Telluride is a mountain destination without peer: lift-served ski terrain pushes above 13,000 feet; five-star restaurants share main street with dive bars; accommodations in historic downtown and in the resort-oriented Mountain Village range from luxury hotels to cozy lodges. It’s the ski vacation we dreamed of as kids, with no lift lines, friendly locals, more than 2,000 skiable acres, deep snow and blonde women in neon jackets. We finally got to take it, and we stayed at the Inn At Lost Creek, a ski-in/ski-out boutique hotel on Sunset Plaza in Mountain Village.

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Locals joke that in Aspen you ski to be seen, while in Telluride you ski to enjoy the mountain. After exploring the village, it’s easy to see why. The Inn is steps away from mid-mountain ski lifts, the best dining in town, and mountain outfitters that have gear for every sport and condition (trust us this one: come prepared for both bluebird powder days and blizzard skiing). The main lobby feels more like the great room of a multi-million dollar family cabin than a hotel. Massive fireplaces and comfortable couches dominate the large sitting area, perfect for a little afternoon rest after a few morning blizzard runs. Rooms range from junior suites to condos that can sleep your closest five friends in comfort. The Inn’s amenities quickly set it apart from its contemporaries. Expected conveniences (HD TVs, gas fireplaces, jetted bathtubs) are expanded on with little touches like the comfortable steam showers, stocked kitchenettes, and a washer and dryer in every room. Long days on the mountain are hard on your body and your gear, so do yourself a favor and clean up before hitting town for the night; your friends will appreciate it when your hair and ski jacket don’t smell like wet dog at your chosen après-ski spot.

The Village has everything you need for a weeklong ski adventure, but don’t forget to explore downtown Telluride during your down time. A free gondola between the village and town runs from 7 a.m. to midnight all week. Along the four-block stretch that makes up downtown, local ski and gear shops share prime real estate with a Patagonia flagship store, fine dining and the best dive bars for hundreds of miles. Don’t be surprised if after a couple nights at the popular Last Dollar and Fly Me To The Moon saloons you start to get treated like a regular — local skiers are notoriously friendly so long as you don’t poach their powder stashes during the day. If you’re looking for the best advice on finding that powder days or even weeks after a storm, and the gear to get your there and back, Boot Doctors is the foremost outfitter. With a full fleet of Wagner demo skis, you’ll be hard pressed to find any shop more knowledgeable or well stocked.

The slopes of Telluride draw skiers from all over the world, but the area’s hometown feel and unique beauty are what make it hard to leave. Whether you’re on the powder hunt or just looking to get a little extra pampering and culture when you’re off the slopes, the Mountain Village is a pristine winter getaway for any adventure traveler — and the Inn At Lost Creek is the ideal base of operations for your foray into mountain life.

$288+ per night