Best Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Telluride

Best Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Telluride

’Tis the season in Telluride! With Christmas right around the corner and 2023 just beyond, there’s almost no place more magical to celebrate the holiday season than in our snowy little mountain town. So grab your coats and pull on those hats and gloves and take a look at our list of the best ways to celebrate the holidays in Telluride this year!  

Catch a Torchlight Parade

There are 2 different torchlight parades in Telluride, so if you miss one don’t worry, you still have a shot at experiencing the magic for yourself later. The first is on Christmas Eve and starts just as the sky starts to turn deep navy and black, generally around 6:30pm. Gather at the base of the gondola in Town at Oak Street or along Main Street for the best views. You’ll see Telluride Ski Resort ski patrollers, lift operators and ski instructors of all sorts weave like a fiery serpent down from the top of the Telluride Trail to the base of the resort in town. Carrying brilliant red torches, it’s a truly incredible sight and enough to inspire a powerful sense of awe of this majestic season. Listen for the delighted whoops and hollers of the skiers as they glide towards you in the dark and you are sure to feel the energy. 

On New Years Eve you’ll have another chance to experience all that was said above, but this time, you can choose to view the parade from either Telluride or Mountain Village. That said, we’d have to suggest you take your families up to the Mountain Village Core as this is where you’ll also be able to view the fireworks. The combination of the blazing red snake slithering down the hill beneath exploding fireworks illuminating the skies above is a sight you’re not soon to forget.

Ski Christmas and Have Brunch on the Mountain 

Of course the Telluride Ski Resort is a world class ski destination for a reason. Known for its steep and deep trails, the diversity of terrain available to skiers is also unmatched, and of course the views from every run are enough to take your breath away. See Forever is one of the most iconic runs in Telluride as it traces down from the top of Gold Hill Express at 12,260ft all the way to the San Sophia Ridge below. As a blue run it is accessible to most skiers and features 360 degree views at every turn. The Polar Queen Express in another great area to take the family for some intermediate runs through trees and rolling slopes. Of course if you’re up for a challenge Apex Lift and Gold Hill Express offer some of the most fun expert terrain on the resort with moguls, trees and gullies to test your skills. 

Once you’ve tired out your legs enough for the morning you’ll want to turn your attention to brunch. If you’re looking for an on-resort destination you can take a stop at the high-end Alpino Vino, located between the top of Gold Hill Express and Apex Lift on See Forever Trail. Here you can sit back and enjoy views of the Wilson and Sunshine Peaks as well as the resort below. Kick back and relax on their heated outdoor balcony overhanging Buzz’s Glade, an expert ski run. If you’re looking for a more traditional and cozy brunch environment you can head to Tomboy Tavern at the base of the slopes in the Village Core or The View at Mountain Lodge, located ski in/ski out off of the easy Double Cabins ski run. They serve a fabulous traditional brunch until 3pm complete with hot tub, pool and bottomless mimosas. 

Browse Main Street Shops for Last Minute Gifts

There’s almost nothing more Christmasy than exploring Telluride’s Main Street during the holidays, with lights, trees and snow everywhere. It’s like being plunged inside the kind of Christmas village you build every year at the base of your Christmas tree! You’ll want to bundle up and dip into as many stores as you can, browsing the shelves and chatting with the locals. Head to the recently relocated Between the Covers, Telluride’s beloved local bookstore. Take particular note of the sweet Christmas books at the front of the store where you’ll find some local children’s books. Next check out Hook for niche artisanal gifts and The Toggery for adorable and trendy clothing. There’s also MiXX if you’re looking for superior luxury jewelry for that special person in your life. If you’re into adventuring, Jagged Edge is a fabulous shop for all your mountain gear needs. Two Skirts is another Telluride classic specializing in all sorts of luxury apparel, footwear and accessories. Of course if you’re looking for a traditional Telluride gift you can always check out ShirtWorks for some of the most funny and unique Telluride t-shirts around! 

Listen to Live Music

Telluride is home to many famous music festivals in the summer including Bluegrass, Blues & Brews and the Jazz festival. However the fun doesn’t stop in the winter, in fact, as the days grow shorter venues become more intimate and feature a diverse array of talented singers. This year Telluride is hosting shows with Jewel, Yonder Mountain String Band, The PettyBreakers and Motet, amongst others. Take a look at some of the upcoming music here. Remember that you’re also likely to catch free live performances at various locations around town including Gorrono Ranch, Tomboy Tavern and a DJ on Main Street for the midnight countdown! 

Take a Christmas & New Years Lights Tour Around Town

Of course one of our favorite holiday and New Years traditions is admiring the Christmas lights adorning the buildings and homes of Telluride. If you’re in for an adventure you’ll want to make sure you ride the gondola from Telluride to Mountain Village and back at night. From your floating little cabin you’ll want to face downhill on both sides of San Sophia Station and bask in the beauty of the twinkling lights below as you glide off into the night. Telluride will be twinkling with warm lights while the mountains beyond cast dramatic shadows against the starry backdrop of the sky. The contrast between the sparkling town at the base of the canyon and the imposing mountains beyond is reminiscent of a shimmering pot of gold at the bottom of a black cauldron. It is truly spectacular. Another option if you have access to a car is to drive (cautiously—the roads can be icy!) up into Mountain Village, Aldasoro Ranch and Lawson Hill to enjoy the locals’ home Christmas decorations. If you’re really feeling in the spirit you can always sing along to Christmas carols as you drive! 

We hope this article has helped you get in the holiday spirit and provide you with some inspiration on what to do for Christmas and New Years in Telluride! Let us know what you try out, we’d love to hear from you. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all! 

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