|City shoots for mid-December Chapman opening|
Surface conditions in town may be more decidedly brown, but if temperatures stay cold, Chapman Hill may soon be sporting a coat of white.
“We’d like to be open in time for 9-R’s Christmas Break,” Durango Director of Parks and Rec Cathy Metz said Monday. “Obviously if Mother Nature helps us out like last year, we’ll open earlier.”
After several years of talk and testing, the City of Durango pulled the trigger on two snow guns and a new/used snowcat last winter. However, Old Man Winter beat the city to the punch, dumping enough of the real stuff to make snowmaking a nonissue.
Metz said barring a repeat of last year, city crews will start blowing snow at Chapman starting in early December. In the meantime, volunteers with theDurango Winter Sports Foundation are busy with preseason preparations.
“They’ve been stepping up and helping out quite a bit,” said Metz.
Volunteers cleared the hill of brush earlier this fall and now have moved into renovating the Chapman House, which became a storage shed after falling into disuse several years back. Metz said the hope is to have it open to the public for training, instruction and ski tuning. Lift tickets, concessions and restrooms will still be located in the main pavilion.
Last year was a banner year for Chapman, which saw more than 1,000 skier days. “That was a record for us, at least since we’ve been keeping track over the last 15 years or so,” said Metz. “We were really pleased with that.”
– Missy Votel