Heritage & History

For centuries, the Telluride area has been a special destination. From the days when Ute Indians spent summers on the Valley Floor, through the mining era and arrival of the ski industry, to today, where our valley is considered one of the most iconic mountain destinations in the world. Throughout that time, the town and the people that call it home have embraced a frontier spirit, a warm, friendly demeanor and an insatiable thirst for all the adventure these mountains provide.

1700:

The Ute Indians used the San Juan Mountains and the San Miguel River banks as their summer camp, retreating to nearby red-rock canyons for shelter and dry ground come winter. The Mountains were named by Spanish explorers in the 1700’s.

1858:

Gold is first discovered.

1875:

John Fallon makes the first claim in Marshal Basin above Telluride.

1878:

The Town is founded under the name Columbia, which it was eventually forced to change by the U.S. Postal Service in 1887 due to confusion with the mining town of Columbia, California.

1880:

The Tomboy Mine, one of the richest in North America, opens in Savage Basin.

1889:

Butch Cassidy robs his first bank in Telluride, where he nets $24,000 from the San Miguel Valley Bank.

1891:

L.L. Nunn, through a partnership with Westinghouse and Tesla, builds the first commercial AC power plant in Ames, Colorado (near Telluride).

1895:

The New Sheridan Hotel, Telluride's most famous landmark, is built on Colorado Avenue.

1898:

An abundance of gold is found in Telluride’s mines, making mining profitable again. Telluride becomes known as “The City of Gold.”

1928:

The Tomboy Mine closes.

1970:

The ski area is founded with snowcat skiing for $12.50 a day, which includes a sack lunch.

1972:

Five lifts are constructed. The Telluride Ski Resort officially opens December 22nd.

1978:

The area’s last mining operation, Idarado Mine, closes.

1987:

Mountain Village is founded.

1992:

Telluride Golf Resort opens with an 18-hole links style course. Mountain Village’s first hotel, the 177-room Doral Resort & Spa (currently The Peaks Resort & Spa), opens.

1996:

Grand opening of the gondola/chondola system, the only transportation system of its kind in North America.

2007:

Telluride’s Valley Floor is purchased for $50 million by funds raised from the Telluride regional community. The land will be protected and preserved forever.

2009:

Alpino Vino opens on the Telluride Ski Resort, and is the restaurant with the highest elevation in the region.

2009:

Telluride Ski Resort announces Gold Hill Chutes 2-5 to open for full public access to Gold Hill’s 1-10 chutes.

2012:

Telluride named the #1 SKI RESORT in North America by readers of Condé Nast Traveler (2012, 2013 and 2104).

2013:

Telluride Arts District selected as one of seven Certified Creative Districts in the state of Colorado.

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Geology

Experience a place carved over the millennia.
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