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Ski Experience - Purgatory Resort

Located in Colorado's far south and west aspects, the town is near the four-corners region uniting Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. A charming community near some rather vertical mountains, its origins is owed to the small scale railway, which continues to make token runs through the immediate area honoring its origins as a narrow gauge train to Silverton and the local mining. Nearby Mesa Verde National Park protects and preserves the Native American history found there. Built in 1965, the ski resort was formerly (and is often still) known as Purgatory and has since undergone an official name change to Durango Mountain Resort.

Ski Levels

The mountain itself is generously apportioned for the intermediate skier. Beginners will also find the trails appealing, and it lends itself well to the transition from beginner to intermediate skier. Knowing their clientèle, the ski instruction is geared towards beginning and intermediate skiers as well. The more engaging expert ski runs are best found at other locations. That said, the lack of lift lines means a lot more runs and fun for your vacation, and ample opportunities to improve your skills. Of course, as is the case with any of the Colorado ski resorts, the ski patrol are consummate professionals and will see to the safety of all the mountain's guests. There is a terrain park that provides plenty of air for the adrenalin enthusiasts, and provides beginners with a place to experience those first jumps. All in all, it's a fun, comfortable mountain to ski.

Though it's in the southern aspect of Colorado, visitors should still dress for skiing. Light layers of clothing and a powder jacket, something breathable and waterproof, are advised, as are neck and boot gators. The mountain gets an average of 260 inches of snow per year (and has snowmakers available). With a base at over 8,700 feet, you're still going to feel the cold, and at the 11,000+ peak the wind chill alone can be a shock to the system, so come prepared for alpine skiing and shed layers as needed.

Après Ski

This area is also known as a college town and the nightlife is bound to reflect that aspect. Many classically trained chefs enjoy the area for the diversity of activities and culture found there, and so one can be in for a real dining treat. The town also sports its own brewery; Steamworks, known for craft beers and a unique combination of southwestern and Cajun cuisine, is a popular watering hole especially during happy hour. There are pizza places, where one can grab a slice and watch ski movies. Of course, the live music scene is always a part of a ski town's après ski. A trip to Mesa Verde National Park's ruins and a ride on the Narrow Gauge railroad are both unique experiences not to be missed, so allow an extra day or two for them.