For three decades, Purgatory loyalists have relied upon old-faithful Legends Lift 8 to take them to the tranquility, bumps and glades of Durango Mountain’s back side. That's about to change.
This summer, the venerable fixed-grip triple chair will be replaced by a high-speed detachable quad that will make the one-mile, 1,500 vertical-foot ride in about five minutes – at least twice as fast as its predecessor.
The new lift, which will retain its Legends and Lift 8 monikers, is the first major renovation at the southwestern Colorado resort since local businessman James Coleman and a group of investors bought it last fall.
“The team at Purgatory believes that the new high-speed quad significantly improves our lift capacity to support the existing skiable terrain on the backside, provides a faster ride, and allows us to continue expanding terrain serviced by Lift 8 over time,” said Purgatory’s Kim Oyler.
Purgatory will also add three new advanced trails to the west of the Lift 8 in conjunction with the new lift project this summer, feeding into Ray’s Ridge.
As a result of the purchase, Coleman officially returned the resort to its original name, Purgatory, after a number of years under the more clunky “Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort.”
The mountain held a farewell party on one of the last weekends of the season with free tickets for all for the chairlift that locals said goes so slow, “you can hand-feed the birds.” Installation of the new lift will eliminate the mid-lift loading ramp above the final pitch to the lift’s base.
The Legends Lift serves some of the mountains most advanced terrain, including the bump-fest Blackburn’s Bash right under the lift, and glade skiing in McCormack’s Maze and Hoody’s.
Also at Purgatory, the 2015-2016 Power Pass is on sale for 25 percent off until April 30. The pass is also good at Arizona Snowbowl, Sipapu and Pajarito – the three other resorts that Coleman’s group purchased along with Purgatory.
Photo: Changes are on the horizon at Colorado's Purgatory (Purgatory/Facebook)