Durango Mountain Resort

Durango Mountain Resort isn't the largest ski resort in Colorado, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in personality. The beauty of the surrounding San Juan Mountains is just one reason to visit this wonderful resort, and you might also fancy the low-key atmosphere. Formerly known as Purgatory Ski Resort (and still often called this today), the Durango Mountain Ski Resort offers 85 total trails. Twenty-one percent of these trails are for beginners, while 46 percent cater to intermediate visitors. For advanced skiers, 33 percent of the trails are of the black diamond variety. In other words, any and all level skiers or snowboarders can have a blast at the Durango Mountain Resort.

The former Purgatory Ski Resort took its old name from the nearby Purgatory Flats area, which often became an area where miners got stuck. Some miners couldn't pay the toll to get to the old mines, and since many weren't up for turning back, they often lingered in the Purgatory Flats area until they figured out what they were going to do. The old name is still very much embraced, while the new name reflects the location near the city of Durango. It's just a 30-minute drive from Durango to the Durango Mountain Resort. If one of the Durango hotels are what you opt to go with when it comes to Durango Mountain lodging, you can also take a shuttle bus to the resort and back, which is an especially good idea if you plan on enjoying some apres-ski festivities.

The former Purgatory Ski Resort gets about 260 inches of snow on an annual basis, and if need be, it can cover 250 of its 1,325 total skiable acres with manmade snow. The resort is bounded by picturesque peaks on three sides, while the Colorado high desert unfolds below and to the south. This unique location usually sets the stage for light, fluffy snow, as is true at the resorts in nearby Utah. When it's not snowing, the sun is often shining, so you won't want to forget the sunblock. The base elevation of the Durango Mountain Resort is 8,793 feet, and the summit elevation is 10,822 feet. This results in an impressive 2,029-foot vertical drop. Ten lifts serve the 85 different runs, and if you want to work on your tricks during a visit, there are no fewer than three different terrain parks that can also be accessed.

While the Durango Mountain Resort isn't exactly large, it is among the more complete small resorts in the state. It's also one of the best for families with kids. In the resort's Purgatory Village, there are shops and restaurants, not to mention some tempting Durango Mountain lodging options. There's also the Durango Mountain Camp, which offers intensive language tutoring for kids with dyslexia issues. This summer camp offers day camp sessions for kids ages eight to thirteen, and five-and-a-half week boarding camps for kids ages eleven to seventeen. Kids who attend the highly-regarded Durango Mountain Camp often make amazing strides. When they're not getting tutored, kids at the camp enjoy other activities, such as hiking and camping.

Whether they are attending the Durango Mountain Camp or not, kids who visit the Durango Mountain Ski Resort in the summer will have little trouble keeping busy. The same goes for adults. There's also plenty to do in the winter months. Popular summer activities include hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, while the winter activities include skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and taking sleigh rides. After a few days spent enjoying the great outdoors, you might treat yourself to a spa session. The Purgatory Village is home to at least one good day spa that can help you rejuvenate both body and mind during your stay.

Image: SETmariposa (flickr)

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