Thanks for a lot of great info. The house we are moving to is by Vallecito reservoir, about 20 minutes east of Durango. This turns the drive to Purg into about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes, while the drive to WC (assuming weather, an excellent point) is only about 20 minutes longer.
We normally ski about 50 days a season- virtually every Friday and Saturday during ski season. My wife-to-be is a schoolteacher, which means she gets some weekdays in around Christmas, but is VERY limited in what she can take off the rest of the the season. I get a bit more flexibility, but we are primarily weekend skiers. We would go broke without a season pass.
As far as I can tell, Wolf Creek has no partner days, yes?
I actually won a season pass to Sunlight for next season that I can't transfer, so while I won't be getting in more than 2-3 days at Sunlight, it gets me 3 days at DMR, 3 at Monarch, and 3 days at a few of the smaller ski areas in tha Taos region. With me having free passes to several areas within driving distance, for this Winter, not having partners days built into the pass we buy won't be as big of a deal.
Telluride is probably out of our price range- we are used to spending $300-$500 on passes, being spoiled by the epic deals on Monarch/Sunlight passes. The $800 for a Purg pass is tough to swallow, especially with mediocre snowfall and nothing-special terrain based on the comments here. I understand that if you buy passes at the end of the previous season, the deals are better? Won't work for this year as we only found out last week that we were moving. Telluride may not be a good fit for the future wife- she's an advanced skier but gets VERY apprehensive about pusing her comfort zone (apparently breaking your collarbone in a ski-racing program at age 6 does this to you), and much of the terrain that would make Telluride worth the $$$ of the pass would be out of reach.
Here is a question- do any of these ski areas offer "chamber passes" or the like? I know in Aspen, if you have a job in Aspen with a participating employer, you can get seriously reduced passes. Does anybody know whether anything like that exists?
Right now, I think our game plan is to get a Wolf Creek pass, use the tickets that I get from my Sunlight Pass to sample Purgatory, spend a day or two at Telluride, do some night skiing at Hesperus, and I've gotten commitment from the future wife that she will be willing to try Silverton on a late-season unguided day.
We've never skied the areas around Durango, despite really, really wanting to- it was always too much of a drive from where we were living. We are really looking forward to skiing places that we know to be great for the FIRST TIME! A whole new skiing experience!
Also, anybody seriously considering driving out of Durango to go ski Summit should punch themselves in the balls until that terrible idea goes away.
Thanks a lot guys!