Until Ski Hesperus turns on lights, Purg will stay lit. (Ski Hesperus/Facebook)
Being business partners has its benefits, especially in times of little snow, as with Purgatory Mountain Resort cranking up night skiing and riding until local-hill partner Ski Hesperus receives enough to turn on its lifts and lights.
Starting Dec. 16, Purgatory will illuminate Ski Way and Graduate in the Columbine area at the bottom base area of the southern Colorado resort. The Graduate chair will run until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and until 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday until Ski Hesperus – located 12 miles west of Durango – opens.
Night skiing lift tickets are $25, available at the ticket office in the central Plaza or in the Columbine area. Those who purchase a day lift ticket at Purgatory may use it to ski or ride that night. Purgatory season passes and Hesperus season passes are also valid for night skiing.
Purgatory already has lights up in some of the Columbine area – last used 17 years ago -- and crews have brought in portable lights to supplement.
When snow arrives, Hesperus will run six evenings a week as well as daytime during the weekends.
The main mountain has made enough snow to open two top-to-bottom trails, one on the front and one one the back, served by Village Express and Engineer chairlifts. There are terrain park features open just below the top of Engineer lift.
Most of resorts in the southern Rockies are furiously making snow to bridge the season until the first major storm of the season rolls in.
Durango businessman James Coleman bought Hesperus last season, finishing off a four-year flurry of bringing Purgatory, Arizona Snowbowl, Sipapu and Pajarito under single ownership. This summer, Coleman bought San Juan Untracked – a backcountry snowcat service with 36,000 acres under permit – and Elk Ridge town hill in Williams, Ariz.