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10 Places To See Colorado’s Fall Color


In the Fall, Colorado is transformed into a natural arena of shimmering colors, with the state’s signature gold Aspen trees serving as the main act. These 10 trip ideas will point you in the direction of shimmering yellows, oranges and reds this September and October.

1. Trail Ridge Road

The highest continuous paved road in North America winds through Rocky Mountain National Park from Estes Park in the east to Grand Lake in the west. With more than eight miles above 11,000 feet and a maximum elevation of 12,183 feet, Trail Ridge Road is an amazing vantage point for leaf peepers and is a favored spot for photographers. The Rocky Mountain Conservancy offers guided hikes and tours and volunteer opportunities in the park.

2. Photographer’s Favorite: Kebler Pass

Gunnison is home to Kebler Pass, which boasts the largest aspen grove in North America and is one of renowned photographer John Fielder’s favorite places. Ohio Creek Road is a great starting point, as it passes some unique natural landscapes, including a series of ranch buildings marking the abandoned site of Castleton and the spires of “The Castles” — remnants of volcanic ash and mud that erupted from the West Elk Volcano some 30 million years ago. Note: The pass is unpaved.

3. The San Juan Skyway

San Juan Skyway, a breathtaking 236-mile loop through the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado, offers visitors an amazing array of fall colors and includes a 70-mile stretch known simply as the Million Dollar Highway.  The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad offers a special Fall Photo Train that coincides with optimal fall foliage. Another unique way to experience Colorado’s fall colors is with Soaring® Tree Top Adventures, home to 27 zip lines that pass by brilliant aspens.

4. Maroon Bells

The iconic Maroon Bells, two towering 14,000-foot mountains nestled in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, are the most photographed peaks in North America. Located in the 2.3-million-acre White River National Forest, the Maroon Bells tower over numerous hiking trails that offer unbeatable views of golden aspen trees. The area is accessible by car, however buses run daily mid-June through Labor Day and on weekends Labor Day through early October from the Aspen Highlands.

5. Western Slope Colors

Colorado’s Western Slope is home to the Grand Mesa, the world’s largest flat top mountain, and Colorado wine country. In addition to the reds, whites and rosés made in Grand Junction and Palisade, fall brings with it glorious colors. Powderhorn Mountain Resort‘s vibrant scrub oaks contrast with golden shimmering aspens along the Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway.

6. Buffalo Pass

This dirt road just west of Steamboat Springs, is lined with rows of glowing aspen groves. The pass winds eight miles up toward the Continental Divide and Summit Lake, offering stunning views of the surrounding foliage. As the fall colors become more robust, locals recommend a hike to the pristine Zirkel Wilderness Area’s Three Island Lake Trail, which takes hikers through coniferous forests and high meadows, past glacial lakes and vistas. The 6.1-mile (round trip) trail is moderate in difficulty.

7. La Veta Pass

Peaking at an altitude of more than 9,400 feet, the La Veta Pass on U.S. Route 160 in southern Colorado (west of the town of La Veta) is one of the most scenic drives in the state during the fall season. Gold aspen trees mixed with dark green pines line the pass, while the magnificent Spanish Peaks and Sangre de Cristo Mountains tower over the foliage of the San Luis Valley. The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad (May through October) passes through mountain meadows, canyons and colorful foothills otherwise inaccessible by cars.

8. Free Gondola Ride

The Telluride Free Gondola is one of the most popular ways to view Telluride’s amazing fall colors. The aerial views include the town of Telluride, its box canyon and colorful valleys lined with aspens and evergreens. For yet another way to see Telluride’s foliage, several trailheads are located right in town. Locals suggest the Jud Wiebe Trail, a three-mile loop that winds through large aspen groves and passes by Comet Falls.

9. Dallas Divide

Colorado Hwy. 62 over the Dallas Divide represents an epic fall Colorado drive. Starting near Ridgway, visitors can get an amazing view of Mount Sneffels, one of Colorado’s 58 14ers, and the expansive Sneffels Wilderness Area, which offers several hiking trails for those wishing to venture out further. The route eventually connects with Hwy. 45 and Lizard Head Pass, which offers views of Wilson Peak, the very mountain that inspired the iconic Coors logo. Read about other famous Colorado mountains.

10. Front Range Foliage

Peak to Peak Scenic and Historic Byway is Colorado’s oldest, having been established in 1918. The byway starts in Boulder and offers unmatched views of the Continental Divide and its dramatic fall colors. Though the byway is less than 60 miles in length, there are numerous stop off points along the route, including Rocky Mountain National ParkGolden Gate Canyon State Park, the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, and the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, all of which offer their own unique vantage points for leaf peepers.

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Mountain Aviation: Empty Leg Flights


Telluride Best In Colorado, Ranked By SKI Magazine Readers


Stephen Elliott, Staff Reporter

After a late-summer dusting of Gold Hill tickled locals ready for ski season, and with rumors of a “Godzilla” El Niño bearing down on the West promising record-setting snowfall this winter, more good news comes from the Telluride Ski Resort.

In their 28th annual survey, SKI Magazine readers chose Telluride as the best ski resort in Colorado and the fourth best in western North America.

“We’re thrilled about being ranked fourth by SKI Magazine readers,” Telski President and General Manager Greg Pack said in a statement. “Having an honor such as this come from readers’ votes is important, as it speaks directly to the overall guest experience. This is not just an award for the ski resort, but for the whole community who work together to create a top destination for visitors year after year.”

Telski also ranked in the top 10 for service (7), character (3), lodging (5), après (6), variety (4), challenge (7) and grooming (10).

Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia was the number one resort, according to the readers, with Sun Valley, Idaho at number two and Deer Valley, Utah at number three. Other Colorado resorts on the list include Snowmass (6), Vail (7), Steamboat (8), Beaver Creek (10), Aspen Mountain (13), Breckenridge (14), Winter Park (15), Copper Mountain (16), Aspen Highlands (18), Keystone (22) and Crested Butte (28).

Last year Telluride was also ranked fourth in the SKI Magazine reader’s survey. Condé Nast Traveler has chosen Telluride as the best ski resort in North America three years in a row.

There’s not much the resort can do to bolster its rankings in categories like scenery and terrain. “Mother Nature gave us most of those,” conceded Matt Windt, vice president of sales and marketing at Telski.

And, Windt added, it’s the town and culture of Telluride that contribute more to these sorts of rankings anyway.

“It’s most important that we not forget what an amazing place this is. We live here and see it every day, and it’s easy for us to take it for granted, but for many of our visitors, it’s the first time they get to experience this,” he said. “Every person who lives in town, and every person who works in a restaurant, or at a ski shop, or in a hotel, every single individual has the ability to help guests have an amazing experience.”

“It’s easy for the ski resort to take a lot of credit for the ranking, but we don’t have as much control as the rest of town, so we’re all in it together,” Windt, who started his position last month, added.

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Telluride Festival Is Where The Oscar Season Starts

A still of Carey Mulligan as character Maud Watts  in the film "Suffragette." The movie is part of the Telluride Film Festival's lineup this year.

A still of Carey Mulligan as character Maud Watts  in the film “Suffragette.” The movie is part of the Telluride Film Festival’s lineup this year.

The Telluride Film Festival begins today and lasts through the Labor Day weekend. The four-day event in Telluride, Colorado, is where the unofficial Oscar season starts. Before the event, no one knows what movies will be played or who will be awarded. It all remains a secret until the festival starts, but the curation is guaranteed to be good. In fact, six of the last seven best picture Oscar winners made either their world or North American debuts in this former mining town high in the Rockies. John Horn, the host of the arts and entertainment show “The Frame” on our sister station KPCC, talked to Kai about the business of film festivals.

“Half of the year in Hollywood, six months and starting at Telluride, is devoted to Oscar campaigning, so that’s a multimillion dollar business. If a movie doesn’t play at Telluride, it’s never going to play anywhere,” says Horne. “So if you go there with a movie you think is going to get some Oscar buzz and maybe win an award down the road, you want to get the ball rolling. You want to get the momentum going.” The curators are very good about picking movies, but the festival is prestigious enough that it also seems like movies that come out of Telluride with a lot of buzz do well with awards’ voters.

Movies that Horn is excited about include “Steve Jobs” by director Danny Boyle, who is known for “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Trainspotting”; crime film “Black Mass” starring Johnny Depp as Irish gangster James “Whitey” Bulger; and “Suffragette,” about early members of the British women’s suffrage movement.

The Hollywood Reporter: “He Named Me Malala” To Open 42nd Fest (Exclusive)

The first-anywhere screening of Oscar winner Davis Guggenheim's doc, which recounts the journey of the Pakistani girl who won 2014's Nobel Peace Prize, has been accorded the same coveted time-slot that launched eventual best picture Oscar winner 'Argo.'
 Courtesy of Fox Searchlight
He Named Me Malala, a documentary about Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who won 2014′s Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote access to education for girls around the world, will open the 42nd Telluride Film Festival on Friday afternoon, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.The film, which was directed by Oscar winner Davis Guggenheim(An Inconvenient Truth) and will be released in the U.S. on Oct. 2, is the first documentary ever tapped to be the fest’s “Patron Preview,” a first-anywhere screening of a highly-touted film that is open only to the fest’s biggest supporters.

Guggenheim is expected to help introduce the film — for which he had unparalleled access to Malala, and which reportedly features considerable animation and an original song by Alicia Keys (“Story to Tell”) — and to participate in a post-screening Q&A.

Malala cannot join him — she is studying at a private girls’ school in England, where she has lived ever since she was shot in the head by a member of the Taliban in 2012 — but there is rampant speculation that she and her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, may participate, in some way, via a remote connection.

THR will post a full report about the entire gathering shortly after the film ends. (It will screen several more times in Telluride this weekend before heading north of the border for a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 12.)

Previous “Patron Preview” screenings — which shine a bright spotlight on an Oscar hopeful at this awards season-launching event — have included 2011′s The Descendants2012′s Argo (the eventual best picture Oscar winner), 2013′s Labor Day and last year’s Wild. (Descendants and Wild, like Malala, were Fox Searchlight releases.)

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September 3, 2015 8:12am

The Telluride Film Festival has just officially announced the lineup for its 42nd edition beginning tomorrow and running through Labor Day. However, much of this schedule has been largely known, even though the festival swears all participants to secrecy until its big reveal just before the fest begins. Actually since their dust-up last year, the announcement of the lineup for the Toronto Film Festival (which is blasted out two to three weeks earlier
than Telluride) has tipped the hand of the Colorado fest by naming films that are getting North American, World  or Canadian premieres at TIFF. That more than reliably sends a signal of what Telluride has snagged. AND there are other ways of spilling the beans.

Anyway, now that the first charter flight is in the air on the way to the festival, Telluride has unveiled its slate — or at least most of it. (See it in full below.) Although this magical festival is full of interesting and some little-known films — discoveries, I like to call them — my big interest (other than as a pure film geek marveling at the riches on display) is the influence it will have on the Oscar race.

In recent years, Telluride has become an important part of the three-Fall Festival launch of awards season (including Venice, which started yesterday with what I hear was a rip-roaring standing ovation for opener Everestand the upcoming TIFF which starts September 10). This four-day fest has, in the past, been the first port of call for such eventual Oscar players as The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, Argo, Juno, Capote and so many

others including North American debuts for the likes of Birdman, The Artist, Gravity and so on. So what in this year’s lineup looks to have awards potential?

At least two major studios are counting on the eccentric fest to give a push to the hopes of their films. Warner Bros, which has brought Argo and Gravity in recent editions, is sending director Scott Cooper’s Whitey Bulger story Black Mass directly from its Friday Venice world premiere. It will hit Telluride on its way next to TIFF. Cooper,  producer John Lesher and co-star Joel Edgerton are making the trek from Italy. Star Johnny Depp is attending Venice and Toronto for sure, but could he be an unexpected visitor to Telluride? Anything’s possible I hear. Universal, meanwhile, is bringing in Steve Jobs, the biopic that stars Michael
Fassbender in the title role. There is much anticipation for this one and Uni is sending a big delegation to the Rockies for this unofficial world premiere. Expected to accompany the film are co-stars Kate Winslet and Michael Stuhlbarg (but not Fassbender, who is working) along with writer Aaron Sorkin (in his first visit to Telluride) and director Danny Boyle, who once told me he owes much to Telluride for being the first to showcase the then-unknown Slumdog Millionaire and later eventual Best Picture nominee 127 Hours. He will be the recipient of one of the festival’s special tributes this year as well. Producers and/or executive producers Mark Gordon, Guyman Casady, Bryan Zuriff and Christian Colson will also be on hand.

Speaking of tributes, Telluride will also be highlighting a young star, Rooney Mara,  co-star of the Cannes sensation Carol (with Cate Blanchett) that will be making its North American debut at Telluride. Mara is an interesting choice for this shout-out only because the resume for the 30 year old is not long, with the only big titles being David Fincher-directed films The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo along with Her, the upcoming Pan  and a handful of others. Occasionally Telluride likes to salute a new star and that is clearly the case for this special spotlight. She won Best Actress at Cannes for her luminous portrayal in Carol, reminding me of a young Audrey Hepburn or Jean Simmons. Expect director Todd Haynes also along for the ride with this Weinstein Company pic set for a November 20 release.

Fox Searchlight, a frequent supplier to the fest, is bringing only their documentary, He Named Me Malala. Usually they also throw a party, but not this year. Director Davis Guggenheim as well as Malala’s father will be on hand. The young subject of the film has to stay back in England for school, but despite the distance I would not discount some sort of surprise participation. Just a guess but this is a virtual world we live in, right? The unknown is always a fun element at Telluride. Another frequent supplier Sony Pictures Classics is apparently only bringing one high-profile film this time, the Cannes Grand Prize winner Son Of Saul, Hungary’s entry for the Oscars. SPC will be having its annual dinner on Saturday per tradition, albeit in a new location this year.

Black Mass by the way won’t be the only title coming straight from Venice. A gripping story about the Boston Globe‘s uncovering of the Catholic church molestation scandal many years ago, Spotlight being released November 6 by Open Road Films and premiering today in Venice will head from the Lido to the Rockies along with starsMichael Keaton and Rachel McAdams from the impressive ensemble along with director Tom McCarthy. Early reviews are pretty good, and I found the film to be compelling viewing indeed. Also direct from Venice will be Netflix’s first attempt (outside of a couple of documentaries) to launch a major feature film presence in the awards season, Cary Fukanaga’s demanding 136-minute child soldier drama Beasts Of No Nation, which stars Idris Elba and is seemingly hitting every fest that will have it including Telluride.

Focus Features’ feminist triumph Suffragette on the other hand makes its only Fall Festival appearance at Telluride prior to its European premiere in October as the London Film Festival opener. Excellent star Carey Mulligan is expecting in September so she’s off the circuit until that preem. Among the flock said to be representing the film at Telluride will be director Sarah Gavron (who I first met at the 2007 Telluride with her brilliant Brick Lane), writer Abi Morgan, and co-star Meryl Streep, a first-timer to the fest even though her role as the head of the Suffragette movement depicted in the film is really just a cameo. Doesn’t matter though since her character, Emmeline Pankhurst, has her presence felt throughout, and the subject matter of the film is very relevant and important and blissfully
very female-centic in front of and behind the scenes. Focus is doing a cocktail party to celebrate the movie.

A24 is also coming to the fest this year with their indie Room with stars Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay and director Lenny Abrahmson attending. I am looking forward as well to the marriage drama 45 Years which stars Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay that first premiered in Berlin. Any chance to see those two together is worth fighting the altitude.

Of course as today’s announcement points out there are plenty of other films on display including a trio from Cohen Media Group which is having a cocktailer on Sunday to celebrate the documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut and Rams, both fresh out of Cannes with the latter Icelandic film winning the Un Certain Regard prize there. Cohen also has just officially acquired the French film Marguerite and is giving it a slot at Telluride. Charlie Kaufman will also be on hand with his animatedAnomalisa. The late Sydney Pollack’s as-yet unreleased   Aretha Franklin musical documentary from 1972, Amazing Grace, will finally get a theatrical showcase as well, one of the joys that Telluride can provide in addition to so many other treasures , classics and obscure gems to be unearthed in the next few days.

But for us Oscar watchers it will also help mark the launch of the six-month awards season. And as usual the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be having its cocktail party for members checking out the fest. This is the place to be over Labor Day. Look for my reports as I labor days and nights all weekend long.

Here’s the complete lineup sans surprise entries:

· CAROL (d. Todd Haynes, U.S., 2015)
· AMAZING GRACE (d. Sydney Pollack, U.S., 1972/2015)
· ANOMALISA (d. Charlie Kaufman, U.S., 2015)
· BEAST OF NO NATION (d. Cary Fukunaga, U.S., 2015)
· HE NAMED ME MALALA (d. Davis Guggenheim, U.S., 2015)
· STEVE JOBS (d. Danny Boyle, U.S., 2015)
· IXCANUL (d. Jayro Bustamante, Guatemala, 2015)
· BITTER LAKE (d. Adam Curtis, U.K., 2015)
· ROOM (d. Lenny Abrahamson, England, 2015)
· BLACK MASS (d. Scott Cooper, U.S., 2015)
· SUFFRAGETTE (d. Sarah Gavron, U.K., 2015)
· SPOTLIGHT (d. Tom McCarthy, U.S., 2015)
· RAMS (d. Grímur Hákonarson, Iceland, 2015)
· MOM AND ME (d. Ken Wardrop, Ireland, 2015)
· VIVA (d. Paddy Breathnach, Ireland, 2015)
· TAJ MAJAL (d. Nicolas Saada, France-India, 2015)
· SITI (d. Eddie Cahyono, Indonesia, 2015)
· HEART OF THE DOG (d. Laurie Anderson, U.S. 2014)
· 45 YEARS (d. Andrew Haigh, England, 2015)
· SON OF SAUL (d. Lázló Nemes, Hungary, 2015)
· ONLY THE DEAD (d. Michael Ware, Bill Guttentag, U.S.- Australia, 2015)
· TAXI (d. Jafar Panahi, Iran, 2015)
· HITCHCOCK/TRUFFAUT (d. Kent Jones, U.S., 2015)
· TIME TO CHOOSE (d. Charles Ferguson, U.S., 2015)
· MARGUERITE (d. Xavier Giannoli, France, 2015)
· TIKKUN (d. Avishai Sivan, Israel, 2015)
· WINTER ON FIRE: UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR FREEDOM (d. Evgeny Afineevsky, Russia-Ukraine, 2015)

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