Telluride Celebrates New Conference Center Jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard's sextet, backed by an orchestra from the Denver Musicians' Association, performed for an invitation-only audience of local movers and shakers and the media to mark the grand opening of the Telluride Conference Center, 9,500 feet up in the San Juan range of the Rocky Mountains. The gala event reflected local pride in the facility, under development only since 1987 in the Town of Mountain Village.

The 11,000-square-foot conference center has a 6,000-square-foot flexible ballroom that holds up to 500 theater-style, plus three breakout rooms seating up to 16 people boardroom-style. The largest of the three can host a reception for 60. A special feature is a mezzanine that, combined with the lobby, provides more than 2,000 square feet of exhibit or display space.

First to use the conference center was the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association, based in Washington, D.C. NHRA executive director Peter Bell housed his 150 attendees, plus about 50 family members, in two Wyndham International luxury properties just a short walk from the conference center.

The Peaks Resort and Golden Door Spa has 174 guest rooms, including 28 suites, plus one- to four-bedroom condominiums and penthouses. The 6,090 square feet of meeting space includes a ballroom seating 180 classroom-style and three breakout rooms. The renowned Golden Door Spa features 44 treatment rooms and offers a variety of facial and body treatments, massage, saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, indoor and outdoor pools, and a weight room. An 18-hole championship golf course is adjacent.

The Lodge at Mountain Village offers accommodations in the main lodge, in fully furnished one-, two-, and three-bedroom condominiums, and in individual log-and-stone cabins. Lodge guests have access to the Golden Door Spa.

It's a 13-minute ride by complimentary gondola from Mountain Village to the Victorian town of Telluride, which looks much the same as it did when Butch Cassidy robbed its San Miguel National Bank in 1889. Today's Telluride, a designated National Historic District, is a year-round resort offering skiing, golf, hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing, whitewater rafting, and horseback riding. In summer there are endless fairs and festivals; best known are the annual jazz and film festivals.

A highlight for first-time visitors is a Jeep tour. On one side of the road is the craggy face of the mountain, broken by an occasional sealed mine shaft. On the other side, there's a bottomless drop without guardrails, and, as far as the eye can see, mountain peaks, valleys, and posture-perfect aspen trees.