On the mountain: The No. 1 rule at Telluride | AspenTimes.com

On the mountain: The No. 1 rule at Telluride

Stewart Oksenhorn
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

TELLURIDE, Colo. – Telluride is a town that doesn’t live by the rules. Or, to phrase it differently, rules are not a big part of life there.

A bluegrass band playing on a downtown street corner till 3 a.m.? Sure – just make sure it’s good picking. And last weekend, at the luxurious but laid-back Capella Telluride Hotel, when I asked when checkout time was, the accommodating response was, “Checkout time is whatever time you would like it to be.”

But there is one inviolable rule that Telluride lives by: You don’t miss the last gondola back to Mountain Village. I learned the consequences of that rule by, of course, breaking it.

Seems J., my running partner for the weekend, and I were having too good a time at the Sheridan Opera House Saturday night, taking in a NightGrass concert, part of the bigger Telluride Bluegrass Festival. J. was inebriated, but I can’t claim such a solid excuse. I was just spacey and stupid, half expecting the band would announce from the stage when it was 1:45 a.m., and that all gondola riders should head for the exits.

By the time I realized no such announcement was coming, it was after 2. We hustled out, but by the time we biked to the gondola station, we were screwed. Last gondola is at 2 sharp (midnight when Bluegrass isn’t in town). We tried taxi companies; none seemed to be in operation. I floated the idea of finding a party to crash – it seemed like an easy proposition – sitting on a couch, drinking a beer and enjoying some bluegrass till we fell asleep. Or ducking back into the Opera House and finding a dark corner till 7 a.m., when the gondola got rolling again.

Not on the table of options: hiking up the mountain (nearly 2,000 feet vertical, I was told) or biking (a 10-mile ride, up steep hills).

Instead, J. called the hotel and persuaded the lone overnight employee to pick us up, which involved 1, going to get his own car; and 2, convincing the overnight guy at a neighboring hotel to cover him for a half-hour. When he arrived to pick up our sorry, chilly butts, he was understanding and kind. We got into a well-informed discussion of mountaineering films. (I recommended “North Face”; we agreed “The Edge of Never” was top-notch.)

We got into bed at 4:15 a.m., and when I woke, five hours later, I was given the good news about the easygoing checkout policy. Rarely have I been so pleased to be reminded of Telluride’s casual approach to rules.


Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User