A quick 30-minute drive from the heart of downtown Durango will get you to Purgatory Resort in Durango, CO where an annual snowfall of 260 inches blankets the mountain thoroughly, making sure that no matter what time in the season you find yourself there, you are sure to not only be completely satisfied, but also utterly amazed.
Winter Sports At Purgatory
Because the resort offers such a variety of slopes and trails, covering more than 1,360 skiable acres, it has been ranked as the "second least crowded ski area on the continent.” If snow sports aren’t for you, feel free to check out Purgatory Resort in the summer too. During these months, the trails are clear for other family oriented activities such as hiking or mountain biking. For a small fee, the lifts are even open to take you to the top of the mountain just to catch the view.
Purgatory Resort offers winter activities for everyone in the family to enjoy. Whether you want to shop and dine or adventure off to the mountain, there is an activity for you. Some of the options the family has are:
- Tubing: Rent tubes and fly down snow-covered tubing lanes. Fun for the whole family! Tubing is affordable fun for ages 3 and up.
- Snowshoe Tours: Enjoy the snow and explore Colorado’s backcountry from a new perspective, learning about wildlife, geology, flora and fauna.
- Dog Sledding: Join a team of sled dogs from Durango Dog Ranch on a family adventure like no other.
- Sleigh Rides: Take a scenic horse drawn sleigh ride through the picturesque Colorado backcountry. Warm blankets are provided, so you can be cozy while enjoying the magical views.
- Snowcat Skiing: Ski on San Jaun’s white powdered terrain and experience a more expansive view of the terrain.
- Purgatory Nordic Center: The Nordic Center offers a backcountry experience like no other. Between the scenic picnic spots along the trails and the perfectly groomed cross-country and skate skiing routes, you are sure to have a memorable time.
- Snowmobile Adventures: These guided tours will not disappoint. Hop on a snowmobile and venture into the forested mountains with the whole family beside you. This comes with the perfect chance for photo ops!
The Heart of Purgatory Resort
Purgatory Village offers just about everything you’ll need on your visit. Take in the majestic views of the San Juan Mountains while perusing a variety of shops and restaurants, and of course skiing or riding the beautiful mountain. The Village is the center of your vacation, where you can relax in a beach chair in front of Purgy’s or watch the evening alpenglow over the Needles Peaks.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of places that will accommodate you on your winter ski and snowboard trip to Durango. Durango is not like most other ski towns where you basically ski into your hotel off the slope. The town of Durango is located about 30 miles away from the mountain and we don’t want you to miss the town of Durango! For your convenience there are shuttle services to Purgatory Resort into Durango.
Historic Downtown Durango is a fun way to spend your time not on the slopes. There is a lot of history mixed in with modern shops, cool restaurants and quaint coffee shops where you will enjoy the relaxed feel of downtown. You could also choose to stay in the middle of downtown and Purgatory Resort at a relaxed Bed & Breakfast.
Purgatory Mountain came into its modern day name in 1776 when several Spanish explorers were traveling on a nearby river. Some of their party got lost, and their bodies were never found. The other travelers believed the souls of the lost men would be relegated to Purgatory, and from this legend was born the designation, Purgatory Mountain, which originally opened as Purgatory Resort in 1965 and now operates as the year-round Purgatory Resort.
Following this legendary expedition, the river was named “El Rio de las Animas Perdidas” or the River of Lost Souls (now the Animas River).