Writer/Photographer/Stoke Ambassador

How many times have you or someone you know said “I’d love to move to the mountains but I don’t want to give up my career?” Well, you can officially throw that excuse out the window for at least a brief moment while you enter the Telluride Venture Accelerator (TVA)’s Mountain Founders Contest.  A pretty tasty prize package is up for grabs to four lucky and motivated people who would like to get a taste of mountain living, but might feel that there’s more to the world than washing dishes, fitting someone’s boots, or keeping calm while someone asks “What happens to the moguls in the summer?” All you have to do to register for the contest is explain your startup business or passion and how it would work if it were based in Telluride.


Telluride’s story differs from most of its mountain town cousins. Being in a relatively isolated part of Colorado, the town lacks the massive tourism infrastructure that the I-70 corridor, SLC or Tahoe possesses. As such, the residents have always known that for the town to thrive, so must the community. In this day and age, that is a welcome rarity. As a community they embrace the new and the boundary-pushing. This is not some new marketing campaign, either: in 1891 Telluride’s own L.L. Nunn signed a deal with George Westinghouse to create the world’s first Hydroelectric power transmission, engineered by none other than the great Nikola Tesla. In the time between then and now, Telluride has served as the birthplace of the Human Genome Project among countless other organizations, and was the first town in the USA to offer public internet access. So it’s safe to say that the people here value being slightly ahead of the curve.

2017 Applications Now Open! 🎊 Grow your #startup in Telluride. Press the link in bio 👉👉 Photo © Harvey Mogenson

A photo posted by Telluride Venture Accelerator (@tellurideva) on


Take the contest organizers for example. The TVA’s sole purpose is to see companies succeed in their remote nook within the San Juan Mountains.  This attitude is a very welcome one, especially amidst the struggles that other mountain towns currently face as the rich get richer and the ski/shred bums struggle to get ahead. The TVA was created to not only preserve their unique culture as other places get more Disneyfied, but to prove to the rest of the country/world that one can truly live their dream in the mountains and have a bigger impact around them. Since the organization was founded they have dished out over $6 million in funds to startups, resulting in a host of new products and services brought to market.

This contest seeks to showcase the sheer awesomeness of Telluride to those with the gumption to dip their toes in for a week. Entering the contest will only take a few minutes of your time, with the potential return being something worth writing home about, or at the very least, snapchatting from the peak:

  • Free accomodations: Any 6-night, 7-day period in the month of January, 2017. You can choose the dates
  • Workspace: Access to one of their two co-working spaces
  • Free skiing, and an opportunity to hit the slopes with eyebrow-raising athlete Hilaree O’Neill
  • Access to the community: You’ll get to meet several local entrepreneurs from companies like Western Rise, Felt, Pro Editors, Travel ReconVoltaire, Nosha, etc
  • The opportunity to bring a friend, business partner, or significant other (caveat: they only offer one hotel room and can’t can’t guarantee free ski passes for the second person)
  • They will also take you out for dinner + drinks at some of their favorite spots with some of their favorite people

Sounds pretty good, right? What do you have to lose other than two minutes of your life to register? The upside is a pretty damn good week in one of the best mountain communities in the USA. And who knows, you just might like it so much that you wont’ want to leave. You wouldn’t be the first.

To learn more about the contest, click here.



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