TELLURIDE – Telluride lights up for the holidays Wednesday, Dec. 4, when Telluride’s Noel Night kicks off the Second Annual Holiday Prelude, Dec. 4-15.
The longstanding tradition of Noel Night – on the first Wednesday of December, when participating Telluride stores and restaurants offer food, beverages and discounts (from 10 percent all the way up, in some cases, to a whopping 50 percent), with many of those discounts in effect for the entire day – has evolved into an unofficial Telluride “festival” in its own right.
Even Santa shows up for Noel Night photo ops – at U.S. Bank and Alpine Bank (4-6 p.m.) – and, of course, to listen to children’s most heartfelt wishes.
Before or after that, parents can drop off the kids at one of the three free screenings of a remastered print of the American classic, The Wizard of Oz. The free shows are compliments of Nugget Building owners Bill and Katrine Formby, the Telluride Film Festival and The Watch (see page 4 for more information), and it shows again Thursday, Dec. 5, three more times.
CAMARADERIE AND BARGAINS
As Noel Night regulars know, this night is equal parts bargains and camaraderie – bumping into old friends, snacking on delicious finger foods and toasting the holidays while you shop.
“We appreciate it when people walk in through our door,” says Lustre Gallery Director Judith Bartlett, and that appreciation infuses the So. Pine St. gallery on Noel Night, from the trays of don’t-need-dinner hors d’oeuvres to the grab-bag discounts (10-40 percent). Lustre is showcasing new hammered 22-karat gold pieces (some with black and white diamonds) from Turkish designer Gurhan, who says this about his work: “Fate brings a woman and my jewelry together.” Intensely colored reverse-painted chandeliers and wall sconces are on display from Ulla Darni, whose training with Royal Copenhaagen Porcelain shows in her precise brushwork.
On the north side of main street, check out Picaya’s one-of-a-kind lime-green hand-painted wood wagon that owner Lisa Horlick says will be on display in her Noel Night window, full of presents. With Picaya’s traditional three days of Noel Night Yahtzee discounts (Wednesday-Friday), the lucky dice thrower can knock down its $298 price tag 10 to 40 percent, leaving plenty of cash for Horlick’s new cache of beads. “We have lots of new strands in fun holiday colors,” Horlick promises, plus metal beads in copper, silver, brass, blue and gray.
At Two Skirts, this shopper’s eye traveled straight to a table full of cashmere scarves, shawls, and fingerless gloves from 360 Cashmere, most with grinning Damien Hirst-inspired skulls sporting sunglasses, giving the compellingly macabre graphic yet another twist. You don’t need jewelry for the black Kate Spade sweater with stitched-in-place faux-jewel clusters that would make Liberace swoon with envy; dress them down with a perfectly fitting pair of jeans you’re bound to find in the store’s vast selection. Grab-bag discounts.
Wearing rhinestone-studded Jimmy Choo prescription glasses, Sunglass Headquarters and Optical Shop’s Cinda Blewett is a walking advertisement for the shop’s blend of function and fashion – and high fashion – eyewear (and, for those of us who need it, the option of prescription lenses). She points to a case full of this year’s sunglasses from Carrera, “in really fun frames,” with prices starting at $115. In the goggles section, she points to the new Zeal goggle complete with an HD camera to capture the moment in 12 megapixel photos or brilliant 1080p HD video – a bargain at $399. Noel Night discounts of 15-40 percent, with an Oakley rep on-site for a Noel Night trunk show.
Visitors to Paragon/BootDoctors are stopped in their tracks by a fleet of fat-tire bicycles in front of the cash register. “They’re more work,” says salesperson Jessi Swanson, of the all-season ride for which snow is just another challenge. “They’re super-stable,” and offer “a giggly kind of fun.” Prices start at $1,800 and go up to “as much as you want to pay,” says Swanson, who’s still waiting to hear what she’ll be wearing on Noel Night. “Bob might dress up as an elf,” she says of owner Bob Gleason, whose wife Penelope “brings things in and makes us wear them.” With grab-bag discounts of 10 to 50 percent, some lucky grabber could take a giggly ride off into the sunset for $900 – if they can stand to “see an elf cry,” says the irrepressible Swanson.
Across the street, at Between the Covers, they’re offering all-day discounts of 15-50 percent, determined by colors of the glass beads shoppers pull out of the store’s Christmas stocking. At 12 p.m., Between the Covers hosts book-signings. Of author Jeff Burch’s The Peaks of Telluride, Watch arts columnist Leslie Vreeland wrote recently, he “scales the local peaks every weekend – he’s out both Saturday and Sunday, all year around, until mountain snows force him to take a break. Burch has worked for the U.S. Forest Service the past 22 years. And he’s a photographer and passionate researcher.
“It’s one-of-a-kind, beautiful, and beautifully researched. The local mountains get assiduous, exhaustive treatment in Burch’s hands; he has photographed every peak in and around Telluride, often from varying angles and in different times of year (mountains often look different from different perspectives and in different seasons.” He’s joined by longtime Telluride resident and noted cookbook author Susanna Hoffman (Bold) and Bonnie Ballantyne, with paintings by Elizabeth McClellan (Crocodile Goes Out: Day Lords of the Mayan Calendar). “It will be a lot of fun,” says co-owner Bobbi T. Smith, of the store’s all-day Noel Night.
At Elinoff Gallery, Neal Elinoff is selling a new line of Hermes watches, and a “very old line” of Alpina, a longtime leading Swiss watch manufacturer. Elinoff has new pieces by longtime artist Wayne McKenzie (who teaches on the ski area, when he’s not painting) and a new line of Telluride jewelry, including a ceramic Telluride Watch. “A big spread of food,” he says, grinning. “That reminds me, I’d better order the wine.” Be there, and if you’re a Russian oligarch just contemplating popping the question, take your chances on the most expensive piece of jewelry in the gallery: a five-carat yellow diamond ring. Grab-bag discounts of 10-50 percent.
Telluride Sports’ Sales and Marketing Manager Nathan Frerichs – whose family gained a fourth member with the early October arrival of Fletcher – is predicting an epic year on the ski mountain, made even better thanks to the Rossignol Soul 7’s tip and tail honeycombed with air pockets that reduce swing weight, by concentrating the mass of the ski underfoot. “It’s going to be the best ski this year,” he says confidently, of the $800 ski. He points to the honeycomb, visible in the yellow tips, thanks to early-afternoon light streaming through the window. For skiers heading into the backcountry, Frerich recommends the new Backcountry Essentials Kit, complete with a shovel, probe and beacon – for $319 (and a course in avalanche safety). Upstairs, where kids’ and women’s winter wear comes in a rainbow of colors, Frerich pulls down the women’s Glacy Explorer Sorels in pink or purple – the waterproof cordura making them a $135 blend of fashion and function. Vibrant neon colors are exploding in winter wear, as seen at Telluride Sports and across the street, at their Patagonia store, thanks to new technology that allows the fabric “to hold the colors longer than they used to,” Frerich explains.
At Gravity Works, the buzz is all about the new DPS Wailers. “They fly – they’re constructed really well,” says Allison Perry, at the front counter, who jokes about coming in on Noel Night disguised as a shopper to see if she can snag a discount. That makes her one of the many locals thinking about visiting the store – where there’s usually someone to watch plotting Spider Man moves on the 12-ft. high climbing wall. “They’re the top boutique ski,” concurs Sales Manager Jorn Reimann, who says it’s the Wailers’ carbon fiber construction that makes these performers “as light as hell.” Locals flock to Noel Night for their DPS fix on the one night of the year they can pull down 10-40 percent discounts, all day, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
At Cashmere Red, they’ve been working magic on the windows – what looks like hallucinogenic snowflakes in a winter snowstorm turns out to be, on closer inspection, twisted drinking straws with a cascading white-yarn backdrop. I’ll take one of their cashmere teddy bears, now that I don’t have a cat to snuggle up with – note to spouse: the baby-blue “Wilson” is my bear of choice. Carissa Franck says the store is offering 10 to 30 percent all-day discounts, plus 10 percent off of already marked-down sale items. Check out the repurposed Art Deco jewelry at the counter from New York designer Lulu Frost. Her parents are antique dealers, and her heritage shines through, with everything from steel-cut button earrings to shoebuckle bracelets and beautiful old brooches pinned on to necklaces. A big seller is the store’s handmade-in-Scotland Touch Screen Gloves, which do just what the name promises – let you work your cellphone, while your fingers stay warm and toasty. On Friday, Nov. 30, Cashmere Red puts its sui generis Black Friday plan into motion, offering 20 percent throughout-the-store discounts for shoppers going for a sure thing.