Ear to the ground

“They were both decked out in camouflage and smelled like Burger King.”

-A local backcountry skier relating a recent hitchhike with two snowmobilers

Seven days in Purgatory

More than 21 feet of snow have stacked up at Purgatory in the last 10 weeks, and Old Man Winter is showing no signs of packing his bags. In the spirit of epic winter, Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort is going to keep the bullwheels spinning for an extra week this season.

The local ski area will stay open from March 31-April 6, and the resort expects the quality mid-mountain base depth to withstand at least an additional seven days of skiing and snowboarding. However, the extension will also be a Purg-Lite of sorts. The lifts will start running an hour later and be open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Three lifts (Chairs 1, 3 and 8) will be in operation, providing streamlined access to both the front and backsides of the mountain. Additional chairs in the Columbine Beginner’s Area will be available as needed. The price of the ride will also be “lite,” however. Lift tickets will go for $40 – down from the usual $60 – and season passes will be valid during the extended season.

The new closing weekend will also be a celebration for the final season of Purgy’s, which is housed in the resort’s original day lodge. A new Purgy’s will open next winter season as a part of the first phase of Purgatory Lodge.

“This is an opportunity for us to thank our guests, share our incredible conditions and say goodbye, one last time, to Purgy’s,” says Hank Thiess, president of resort operations. “The conditions this season have exceeded our expectations, and we felt we owed it to the snow gods to stay open one more week.”

Flight of the sasquatch

If freeheels, skinning uphill and oak brush are more your cup of tea, mark this Sunday on your calendar. The first-ever Sasquatch Uphill/Downhill Race is scheduled for Feb. 24 at Ski Hesperus.

The race will begin with a mass start at 4 p.m. at the base of Hesperus. Competitors will then skin or snowshoe 700 vertical feet to the top of the hill before descending a designated run to the finish area. Creative costumes are highly encouraged.

Prizes will be awarded for best costume, best fall, first to the top and first to the bottom. Best of all, the entry fee is a mere 5 bucks. To tap your inner sasquatch either show up or visit www.skihesperus.com.


In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows