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Durango Purgatory local knowledge?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Okay, you persuaded me that Durango is a practical daytrip from Pagosa. What do I need to know? Parking, how do I get to know the mountain (we're looking for cruising rather than bumps/steeps), eating, etc. We'll be doing dinner back in Pagosa, but breakfast in town? Best lunch on the mountain?  Thanks. 

post #2 of 12

Weekend or weekday?

 

Breakfast: College Drive Cafe (between 6th and 7th Ave, IIRC), Carvers (Main St, between 10th and 11th)

 

The close in parking (Purgatory Village) gets filled up quick on weekends. They had to make room for more condos, of course. The lower Columbine Parking is a closer walk to getting to snow and putting on skis and off at the end of the day. 1st or 2nd right after entering the area. You'll see the lower access lift (Lift 7) as you come in. Overflow parking is below the Gelande hill before you get to the area, You can skate ski or walk across the flats or catch a bus to the main base area.

 

Groomers off of the Main chair (6 pack), Lift 2 (frontside), Lift 3 (backside), Lift 5, Lift 8 (slow lift).

 

On Mountain food: Basic Powder House (near lift 2). Better Food: Dantes (off top of Lift 5). Base area food many options, including deli in the mall area.

 

Check out the map online.

 

Give a shout. Depending on timing, I may be able to hook up to at least say hello and point you around.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Many thanks. We plan to arrive in Pagosa either Friday night 3/4, or Saturday 3/5, so Monday 3/7 looks like the most likely day for Purg. How busy would it be on Sunday? And how far a drive to Albuquerque in case we try to ski on Wednesday 3/9? I'll try to pm you from Pagosa.

 

Cheers,

 

Evan

post #4 of 12

That week is Spring break so it should be bit busier than typical weekdays and the weekend. It also depends on new snow of course. Plan on 4 to 4 1/2 hours to ABQ from Purgatory.

 

Direct contact (see signature link) is better than PMs. If I'm out, I'll be able to respond.

post #5 of 12

Purgatory has lots of blue cruiser runs, but is laid out differently than most areas. It is not a mountain, but a long  benched ridge, and consequently it has lots of flat spots, and twice as many intersections than any area you will ever ski.  The key to skiing Purgatory is to keep your speed up on the flats.  When heading  around to lift 3 or 5 from the frontside you need to go as fast as possible or you will be walking/poling on the traverse road. Same thing at the bottom of Lift 3. If you do not carry speed you will be walking the last 100 yards to the lift.  Lift 8 has some great cruisers, but when you want to come back from that side of the mountain you need to tuck the traverse back to Lift 5 or you will be walking.  Purg actually has a signed/mapped run named "Walk-a Lot," so that should tell you something.

post #6 of 12

Good points Mudfoot.

 

I've often wondered what they were smoking when they decided:

 

A. Build the ski area where it is rather than at Cascade.

B. laid out the off fall line runs

C, Decided that having zillions of crisscrossing cat walks with down hill runs, below headwalls was intelligent design.

 

The place will teach about good glide and why waxing, scraping and brushing is good thing. wink.gif

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post

Good points Mudfoot.

 

I've often wondered what they were smoking when they decided:

 

A. Build the ski area where it is rather than at Cascade.

B. laid out the off fall line runs

C, Decided that having zillions of crisscrossing cat walks with down hill runs, below headwalls was intelligent design.

 

The place will teach about good glide and why waxing, scraping and brushing is good thing. wink.gif


Purg is amazing in that you can have other skiers coming at you from 3 or 4 different directions during the course of a single run.

 

Alpinord, as a wax and tuning supply merchant you will appreciate that years ago in my mind I renamed "Walk-a-Lot" to "Should-a-Waxed."
 

post #8 of 12

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post

Purg is amazing in that you can have other skiers coming at you from 3 or 4 different directions during the course of a single run.

 

Alpinord, as a wax and tuning supply merchant you will appreciate that years ago in my mind I renamed "Walk-a-Lot" to "Should-a-Waxed."

....or "Skootch Leg" (see Cross Country Snowboarding).

 

(I've often thought that a great waxing ad would be to show snowboards hopping for a bit

along the flats of Purg with a comment about proper waxing and then have another boarder glide by in the background.)   biggrin.gif
 

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

Whew. A little too much info. Sounds like Camelback in PA, but I'm still looking forward to it. I thought I'd just miss Texas spring break. Web sites say it starts the 11th. I got caught in it last year at Wolf Creek, but t hat was about a week later. We fled to Taos (where I'll be before Pagosa) and it was almost empty. Probably should have switched the order -- Pagosa 2/28  thru 3/3, then Taos, but we want to do the ski week at Taos. Still could, I guess.

 

Thanks guys. 

post #10 of 12

Just remember that if you are heading to the bottom of Lift 3 (Hermosa Express), or between any lifts that you need to keep your speed up on the cat tracks.  It is a good mountain with some great blue runs, but they don't call it "Traversatory" for nothing.

 

I doubt that it will have Pres. Day weekend crowds anything like Wolf Creek.

post #11 of 12

Durango Mountain Resort/Purgatory  is quite different than Wolf Creek.  The trip from Pagosa, if you leave early enough, will give you a new resort experience to add to the travel quiver.  The base area has a variety of little shops to meet your slopeside needs.  Food...well, it's better than some but nothing to brag about.  Parking is terrible unless you keep your car in one of the lower lots----you'll see them on the right when you are driving in.  I say this because if you park in the top lot, the walk to the base area is usually long, and by the end of the day ridiculously muddy.  It's not paved. (maybe they paved it this last summer, don't know!)  If you opt for the lower lots a bus will take you to the base area curbside.  There are plenty of lockers available inside for things you might have wanted to leave in your car.  Believe me, you do not want to walk to your car once you have been on the slopes!

I think DMR is in a gorgeous setting.  Summer and Winter, it's beautiful.  The Beach area is fun and they have a great outdoor patio with a nice bar;  just steps away from the largest of the base restaurants,  which has another, very busy,  bar.  Other dining up on the mountain as well.

Skiing this mountain can be quite the roller coaster ride.  As stated previously, the mountain is terraced.  Many of the runs are wide enough for the variety of skill levels that come from different trails, but you need to keep your eyes peeled for the boarders jumping from the terraces above.  I witnessed an instructor-- who was waiting below for his group to follow him down-- taken down instantly by an out-of-control snowboarder.  He didn't move right away, and was found to have a brain injury a couple of months later.

Spring Break is the most crowded time to go to Purgatory.  The local residents usually have their break later in the month ; it's the Texas and Arizona crowd you'll need to fight for skiing real estate.

All in all it's a great place to visit...if you go at the right time.

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

Rojko, thanks to you as well. Web tells me that Plano, TX, e.g.,  has spring break from 3/14 to 3/18, and I think that Ft Worth, Wicihta Falls, etc. is the same. I think public school break is more of a problem than college. Part of the problem at Wolf Creek last year was that it hadn't snowed in about three weeks, so stuff off the Alberta Lift was no fun and the lodge-side lifts had huge lines. Half the families in west Texas with kids seemed to be there. They think nothing of driving 12-18 hours. I guess the ones that can afford to fly go to the Front Range.

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