Phil Castle, The Business Times
A former Grand Junction man who helped turn Telluride from a mining town into a destination resort will share his experiences during an event celebrating entrepreneurship.
Ron Allred is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at Entrepreneurship Day luncheons in Montrose and Grand Junction.
The Montrose event is set for noon March 31 in the Jordan Room at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, located at 1391 S. Townsend Ave. The Grand Junction event is set for noon April 3 in the Meyer Ballroom of the University Center on the Colorado Mesa University campus. The luncheons serve as fund-raisers to provide scholarships to CMU students. For tickets or more information, visit the website at www.supportingcmu.org/events.
Liz Meyer, chief executive officer of the CMU Foundation, said more than 500 people are expected to attend the luncheon in Grand Junction and what’s become one of the most popular gatherings of the year for business and community leaders.
The attraction, Meyer said, is the entrepreneurs who speak at the events. Allred is the latest on a list of notable speakers that’s included the founders of North Face, Ben & Jerry’s and the Discovery Channel.
In addition, Meyer said Allred has a local connection as a Grand Valley native.
After graduating from Grand Junction High School, Allred attended colleges in Colorado and Nebraska and earned a degree in dentistry. He opened a practice in Colorado Springs.
Within three years, though, Allred changed careers and launched a real estate development business that was involved, among other things, in the construction and management of apartments and retail centers.
Working with investors, Allred purchased ranch land west of Vail and developed the town of Avon in coordination with the Beaver Creek Ski Resort.
In 1978, Allred purchased the Telluride Ski Resort and what was at that time a small ski area on about 3,000 acres of private land.
That marked the beginning of the transformation of the ski area — along with what had been a small mining town — into a destination resort.
An on-mountain restaurant was built in 1979. In 1985, construction started on new ski trails and lifts as well as the Mountain Village. In 1986, construction began on an airport in Telluride.
What is now the Peaks Resort & Spa, the first major hotel in the Mountain Village opened in 1992. So did the Telluride Golf Resort. In 1996, a gondola was built to offer transportation between the town of Telluride and Mountain Village.
Counting additional improvements made to the resort since under new majority ownership, Telluride Ski Resort offers 18 lifts serving 148 trails and more than 2,000 acres of skiable terrain. Telluride has ranked as the top ski resort in North America four out of the last five years in the Conde Naste Traveler Readers Choice Awards.
Allred also was involved in the development of the Telluride Film Festival. He served on the board of directors of the Telluride Medical District and led a $1.2 million campaign for improvements.
Allred served on the board of directors of Colorado Ski Country USA, a trade association of Colorado ski resorts.
In 2011, Allred was inducted into the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Association Hall of Fame. He was nominated by two other inductees: Johnny Stevens and Andy Daly.
Stevens wrote in his nomination the development in Telluride has served as an economic stimulus to tht town, but to communities within a 100-mile radius. “The ski resort and its amenities are recognized worldwide and are in large part due to the vision, tenancy and leadership of Ron Allred.”
Along with the keynote speech, the E Day luncheon in Grand Junction will include an elevator pitch competition in which CMU students will offer brief presentations about their ideas for new products and services. They’ll vie for cash prizes that can be used as seed money to help fund their ventures.
The Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award will be presented to a local entrepreneur who’s started or expanded a venture, contributed to economic development in the region and exemplifies the spirit of entrepreneurship.