The network of Mountain Southwest resorts under the Power Pass season ticket continues to grow, and ownership has built a reputation for putting out money for upgrades.
We're saying goodbye to October’s tricks, and flipping the calendar to treats in November. The east will get a cool down, while the west benefits from an early start to the season.
Another small ski and snowboard area in the southern Rockies is ready to expand: Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort has announced projects to add lifts, trails and more on-mountain dining.
Mountain biking is king at Purgatory. (Purgatory/Facebook)
As Durango businessman James Coleman bought five southwest Rockies resorts, he promised to put significant money into improvements at these mountains in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The storms in February tended to swing toward the south, putting smiles on powder hounds in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico – and finally getting Albuquerque's Sandia Peak open.
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.
Better late than never. A south-arcing storm system this week put enough snow down at Pajarito Mountain Ski Area to get the lifts finally spinning for the 2015 season.
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.
On a weekend powder day at Taos Ski Valley, some 60 skiers on the hill will be knee-dipping through the fluff on telemarking equipment.