The Purgatory Snowcat takes you deep into the San Juan backcountry. (Purgatory)
The owner of Purgatory Mountain Resort has purchased one of the nation’s premier powder cat skiing operations, adding 36,000 acres of powder heaven his burgeoning winter sports portfolio.
Purgatory Snowcat Adventures will debut this winter at the southwest Colorado resort – but it won’t have to move far. Its headquarters has been at the base of “Purg” for several years now.
As a result of the purchase of San Juan Untracked, Durango businessman James Coleman now holds one of the nation’s largest backcountry permits with the U.S. Forest Service. The powder-rich terrain run deep into the San Juan Mountain backcountry – from Rico to the west, the southwest flank of Engineer Mountain to the north and including Grayrock Peak and Graysill Mountain.
And, skiers and riders who purchase the five-resort Purgatory Power Pass ($999 for adults) get 10 percent off the $350 single-seat rate – when reserved in advance -- and sneak peaks at special, last-minute offers on drop-in rates for the backcountry service. Private 12-seat ‘cats can be had for $3,500 a day.
The current fleet includes four snowcats, 10 snowmobiles and a backcountry van – plus the highly valuable backcountry permit that runs through 2020. The powder operation will be managed by previous owners Dennis and Amanda Martin, who bought it in 2013.
“James (Coleman) and I both love skiing and love Durango, so this merger will help both of us accomplish what is important to me, and that’s putting Durango on the map for amazing backcountry skiing,” said Dennis Martin.
The purchase of the powder operation continues Coleman’s spending spree in the Southwest that began in 2014 when he bought Purgatory and Arizona Snowbowl. Since then, Sipapu Resort and Pajarito Mountain in New Mexico, and Ski Hesperus outside Durango have been added to Coleman’s portfolio.
The four Southwest resorts under single ownership will continue to get upgrades this summer – with the first high-speed chair at Arizona Snowbowl headlining the projects.
For 50 years, winter sports-lovers have made the drive up the Animas River to strap on skis (and, later snowboards) to hit the slopes at Purgatory in the middle of Colorado's San Juan Mountains.
Forecasters say it may take a bit for the El Niño pattern to settle into a southerly flow, but the southern-tier resorts of New Mexico and Arizona have already cranked up for this season – with upgrades all around.
The Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend marks the traditional start to the ski and snowboard season, and thanks to bountiful snowfall, some resorts are rejoicing, while others would be happy with some cold table scraps.
The waters are warming in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean, signaling that El Niño is on his way – and so should above-average snowfall across the West and Southwest.
Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort -- the New Mexico ski and snowboard mountain known for long seasons and beginner friendliness -- will put in a new chairlift this summer to serve more of the mountain's easier terrain.
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.
James Coleman, a local Durango resident and avid skier, finalized his purchase of Durango Mountain Resort this week and promptly changed the name of the iconic Southwestern Colorado resort back to Purgatory.
More than a few people likely called in sick with the powder flu in and around Salt Lake City this week as a couple of feet of powder fell on the Wasatch – and quickly.
Resorts in the West believe skiers and snowboarders should be able to enjoy the inherent excitement, exhilaration and thrills on the slopes – and feel safe while doing them.For nearly two decades, the National Ski Areas Association has designated January as the time to focus on how to activity on the slopes and trails safer for everyone. And, in the past several seasons, the issue has been in the spotlight with high-profile accidents and lawsuits.
What appears to be a La Niña winter in the West has put smiles on the faces of skiers and snowboarders who live and play at Arizona’s three winter resorts.
After rolling across Tahoe and the southern tier of the Rockies, the weather is expected to take a break across the West for this weekend before another round arrives just before Christmas.The best bet for upcoming powder days will be along and north of I-70 in Colorado next week, meaning skiers and snowboarders at Steamboat , and Summit and Eagle county resorts might get those powder boards in shape.
Skiers and riders in the Southwest may be the biggest winners as the market for Western resorts remains hot. A Durango businessman and avid skier with ownership interests in two northern New Mexico resorts, has purchased both Durango Mountain Resort and Arizona Snowbowl.The new collective is now the largest in the region.
Skiers and riders in the Southwest may be the biggest winners as the market for Western resorts remains hot. A Durango businessman with ownership interests in two Northern New Mexico resorts, has purchased both Durango Mountain Resort and Arizona Snowbowl.
When it’s crackling hot in the high desert of the Southwest, locals and visitors alike gaze longingly at the mountains – and many of them get up there to cool off.
Many season passes add extra value through discounted rentals, food, ski shop apparel, and other perks, but several Heartland season passes also include alliances with western and eastern ski resorts. Check them out. There are some good benefits if you’re planning a ski vacation outside the Midwest this winter.
Twelve ski resorts throughout the West – many with prodigious pow stashes – have united to offer skiers and riders the opportunity to broaden their powdery horizons with a brand new “Powder Alliance” pass.
At Arizona Snowbowl, where they are celebrating their 75th Anniversary this winter, it may be your age, your gender or the day of the week that will trigger a special deal on lift tickets.