzia Koofi, the first female speaker in the Afghan Parliament, all in one place? At one of America’s oldest film festivals: the 37th annual Telluride Mountainfilm Festival, taking place Memorial Day weekend.

Packed with adrenaline, the festival’s hand-selected 100-plus documentaries and shorts share educational and inspirational stories from around the globe, tackling everything from climate change and culture to human rights and environmental causes. Between films, festivalgoers can catch book signings, coffee conversations, presentations, and much more.

Here, we ask five directors and adventurers from some of this year’s must-see films to share behind-the-scenes details of their experiences.


Duration: 12 minutes

Colorado Spotlight: Directed by Colorado-based Sweetgrass Productions‘ Nick Waggoner—who earned his BA in documentary film from Colorado College—and Michael Brown, Afterglow lights up the snow sport industry, literally. It was filmed entirely at night using tailored LED-ladened suits, five types of aircrafts, and more than 9,000 pounds of camera and lighting equipment.

Riskiest Moment: “Setting up the lights on crazy-exposed knife-edge ridges,” says Waggoner. “We would ‘bag’ the equipment—a light, light stand, filter, frames, massive generator, extension cords—in a net and long-line the gear from a helicopter. Then, we would dig out a tiny platform in the snow (with sheer drops on either side) and stand there to receive and unclip the 750-pound wrecking ball from the helicopter.”

Behind-the-scenes: “In a tactful, multi-step process, we transported gear 70 miles from Anchorage to a remote glacier—the cargo plane could only handle trips carrying 4,000 pounds—and marked the glacier’s runways using a tiny two-seat plane,” says Waggoner. “We were there for 14 days and only filmed three nights, which says a lot about the logistics of the shoot.”

Epiphany: “There were moments when we were sitting in the wilderness in complete awe of what we were a part of. Most of us knew we’d never see anything like it again in our lives.”

Screening: May 23, 8:45 p.m.; Base Camp Outdoor Theatre, Town Park, 500 E. Colorado Ave., Telluride; Free Admission


Duration: 7 minutes

Colorado Spotlight: Former Telluride resident and director Ben Knight now lives inSalida, and runs Felt Soul Media with Travis Rummel. Denali celebrates human–dog loyalty through the story of filmmaker Ben Moon’s cancer journey and the unwavering support of his four-legged friend, Denali.

Most Memorable Moment: “I broke my keyboard’s ‘L’ key from crying like an idiot while I was writing the film,” Knight says. “It’s incredible what Ben went through. There are many cancer survivors out there, and Ben’s story is pretty special. I feel very blessed that he trusted me to help him tell it.”

Behind-the-scenes: “Ben had Denali for 14-and-a-half years, spanning most of his early adult life,” Knight says. “They covered 150,000 miles throughout the West together in a van. Denali was renowned for wandering around camp and introducing Ben to many people who would become his friends.”

Epiphany: “It can be scary to take on projects that are just for your soul or to collaborate with a friend. Working on Denali reminded me how important it is to tell these stories—no matter what. I hope [the film] will resonate with a lot of people who have been through cancer, or people who have been patiently at home waiting to greet them.”

Screenings: May 22, 6:15 p.m.; Sheridan Opera House, 110 N. Oak St.; May 24, 3:30 p.m.; High Camp, Mountain Village Conference Center, 580 Mountain Village Blvd., Mountain Village


Duration: 15 minutes

Colorado Spotlight: Born and raised—and still living—in Boulder, director Joey Schusler, along with co-director Karl Thompson, captures just how far weekend warriors can travel as they go to the top of North America’s third tallest peak, Pico de Orizaba, and back again in 55 Hours In Mexico.

Riskiest Moment: “The film’s adventure was inherently risky: Beyond navigating glacial fields and scrambling over volcanic rock, we went from sea level to 18,500 ft. in approximately 10 hours, which puts you at risk of High-altitude cerebral edema (HACE) or High-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE),” Schusler says.

Behind-the-scenes: “We had exactly 55 hours to document the trip. We left on a Thursday and were back in Denver on Sunday morning, so it was definitely a constant state of hurry to get the shot while moving up the mountain,” says Schusler.

Epiphany: You can pack just about anything into a weekend if you try hard enough.

Screenings: May 23, 12 p.m.; High Camp, Mountain Village Conference Center; May 24, 9:45 a.m.; Sheridan Opera House


Duration: 40 minutes

Colorado Spotlight: Along with directors Renan Ozturk and Taylor Rees, Telluride mountaineer Hilaree O’Neill leads a five-person team on what became a harrowing expedition to summit the mysterious peak in Myanmar, Hkakabo Razi.

Riskiest Moment: “The whole trip felt like we were hanging on by our fingernails. Several times, we walked back-and-forth across this bamboo tight-wire bridge to get a shot, hundreds of feet above a river. I tried not to look down as the bamboo bent and creaked under my feet,” says O’Neill.

Behind-the-scenes: “Knowing that travel would be difficult, Renan arrived in Burma with an already pared down set of equipment. In the end, 90 percent of the equipment was left behind in the jungle. By the time we reached the mountains, he was making due with the absolute bare minimum. At one point, the monitor on the main camera broke, and every shot afterwards was a total guess,” O’Neill says.

Epiphany: “I’ve worked on a lot of film projects over the years, and with this trip I realized that filming can be a lot of hard work and add extra stress to the team. Some trips are better suited for filming than others,” says O’Neill.

Screenings: May 22, 9 p.m.; Sheridan Opera House; May 25, 9:15 a.m.; Michael D. Palm Theatre, 721 W. Colorado Ave., Telluride


Duration: 99 minutes

Colorado Spotlight: Valley Uprising is about how a small ground of outcasts and Bohemian adventurers started a rock climbing revolution in America’s most legendary national park, Yosemite,” summarized co-creator Nick Rosen, who paired up with director Peter Mortimer, Sender Films founder and Colorado native.

Riskiest Moment: “Things feel risky any time we are filming one of Alex Honnold’s cutting-edge free solo climbs,” says Rosen. “But we have confidence in Alex. It felt even riskier when we were filming these outlaw climber-types who are always doing illegal things. I was praying that the park rangers wouldn’t suddenly appear from behind a tree, bust all of us, and ban us from the park for life.”

Behind-the-scenes: “It took us seven years to make the film. We created an archive of about 25,000 historical images from which to draw our story,” Rosen says.

Epiphany: “One of the greatest moments of discovery was when we were trying to piece together the scene of the infamous drug plane crash of 1977, where climbers discovered and looted a drug plane [full of marijuana] that went down in the Yosemite high country. They smoked a bunch of the jet-fuel-soaked, mildly explosive weed and then sold most of it. We were really stressed about how to bring this legendary story to life. But through a lot of research we dug up the original photos from the looting of the crash site. They were hilarious,” Rosen says.

Screening: May 24, 12:15 p.m.; Michael D. Palm Theatre

The Telluride Mountainfilm runs May 22 to 25. For more information, visit

To visit Telluride Luxury Properties, click here

Significant Sales Volume II, 2015

The latest issue of Significant Sales features top sales from around the world beginning with a captivating penthouse in New York. Also featured are ocean views in Florida, an inviting estate in Colorado and more than twenty other properties from around the globe.

East Side 55m$55,559,392 USD | New York, USA | Sotheby’s International Realty-East Side Manhattan Brokerage

New York – This home is located on a full floor in the tower of Manhattan’s tallest residential building high over Central Park. It has exceptional personal service from Park Hyatt’s new five-star flagship hotel available to all owners. One57 is surrounded by the city’s best restaurants, shopping, entertainment and cultural offerings of Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and Broadway.

DCIM101MEDIA$19,000,000 USD | Florida, USA | Nestler Poletto Sotheby’s International Realty

Florida – This property is ideally located in the renowned Estate Section of Delray Beach, just seconds to the famed Atlantic Avenue, north of Boca Raton’s Mizner Park and south of Palm Beach Island’s Worth Avenue. The home sits on one of South Florida’s best land parcels with incredible privacy, great elevation, stunning ocean views and one of the deepest oceanfront parcels the South Florida coastline has to offer. It features six full bedrooms, seven full and three half baths and 16,000 square feet. It was designed by Affiniti Architects with Marc Michaels interiors and built by Mark Timothy Homes.

Aspen Snowmass 15.1m$15,100,000 USD | Colorado, USA | Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty

Colorado – A truly unique offering, this spectacular home is just a few blocks from Aspen’s core, yet it is situated with end of the road privacy and peaceful outdoor space. The combination of size, luxury and location are rarely seen in this market. There are six en suite bedrooms, plus an office, gym and media room.

Montecito  15m (3)$15,000,000 | California, USA | Sotheby’s International Realty-Montecito-Upper Village Road Brokerage

California – One of Montecito’s premier properties is perfectly situated on prestigious Picacho Lane. South facing terraces look over lush gardens to ocean and island views. This architectural masterpiece is unparalleled for its luxury, amenities and attention to detail. The approximately 3.5-acre estate is graced with two private water wells, a two-bedroom guest house, pool house, staff quarters and a north south tennis court.

Rego SIR Bermuda 14.75m (1)$14,750,000 | Bermuda | Rego Sotheby’s International Realty

Bermuda – This expansive estate was beautifully designed and built in 1992 for the enjoyment of a large family. Every detail of the property has been carefully crafted with high end materials and work- manship designed with a fine sensitivity to traditional Bermuda features. The main house includes four spacious bedrooms all en-suite, a large formal living room, informal living room/movie room with wet bar, dining room and library all with fireplaces, an office wing, a conservatory, two wine cellars, elevators and a two-bedroom staff apartment. The grounds are magnificent with a beach pavilion, two-bedroom guest cottage, separate gym, pool, tennis court and putting green, as well as access to Grape Bay Beach.

Significant Sales Volume 02 >

To visit Telluride Luxury Properties, click here

Yahoo! Travel: Striking Gold: A Trip Along Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway


Ann Abel

Yahoo! Travel | May 8, 2015

When the front bumper of our cheap rental car detached itself in Farmington, New Mexico, we knew we were going to have to do better than duct tape. The usual scrappy-adventure-girl fixes don’t cut it when you’re headed for Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway.

The problem wasn’t the aesthetics of duct tape in a luxuriously named destination, though this route through southwestern Colorado is nothing like Chicago’s Magnificent Mile or Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue. (And in fact, the origins of the name are debated, but more on that later.) The emergency mechanic visit was because the 25-mile stretch through the San Juan Mountains is a bit dangerous, not the kind of place where you’d want your car to fall apart.

The two-lane mountain byway that connects Ouray and Silverton, a stretch of US Route 550, is routinely listed on most-dangerous-drives and most-scenic drives lists, for the same reason: The road winds its way over three high-mountain passes (each more than 10,000 feet), complete with steep cliffs, narrow lanes, hairpin curves, a lack of guardrails, falling rock potential, and driving surfaces cut directly into sides of mountains. It is lined with many mining ghost towns–turned–boho adventure towns.

One popular explanation for the highway’s name is that an early traveler was so overcome by vertigo that he said he’d never traverse the route again, even if someone paid him a million dollars. The other explanations: construction of the road in the 1930s cost $1 million, or that the builders used gravel from nearby gold and silver mines and found out later that the dirt was worth $1 million because it was so rich in ore.

In any case, the scenery that unfolds beyond all that treachery is spectacular.

The exterior of the Hotel Madeline. (Photo: Hotel Madeline)

But that’s not why my friend and I had undertaken the Million Dollar Highway. We had actually set out on a longer driving adventure along the San Juan Skyway, which connects Cortez, Telluride, Ouray, Silverton, and Durango in a 236-mile loop of highways 160, 145, 62 and 550. Sure, we enjoy dramatic mountain vistas as much as the next girls, but we wanted to check out the quirky local establishments and colorful characters in these Victorian mountain towns. And, okay, we wanted to check out the luxury hotel amenities along the way, too.We drove up from Albuquerque, which took about five hours (not counting rental car diagnostics and replacement), because that’s where we were coming from, but visitors can fly straight to Cortez, Telluride, or Montrose, which are all on or near the route. Denver is also a few hours away. Once you’re on the highway, here’s what’s worth a stop.


The Madeline’s restaurant. (Photo: Hotel Madeline)

Once a mining town and now one of Colorado’s most high-end ski resorts, Telluride benefits from its picturesque and nearly inaccessible location in a mountain valley. Peaks rise up on all sides, and there’s not much traffic just passing through.

The Hotel Madeline offers a hefty dose of luxury to kick off a hair-raising drive. Located in nearby Mountain Village, the hub of Telluride’s winter activities, it’s connected to downtown via a free gondola that affords spectacular views and runs until midnight.

Stop along the gondola ride at the San Sophia mid-station for sundowners at Alreds, which is perched at 10,551 feet and has panoramic views of Telluride below and the sunset to the west. The Madeline has a great restaurant, but for a bite in town, try Brown Dog Pizza, a local favorite that serves classic American, Chicago deep-dish, Detroit-style, and gluten-free pies.


Ouray’s hot springs. (Photo: Mark Johnson)

“Hip, Hip Ouray,” shout the welcome signs at the quirkiest town along the route, a mecca for rock and ice climbers and hot springs soakers. And while the nature playground is certainly impressive, it’s worth spending a little time inside.

The Ouray Alchemist. (Photo: Steve Traudt)

The Ouray Alchemist is a passion project of former pharmacist Curtis Haggar, who spent 40 years collecting medical and pharmaceutical artifacts and built a re-creation of a frontier pharmacy to house them. Haggar’s guided tour (book in advance) is a fascinating hour of snake oils, patent medicines and dubious practices.

To visit Telluride Luxury Properties, click here

New and Notable Luxury Properties for Sale | April 2015

From a California home on two peninsulas to a contemporary villa in Cannes this month’s collection of exceptional properties for sale feature homes from some of the world’s finest locales.

Laguna Beach

$75,000,000 USD | Laguna Beach, California | HOM Sotheby’s International Realty

California— Known as “Twin Points,” this Laguna Beach property is made up of nearly 2 acres and is bookended by two sandy beaches, Crescent Bay and Shaws Cove. The property has views of Catalina Island and the coastline and includes a three bedroom, three bathroom home and gust home. According to the Wall Street Journal, the former owner’s great-grandmother built a sea wall on the beach in the cove to create a saltwater swimming pool that fills with water at high tide. Such structures can no longer be built, so they are very rare.


Price Upon Request | Cannes, France | Côte d’Azur Sotheby’s International Realty

France—This modern villa faces south to enjoy stunning sea views. With lines resolutely contemporary, it benefits from upscale amenities and top of the range services, providing the latest technology of home automation. The home also has a heated infinity mirror pool, two pool houses, outdoor fireplace and summer kitchen.


28 000 000 $ CAD | Toronto, Canada | Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

Canada— The home known as The Integral House—A house that changed the cultural landscape of a city. The finest craftspeople from around the globe collaborated to create this iconic dwelling using the best materials imaginable to create a work of art. Imagined around the concert hall, Integral House is all about entertaining. The home has a heated drive and indoor exercise pool and spa complex as some of its amenities.


179,000,000 AED | Dubai, UAE | Gulf Sotheby’s International Realty

Dubai—This Emirates Hills home is beautifully positioned offering uninterrupted views of the Emirates golf course and the Dubai Marina skyline beyond. The villa offers a unique, contemporary design fused with traditional architraves and is designed with family living in mind. The seven bedroom home has two mirror image full height aquariums, a bespoke built study, fully equipped professional kitchen, wine room, and gym among its amenities.

View Newly Listed Luxury Properties for Sale >

Visit Telluride Luxury Properties here

Equestrian Inspired Property | Kentucky Derby

  $15,900,000 USD | Longmont, Colorado| Telluride Sotheby’s International Realty – Bill Fandel

 Set within a stunning private valley just minutes north of downtown Boulder, Colorado, the 144-deeded acres of the 4 Rockin’G Ranch is the rarest of assemblages. Offering a perfect combination of a comfortable family compound, premium working ranch and a true recreational retreat, 4 Rockin’G is bordered by over 1,000 acres of dedicated Open Space, with an Olympic-size riding arena and one of the most premiere equestrian facilities on Colorado’s Front Range. Click here for more on the 4 Rockin’ G Ranch.

7484 N 49'th, Boulder, Colorado.

$24,200,000 USD | Longmont, Colorado| Telluride Sotheby’s International Realty – Bill Fandel

“Ashlawn” is the finest residential and recreational estate and polo farm offered for sale on Colorado’s Front Range. Magnificently set at the base of Haystack Mountain, the property spans 117-acres of verdant fields lined by century-old trees and the flowing waters of Left Hand Creek. The home is a masterpiece of neo-classic architecture with sweeping views of Rocky Mountains, championship polo field and a stately barn complex visible from nearly every room. While grand in stature, the home welcomes you into warm and intimate spaces that will accommodate generations of family and guests. Click here for more information on “Ashlawn”.

$2,495,000 USD | Telluride, Colorado| Telluride Sotheby’s International Realty – Bill Fandel

Nestled within a storybook setting, just 13 miles from the heart of Telluride, Lazy Dog Ranch is a true country retreat shaped by years of inspired stewardship. Framed by towering aspen trees that overlook rolling green pastures at the foot of some of Colorado’s most dramatic peaks, this gentlemen’s ranch offers the ultimate escape to a more serene environment. From the front gate, a winding gravel drive opens into park-like grounds, threaded by flowing streams and defined by native-stone walls. Click here for more information on Lazy Dog Ranch.

$45,000,000 USD | Telluride, Colorado| Telluride Sotheby’s International Realty – Bill Fandel

Berman Buckskin Ranch is a truly exceptional opportunity to create your own legacy on a breathtaking assemblage of over 1,400-acres of the finest recreational outdoors in the Rocky Mountains. Located just 13 miles on year-round roads from the legendary resort town of Telluride, this ranch retreat offers its owners miles of trails for hiking, biking & snowmobiling; an intimate log-and-stone Guest Cabin; a world-class sporting clay/shooting course; 32,000 sq ft Equestrian Barn, featuring 21 stalls, with a veterinary facility, game room, stocked trout ponds, flowing waters of Fall Creek & rolling meadows, towering trees & verdant green pastures offer staggering views of the surrounding 14,000 ft peaks of the Wilson Range. Click here for more information on Berman Buckskin Ranch.

To visit Telluride Luxury Properties, click here

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