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My Life Outdoors

Ski Purgatory – Durango Mountain Resort

Last weekend some friends and I headed up to Durango, Colorado to ski at Purgatory, also known as Durango Mountain Resort. I was excited for the chance to ski and demo some new K2 skis (Read K2 Charger Review Here). We arrived in Durango around 5:00 pm Friday afternoon. We stayed in the Edelweiss condos which had true ski in ski out accessibility. We spent the rest of the weekend getting to know a great mountain.

Durango Mountain Resort
Durango Mountain Resort

Purgatory is a good size with a large variety of terrain but without being too big. Most of the terrain is intermediate which is what I like. It has some great runs with good steeps that get groomed regularly to keep down the moguls (moguls have their place…and I like them to stay there.)

Ski Purgatory
Looking down on Ray’s Ridge

Purgatory is divided into two sides; the front side and the back side. The front side has two open lifts and about 33% of the terrain. The back side features three lifts and about 66% of the terrain. Getting from one side to the other can sometimes prove difficult. Getting from front to back is easy, especially from the Twilight lift. But if you want to get back to the front side from the number 8 lift on the far north end of the resort you have to take BD & M Expressway. BD & M Expressway is mostly flat and necessitates a lot of walking. Even from the number 3 lift it is difficult to find a way to the front side without walking up hill short distances. An intricate knowledge of the mountain is needed to get from back to front without wearing yourself out.

See the dashed line dividing the front side from the back side
Checking the Map

One of the things I like about Purgatory is the abundant views from anywhere on the mountain. On the front side you have constant views of stunning Twilight Peak(13,158 feet). Cross over to the backside and you get a whole new range of views including: Engineer Mountain (12,927 feet), Greyrock Peak (7,536 feet), Blackhawk (12,648 feet) and Whitecap Mountain (12,369 feet). The whole time I was there I was constantly being surprised and captured by amazing views of the surrounding mountains.

Twilight Peak (13,158 feet)
Engineer Mountain (12,927 feet)
Greyrock Peak (7,536 feet)
 Whitecap Mountain (12,369 feet) on the left, and Blackhawk (12,648 feet)

During my two and a half days at Purgatory I was able to ski most of the mountain. A intermediate run called “Where” proved to be my favorite. “Where” is narrower then many of the other runs with drop after drop through groups of trees. I consistency found myself wanting to ski “Where” over and over again. For a good idea of what “Where” is like watch the second run on the video below.

First Tracks on “Where”

The last day we were there we woke up to about six inches of fresh powder. We got ready early and skied down to lift to be first in line. We got to make first tracks on nearly every run we skied till 11:00 that day. After that the snow became very choppy I was catching my edge a lot. By 11:30 it started snowing pretty hard making it hard to see the terrain. Snow was accumulating on my beard and making me very cold. We had a long drive back to Texas that day and so we decided to call it quits. Purgatory allowed us to turn our tickets in early (by 12:30) for a partial refund (the cost of a half day ticket).

Powder Day! First ones on the lift
We got to make first tracks on nearly every run we skied.
The last day it started snowing pretty hard.
Snow was collecting in my beard.

All and all we had a great weekend skiing one of my favorite mountains.

If you come to Durango Mountain Resort in the summer time there is still plenty to see and do there. I had the opportunity to go this last summer and spent a lot of time on the Alpine Slide. The Alpine Slide is a toboggan like slide that uses small wheeled sleds with a lever break. To use the slide you ride the Twilight lift half way up to the top of the slide….grab a sled and head down. I’m not sure how fast the sleds actually go…but it was fast enough to get my heart pumping. Needless to say the Alpine Slide is tons of fun.

Other summer activities include Lift assisted mountain biking, Mountain scooters, lift assisted hiking, and more.

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  • Karl

    February 4, 2011


    Looks like an awesome time on the slopes. You're right, the views all around you look awesome. Must have been phenomenal in person. Thanks for a great post!


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