Time to Schralp: Durango Ski Season 2017/18
While bikes are still buzzing dirt around town and the desert is still prime for adventure, ski season is upon us. With Purgatory Resort open as of November 18 and Taos and Telluride turning on their lifts November 23, it's time to tune your gear and make sure you and your family are ready for whatever La Nina brings this year.
Hell or high water (or no water) hasn't stopped Purgatory Resort from fulfilling their early-season dreams of offering up the White Ribbon of Death alongside epic singletrack. Upgraded snowmaking infrastructure ensures Purg's 52nd season will unfold without a hitch, while skiers and riders wait anxiously to explore the new intermediate and expert trails when the snow starts flying (we hope…).
Durango Nordic Center
Across Highway 550, the Durango Nordic Center boasts 20-kilometers of daily-groomed trails ideal for skate and classic Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking. For unlimited access to the Nordic Center, purchase a season pass before November 25 for $110, before December 25 for $130 and after December 25 for $150. Purchase passes here now for an early-bird discount, and consider donating the money you saved to the DNC so they can invest in a new Snowcat!
Durango's favorite little resort and the Southwest's largest night-skiing operation opens December 15. Hesperus is part of a $15-million multi-mountain makeover that includes Purgatory, Arizona Snowbowl, Sipapu and Pajarito. Improvements include the reopening of the rope tow, additional indoor space in the new yurt, more lights for night skiing and a bigger rental shop with upgraded equipment.
Unlike postage stamps, Ski Hesperus season passes are staying the same for another year, so get yours while they're hot. To purchase your Hesperus season pass or take the plunge and get the Power Pass - The Most Powerful Pass in the Southwest that includes all of the aforementioned resorts - click here.
San Juan Mountain Backcountry
Over 12,000-square-miles of San Juan Mountains entice backcountry enthusiasts to explore endless heights and chutes. While last season was a banner year for powder and big lines, local avalanche awareness nonprofit, Friends of the San Juans, would like to remind backcountry users that this is a totally new season with a totally new snowpack.
Do your part and either start or continue your avalanche awareness and training ASAP. Don’t have any money? The FOSJ offers FREE avalanche awareness classroom presentations and on-snow sessions throughout the winter, so check out the schedule here for upcoming dates.
If you haven't gotten your level one or two avalanche training, consider applying for the Joe Philpott and Peter Carver Avalanche Scholarship Fund. The Scholarship was founded in 2014 to honor these two young skiers who lost their lives to avalanches in 2013. Local sponsors make this scholarship possible, so take advantage of a very generous and potentially life-saving opportunity!
Whether you're an expert or just curious, make a point to Know Before You Go. Get educated. Practice. Choose your friends and ski partners wisely. And please PLEASE stay safe out there!