The Six Seasons
From Vivaldi’s violin concertos to the luxury hotels and resorts, four seasons are the norm in temperate regions. But here in Telluride, we have six seasons. In addition to summer, spring, fall and winter, we have the additional off-season, and we get that twice. That’s right. Telluride can boast of many things—spectacular summer festivals, dramatic alpine scenery, a spectacular ski resort, a free gondola public transportation and two bonus annual seasons.
As “fall” is to “autumn,” off-season sometimes goes by the name of “the shoulder season.” Both apt names because off-season is the time between Telluride’s two most popular draws: festivals and skiing. One off-season starts the day after Telluride ski resort closes in spring and lasts until the first festival (Mountainfilm over Memorial Day Weekend); the other off-season begins after the last festival (Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, September 17-19) and continues until the ski resort reopens again in November. In between these peak periods is a celebrated time of year.
As with all seasonal celebrations, various rituals ensue with some predictability: Sitting on benches on main street is one of the most popular ways to commemorate off-season. Lots of locals leave, making plenty of room for visitors. In other words, it’s a great time to be in Telluride. Without skiing and festivals, there’s still plenty to enjoy during both off-seasons: hiking, spa treatments, walking tours in downtown’s Historic Landmark District, road biking, fly fishing, discounted lodging, river rafting, off-season sales racks and sauntering into uncrowded restaurants sans reservation.
One of the best things about off-season is that it’s a gentle reminder to slow down. As the bustle of Telluride’s high seasons subside, it’s only natural to sleep a little later and savor the quiet. It’s also a good time reconnect. This off-season, a group of my friends have taken to hosting regularly scheduled dinner parties, giving us a chance to leisurely catch up. I don’t know how people without an off-season find time to relax.
If you don’t have six seasons where you live, don’t be jealous. Share in Telluride’s off-season. There’s plenty of relaxation to go around, and I’m happy to scoot over on the bench and make room for you.