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Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding
Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort. Formerly known simply as Purgatory, this ski resort 27 miles north of Durango has plenty of intermediate runs and glade and tree skiing, but what's unique about it is its stepped terrain: lots of humps and dips and steep pitches followed by virtual flats. A great powder day on the mountain's back side will convince anyone that Purgatory isn't just "Pleasant Ridge," as it's sometimes known in the bigger resorts of Crested Butte and Telluride. The truth is that Purgatory is just plain fun, and return visitors like it that way. The ski area is perfect for families and those who are open to other diversions, such as snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. 1 Skier Pl., Durango, CO, 81301. 970/247–9000 or 800/982–6103. www.durangomountainresort.com. Late Nov.–early Apr., daily 9–4.
2,029-foot vertical drop; 1,200 skiable acres; 23% beginner, 51% intermediate, 26% advanced; 1 high-speed 6-passenger chair, 1 high-speed quad chair, 4 triple chairs, 3 double chairs, 1 surface lift, and 1 moving carpet (beginners' lift).
Lessons and Programs
Adult Ski and Ride School. On the second level of the Village Center, the Adult Ski and Ride School runs full-day and half-day group lessons during the season ranging from $65 to $90. A "First-Timer" package (lesson, equipment rental, and lift ticket) is $129. The school also offers private lessons and specialty clinics for telemark and bump skiers of all levels. Village Center, Durango, CO, 81301. 970/385–2149.
Kids Ski and Ride School. Getting kids onto the slopes is a cinch at the Kids Ski and Ride School, which offers programs for skiers and snowboarders ages 4 to 12. A full-day package, which includes lunch, a lesson, equipment rental, and a lift ticket, costs $135. A half-day package is $110. Village Center, Durango, CO, 81301. 970/385–2149.
San Juan Untracked. Out-of-bounds types can explore 36,000 acres of untamed wilderness with the San Juan Untracked. One day of guided snowcat skiing or riding, including safety gear and a hearty lunch, is $250. The company will rent you some fat powder skis for $28 a day. Durango Mountain Resort, Durango, CO. 800/208–1780. www.sanjuanski.com.
The at-the-window rates are $62 to $67 for a one-day lift ticket. A Guaranteed to Green ski package, which means that they promise you will be able to ski from top to bottom on a green run by the end of it, is a good deal for beginner skiers, as it combines a half-day morning lesson with an all-day lift ticket. The cost is $175.
Bubba's Boards and Mountain Sports. This is Durango Mountain Resort's full-service snowboard shop, with top-name rentals from Never Summer, Burton, and Gnu. It also offers expert tuning and sells clothing and other essentials. 1 Skier Pl., Durango, CO, 81301. 970/259–7377. Daily 8–6.
Expert Edge. This shop at the base village rents top-of-the-line skis and boots from top brands, including K2, Rossignol, and Salomon. Expert Edge also does custom boot fitting, ski tuning, and equipment repair, and has snowshoes for sale and rent. Village Center, Durango, CO, 81301. 970/385–2181. Daily 8–5.
Purgatory Rentals. This base-area shop has skis, boots, and poles, plus snowboards, helmets, and other equipment for kids and adults. You should make reservations at least four days in advance if you'll be renting during the busy holiday periods. 1 Skier Pl., Durango, CO, 81301. 970/385–2182.
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