Express UK: Take A Trip To Tarantino’s Telluride
Not surprising then the director chose the epic scenery around the North American ski resort of Telluride as the backdrop for the film, a post civil war western starring Kurt Russell, Samuel L Jackson and Jennifer Jason-Leigh, amongst an ensemble of Tarantino regulars.
However, the film’s scheduled January release will not be the only thing on the New Year wish list of those visiting this historic and, above all, authentic former frontier town.
With early season snowfall already living up to predictions a strong El Nino in the Pacific would bring heavy snow storms to southern parts of the Rockies this winter season, Telluride, nestled in remote south western Colorado, was always well positioned for a walloping.
With names such as Plunge and Mine Shaft, these are must do challenges for anyone wishing to test their skills.
Not that Telluride is just about steeps; over the ridge, Telluride Mountain Village occupies the stage of a suspended mountain amphitheatre, backed by the saw blade ridge of Palmyra Peak and looking out over scenery dominated by Mount Wilson’s 14,252ft pyramid peak.
Hit the Gold Hill chutes or Revelation Bowl on a powder day as we did and it is heaven and not at all to hell you ride, the advice said to be given to an earlier traveller headed to these parts and one explanation given for the town’s unusual name.
The stunning mountain range
Then, to vanish amongst the conifers, before emerging into gentle sunlit glades; this is a snow lover’s playground of the finest kind. In keeping with most North American resorts everything inbounds is patrolled and avalanche controlled, meaning skiers can enjoy all the thrills of off-piste with little of the concerns found in Europe.
What’s more, the resort is too far from any urban centres for lift lines to develop, even at the weekend.
Piste-hungry intermediates will cover Telluride’s groomers in a few days. One option is to combine a stay with a visit to other resorts such as Aspen or Crested Butte, as we have on previous road trips. For experts feeling the urge to explore further, alternatives include heli-skiing, or a day trip to the nearby expert only powder paradise of Silverton Mountain.
And talk to the friendly locals and it soon becomes clear many people move to Telluride and never leave. My wife and I stayed 10 days but wished it could have been longer. In terms of scenery, Telluride and the surrounding San Juan mountains were made for the silver screen.
In fact, you would struggle to find somewhere with more Wild West history than Telluride; Butch Cassidy is said to have robbed his first bank here, back in the days when this was a mining town complete with prospectors, board walks and saloons.
Telluride is popular with A listers and tourists
The saloons are still there too, lining main street beneath its box canyon frame. Many of the earlier inhabitants have not been forgotten either; ski runs such as Little Rose and Audrey immortalising Victorians who plied their trade in bawdier days.
Skiing started here in the 1970s as mining began to fade. Back then, Telluride established a reputation as a hippy hang out. Today, while still decidedly small scale, the town has moved more upmarket and the separate ski-in, ski-out area of Mountain Village, complete with comfortable hotels, bars and restaurants, has sprung up amongst the tree-lined slopes.
A big plus is the free gondola connecting Mountain Village with downtown Telluride. During winter, it operates until midnight, with blankets available to those feeling the cold. It means visitors can have the best of both worlds: staying up the mountain for ease of access to the slopes, while never missing out on the fun in town.
After a hard day on the mountain, liquid refreshment spills from multiple taps in the bars both slope-side and along main street, from draught beers served from behind the long bar of the truly historic New Sheridan Hotel to microbrews at Smugglers Brewpub
The cast and crew of the Hateful Eight, who were regular faces in the bars and on the slopes last winter, may have moved on, but this remains a popular spot for celebrities. Dennis Quaid and Oprah Winfrey are regulars, while Tom Cruise and Ralph Lauren own vast properties nearby, although the former’s is up for sale.
But that’s not to say, the resort has lost its soul. The remote location means those making the journey come to savour this unique mountain community: to enjoy both nature and the laid back atmosphere.
The scenery and the skiing remain the star attractions – the box office draws, where snow – and the hope of deep snow – is the new silver lining.
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