Huffpost Travel

Durango Mountain Resort: A Huffington Post Travel Ski Resort Guide

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Locals still know Durango Mountain Resort as Purgatory, the resort's former name.
Locals still know Durango Mountain Resort as Purgatory, the resort's former name.

Durango Mountain Resort in Colorado is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Durango Mountain Resort, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.

The Basics

Located 25 miles north of Durango, Colorado, Durango Mountain Resort is composed of 1,360 acres of terraced terrain on the slopes of Purgatory Mountain. Known for its great snow, blue-sky days, minimal crowds and short lift lines, skiers and snowboarders of every skill level can maximize their time on the slopes without ski traffic before heading into Durango, rated one of America's top 10 ski towns. The resort is accessible via the Durango Airport, with daily service from nearby cities such as Denver and Phoenix.

The Mountain

Purgatory, part of the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado, summits at 10,822 feet with a 2,029-foot vertical drop. During its typical season, spanning from late November to early April, Durango Mountain Resort receives an average of 260 inches of snow annually. Snowmaking capabilities on 250 acres of the mountain ensure plenty of skiable terrain even after stretches of snowless days. With its location between two weather systems that tend to produce consistent snow followed by bright, sunny days, skiers are likely to find fresh powder and pleasant weather.

Trails And Lifts

Durango Mountain Resort's 88 trails accommodate a wide variety of skill levels, with 20 percent appropriate for beginners, 45 percent for intermediates and 35 for experts. In addition to the trails, the longest of which spans 1.3 miles, the park operates five terrain parks, including a beginner's park and a park just for children. Ten total lifts shuttle up to 15,050 skiers and boarders to the top of the trails each hour. One six-person chairlift, one quad, two triples and one double service the top of the mountain, while the remaining two triples, one double and one magic carpet provide access to the smaller trails and terrain parks.

In The News

While many ski resorts operate ski schools, Durango Mountain Resort hosts specialty clinics and programs for local skiers and boarders. Specialty sessions, such as an early season skills tuneup, mogul mastery and Telemark skiing, give intermediate and advanced winter sports enthusiasts the chance to fine tune specific skills on the slopes. The Snowburners and All Terrain Pioneers help local skiers aged 4 to 12 improve their abilities and technique. Durango Mountain Resort also hosts the Backcountry Experience BrewSKI Demofest, giving skiers and boarders the opportunity to try out the latest in winter sports equipment from avalanche gear to snow bikes.

Cost

Regular season full-day lift tickets range from $42 for kids from ages 6 to 12 to $75 for adults. Seniors, students and skiers arriving after 12:30 p.m. can purchase lift tickets at discounted rates. Frequent skiers should purchase season passes, starting at $179 for children between the ages of 6 and 12 accompanied by a paying adult. Season passes include free days at Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Powderhorn, Monarch and Taos, as well as discounted lift tickets at Alta, Crested Butte and Arizona Snowbowl. Durango's Ski & Ride School teaches group and private lessons to skiers and boarders of all skill levels with prices starting at $60 for half-day kid or beginner adult lessons. Basic ski and snowboard packages rented slope side cost $30 and $35, respectively, and sport or performance rentals start at $35. Helmets are available to rent but are not included in the packages.

Apres-Ski

Durango Mountain Resort may not be as large as some of the big name resorts in Colorado, but it still has plenty of options for post-trail refreshment. Hoody's Base Camp Lodge serves adult libations from a full bar for adult skiers, while teenagers can head over to Hoody's Hangout for Teens to shoot pool or play video games. Kendall Mountain Liquors sells plenty of refreshments for in-room entertaining, and skiers who can't seem to pull themselves from the slopes can grab everything from pizza to sandwiches slope side at Powderhouse.

WATCH: Durango Mountain Resort:

Skiers carve their way through the fresh opening day powder at Durango Mountain Resort.
Filed by Sara Gates