I’ve just recently returned from an enjoyable long weekend in Durango, Colorado. Located in the southwest corner of the state, it’s a small town that is easily defined as ‘quirky’, yet has a lot of appeal compared to many of the state’s other reputable winter travel destinations. Perhaps number one on my list is Durango’s 300+ days a year of sunshine. That means you can enjoy a day of skiing in pristine conditions, and get views like this:
Gorgeous, eh? Unlike other ski towns in Colorado, Durango’s ski resort is about a 20 minute drive out of town. Called Purgatory, it is a full-service ski area, with ski, snowboarding, cabins and lodges, ski school, and other miscellany. On my ski day I opted for snowshoeing, which turned out to be a great choice given the sunny conditions and 16 inches of fresh powder that had arrived earlier in the week.
Purgatory isn’t Colorado’s largest resort area, but it’s certainly got plenty of trails, and the lift tickets are less than $100, which you can’t say for most resorts in the state. What I also like about Purgatory is it’s low key and low hassle; everyone is friendly, and most people here aren’t here to show off the latest ski fashions, they’re here for good ski and perhaps a refreshing local beer after a good run. What’s not to like?
If you’ve got time on your hands and not feeling like a day on the slopes, Durango has plenty of other attractions to suit your holiday temptations, such as:
Durango has its own airport with regular service to larger area airports such as Phoenix or Denver. Sometimes that final leg of air travel can increase the flight price, so be sure to check fares early and often – though Durango is less expensive that other Colorado ski towns once you get here.
While here, you should consider either a daytrip or spending the night at the Sky Ute Casino Resort, just half an hour out of town. It’s got a wonderful museum highlighting the culture of the Sky Ute Indian tribe, and also from here you can do some driving daytrips, such as exploring the Mesa Verde National Park or taking your photo at the famous Four Corners Monument.
Photo copyright: Andy Hayes
Posted : Thursday, March 8th, 2012 at 11:00
Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.