In the 1870s, miners ventured into Colorado’s San Juan Mountains in search of silver and gold. They set up a mining camp called Columbia, and in 1878 it was renamed Telluride.
Over time the mines played out, but in the 1970s people trickled into Telluride, seeking a different type of treasure in the surrounding mountains. On their shoulders, they carried skis rather than picks and hoped to find deposits of deep powder on the flanks of steep peaks. Fast forward a few decades, and Telluride is considered a goldmine for people seeking world-class terrain for skiing and snowboarding.
With 2,000 skiable acres, Telluride isn’t as large as some other resorts, but its vertical drop is a remarkable 4,425 feet. Plus, the area receives at least 300 inches of snow each year. The steep and deep slopes challenge the most experienced skiers, who can explore 52 black diamond and extreme runs. While the mountain attracts experts, it also has generous amounts of beginners and intermediate terrain.
While the San Juan Mountains are impressive, the town itself is also a huge draw. When you close your eyes and try to picture the quintessential mountain town, what you envision is Telluride. Long ago, locals made it a priority to preserve the Western look and down-to-earth character of the town. After a day of skiing or boarding, you can stroll the main street where buildings date to the 1800s. Lining the thoroughfare is an eclectic mix of restaurants and shops where people of all stripes—families, ski bums, bohemian twenty-somethings—mingle and create a relaxed vibe.
It’s an ideal destination for all types of skiers, including newcomers to the sport. In town and near the slopes, you’ll find plenty of places to rent equipment for skiing and snowboarding. Many of the rental shops partner with RentSkis.com to make the rental process easy and provide access to the latest gear from top brands. Plus, when you reserve your equipment through RentSkis.com, you can enjoy a variety of amenities, such as valet service and storage options.
To help you plan a trip to Telluride, here are some of the top places to rent gear and a rundown of the services they provide.
Telluride Sports Main St.
Telluride Sports has been outfitting skiers since the 1970s, and it has several locations where you can get your gear through RentSkis.com. Telluride Sports’ Main St. shop is an ideal place to rent equipment if your accommodations are in town. Also, it’s a convenient place to pick up gear if you want to do some shopping or grab food and drinks before or after you hit the ski hill. When you rent your equipment, the staff members will set you up with a collection of products tailored to your experience and ability levels. Plus, they’ll make sure everything is adjusted correctly and fits well. Before you head to the mountain, you’ll have the opportunity to pick up any essentials you may have forgotten, because the shop has a retail section with clothes and accessories. Near the shop, you can hop on a shuttle for a ride to the base of the mountain.
Telluride Sports Coonskin
Telluride Sports’ Coonskin shop is one of the most convenient places in town to rent gear, especially if you want quick access to the mountain. The shop sits near the base of the Coonskin Lift, which will connect you to the Free Gondola and trails higher on the mountain. Also, when you rent from this location, they’ll store your regular shoes or boots during the day and provide a basket where you can stash other items. You’ll have a much easier day if you don’t have to cart your stuff around. At the end of the day, you can return to Coonskin to drop off your rental equipment, and they’ll store it overnight. If you realize you dropped a glove while riding a lift, or you need another layer to stay warm, you can purchase accessories and clothes in the shop before you head back to your lodge or hotel.
The Peaks Resort & Spa
Perched high on the mountain, The Peaks Resort & Spa is the perfect place to rent gear if you prefer to avoid the hustle and bustle of town. People love the hotel for its stellar views and solitude, but it’s also a convenient spot for skiers. At this ski-in-ski-out hotel, you’re literally on the slopes, so great skiing is never far away. The rental shop is just a short walk from the top of the gondola, allowing you to reach a wide variety of trails quickly. If you decide during a run that you’d like to try a different set of skis or a different board, no problem. With RentSkis.com, you’re welcome to drop into the rental shop and swap out gear.
Fairmont Heritage Place, Franz Klammer Lodge
Have you been thinking about buying new skis or a new snowboard, but you’re not sure what to get? If so, rent your equipment at Franz Klammer Lodge so that you can try before you buy. Since the shop partners with RentSkis.com, it gives you the option to choose a Demo rental package. With this program, you can choose from a selection of the latest ski and snowboard gear from top brands and get heated boots. Throughout the day, you can drop back into the shop to swap out equipment so you can get a feel for different models. Located in Mountain Village, the lodge is a short distance from the ski slopes, so you can quickly get on and off the mountain as your trying different products. For added convenience, the shop will also store your rental equipment overnight. As you’re dropping stuff off or picking it up the next day, you can also shop for the newest styles in clothing and accessories.
Camel’s Garden Hotel
From the Camel’s Garden Hotel, you only need to walk a few steps to get on the Oak Street Lift, and the gondola isn’t much farther away. It’s an ideal rental location for those who want to maximize their time and get in as many runs as possible. It’s also a great choice if you’d like to test a variety of skis or snowboards. Through RentSkis.com, you can get a Demo package, which allows you to try out the latest-and-greatest models from the best brands. If you’ve never tried heated boots, the shop can supply those as well. When you’ve had a full day on the mountain, just drop off your rental gear at the shop, and they’ll store your skis overnight. The next morning, it will be ready and waiting for you. The hotel sits on the edge of the town, making this a good home base if you want to end your day with a cold brew or a nice meal in Telluride.
If you’re a beginner skier or snowboarder, you should consider renting your equipment at Telluride Sports’ Gondola Plaza shop. It’s one of the rental locations closest to the ski school meeting location. Plus, the experts at the shop can provide you a Sport package through RentSkis.com. This will include skis or a snowboard ideal for beginners so that you can progress more efficiently in your lessons. With your rental, you can also get boots, a helmet, and poles. While you’re in ski school and then developing your skills in the afternoon, the shop will store your street shoes or boots. After your first day of skiing, you’ll likely be tired and hungry—and ready to celebrate the day. Once you’ve returned your rental gear, you’ll be within walking distance of several restaurants and bars. As a beginner, you might need to pick up a few extra clothes or a new hat or gloves, and you can purchase these things in the Gondola Plaza store.
Whether you’re new to snowboarding, or you’re looking to up your game, Burton Telluride is an ideal place to rent equipment. The shop has the latest Burton boards and equipment, which you can try out by getting a Demo package through RentSkis.com. If you’re new to the sport, they’ll set you up with a Sport package that includes a board that’s a bit shorter and easier to turn. Plus, the board will be more stable, flexible, and forgiving, so it will perform well, even if you haven’t mastered basic techniques. Whether you’re in ski school or you’re testing boards high on the mountain, the shop will store your regular shoes or boots during the day. Plus, they can hold onto your rental equipment overnight and have it ready for you the next day. When you’ve dropped off your gear, it’s a quick walk to get a drink and a bit to eat at Track’s Café & Bar or Tomboy Tavern.
Located in the Madeline Hotel & Residences, Neve Sports puts you in the middle of the action. It sits near Heritage plaza, where you’ll have quick access to gondolas and lifts, as well as several cafes, restaurants and bars. One of the more unique rental locations, Neve is also a clothing boutique with brands that you won’t find in many other places on or near the mountain. As you’re getting set up with your equipment for skiing or snowboarding, you can browse the latest styles from the likes of Fjall Raven, Bogner Fire & Ice, Zero RH, and Canada Goose.
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Written by Abbie Mood for Matcha in partnership with Rent Skis.
Featured image provided by Murray Foubister