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Top Five Things You Might Not Know About Telluride

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Whether it’s topping a series of switchbacks to find yourself in a wildflower-strewn meadow or having your mind blown at the Mountainfilm festival, Telluride is full of surprises. Here are a few things about this tiny mountain town that you might not know have known … until now.

Telluride's Gondola is one of a kind

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Did you know that Telluride’s Gondola is the only public transportation system of its kind in North America? The free “G” – via a 13-minute ride – links the historic town of Telluride with Mountain Village, a European-style alpine community with superb amenities (think spas, a network of biking and hiking trails, a golf course and lots to do for kids). Pet friendly, handicap accessible and partially solar-powered, the Gondola celebrated its 20th birthday in December. Hop aboard for an breath-taking views and an unforgettable, truly unique journey.

Telluride has the tallest free-falling waterfall in Colorado

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At the east end of the box canyon that Telluride calls home, you will see the aptly named Bridal Veil Falls. At 365 feet, this stunning cascade is Colorado's tallest free-falling waterfall. Hike, bike or 4x4 just under two miles – with an elevation gain of about 1,200 feet – from the mill building at the end of the valley to the top of Bridal Veil Falls, or you can go to the bottom of the falls and bask in the cooling mist generated by the torrent.

Butch Cassidy’s career got started here

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It was in Telluride that Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank. The date was June 24, 1889 when he and some friends made off with about $21,000 from the San Miguel Valley Bank (then located in the Mahr Building which still stands at 129 W. Colorado Avenue). Cassidy had been living in town off and on for about five years at this point. It would be a little longer before he formed the Hole in the Wall Gang and hooked up with the Sundance Kid. At the base of Lift 7 are condos bearing the name of Sundance’s famous girlfriend, Etta Place.

Eight of the last nine Oscar winners premiered in Telluride

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How ‘bout that? Of the last nine winners of the Academy Award for Best Picture, eight had either their world premiere (Moonlight, Spotlight, 12 Years a Slave, Argo, The King’s Speech and Slumdog Millionaire) or their North American premiere (Birdman and The Artist) at the Telluride Film Festival. The gathering, held over Labor Day weekend each year, is low key, eschewing the red carpets and glitz of Cannes and Venice, instead focusing on films and filmmakers. The only drama? The line-up is a closely guarded secret, announced the day before the whole shebang kicks off.

The first transmission of AC electricity took place here

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The world’s first long-distance transmission of alternating current electricity was indeed achieved in Telluride on June 21, 1891. On this day at the Ames Power Plant, with a crowd of interested (but somewhat sceptical) bystanders on hand, local entrepreneur L.L. Nunn used a Westinghouse generator and a motor – custom-made by Nikola Tesla – to transmit AC electricity to his Gold King mine almost three miles away in Turkey Creek Basin, a world first.

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