Fire Destroys Sipapu Guest Lodge

Fire Destroys Sipapu Guest Lodge

Fire at Sipapu guest lodge rages into the dark on Dec. 16. (Leah Todd/The Taos News)

A mid-day fire broke out in an eight-room guest lodge at Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort on Dec. 16, sending two guests to the hospital and tightening holiday lodging options at the northern New Mexico resort.


Operations at the 200-acre mountain have not been affected by the fire, and it didn’t deter pre-Christmas skiers and riders from hitting the Sipapu slopes, as parking lots have been full most of the week.

However, the blaze took out a significant portion of available lodging space at the base of the mountain in a tight valley southeast of Taos – right as the holiday crowds began to roll in. The resort owns about 50 rooms in various buildings, including the lodge.

“While the fire impacted less than 20 percent of Sipapu’s total lodging options, Sipapu's reservations staff is reaching out to those guests whose reservations are affected to re-book their lodging at Sipapu or area hotels,” Sipapu’s Kim Oyler told SnoCountry.com.

No cause of the fire at what is known as The Apartments has been determined at this time, and the condition of the two persons taken to Holy Cross Hospital in Taos has not been released.

Normally the first mountain to open in New Mexico, Sipapu had to delay its opening because of the warm late fall weather that kept most Rocky mountain resorts closed later that usual.

Once it opened, however, a couple of storms settled down on this well-known “snow pocket” in the southern Sangre de Cristo Mountains. On Dec. 20, Sipapu reported a 24-inch base with 14 trails open and four lifts running.

Purchased two years ago by the owners of Purgatory Mountain in Durango, the family-centric resort has plenty of deals for all manner of skiers and riders -- a free night with an adult ticket (on selected dates), free RV hookups with a day ticket, a deep discount for a carload of five or more, and free skiing or riding for 40-year-olds.



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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.

Purgatory Snowcat Adventures

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.

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Purgatory Snowcat Adventures

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.

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