Sunday, December 14, 2008

Purgatory finally sees powder ...

It's been a long wait (especially with a 13-year-old powder-hounding daughter daily asking the ski-bum's equivalent of are we there yet??), but we finally got up to Purgatory ... er, Durango Mountain Resort ... today.
From Purg 14 dec 08


And it was a good day to go: although only the front-side six-pack was open and only a handful of runs were open, the skiing that was there was excellent. Employees reported the area had at last received a foot and a half of light, lovely snow.
From Purg 14 dec 08


We spent most of the day hitting Paradise and Hades, and at midday patrollers opened Lower Pando and Lower Hades -- and we were lucky enough to be standing at the rope when they opened lower Hades, which led to a glorious back-country quality float trip down Hades' steep uncut face.

Changes at Purg? Well, the base area looked quite nice. The wide entranceway courtyard has a nice, cozy, throw-back ski-area feel to it, with it brick cobblestone
From Purg 14 dec 08
and classic lamp posts. And the new Purgy's is attractive and functional (although it seems crazy they didn't put an easy-to-access water fountain near the entrance to the restaurant and bar ...). Out in front of the restaurant, a bonfire gave cold folks -- and it was a cold day of alternating snow squalls and sun bursts -- a place to sit and enjoy a day in the hills.
From Purg 14 dec 08


But, rest assured: other stuff that classic Purgatory haven't changed. My favorite personal gripes were left in tact:
  • It was still that familiar unmanaged chaos at the six pack loading area - people trying to figure out how to merge the entrance lines, and six-seater chairs going up with one or two people while dozens wait below -- while at the loading area three employees, oblivious to the line-mess behind them, rake the snow and watch people load.
  • The lifts and base area are still aurally sterile -- devoid of the festive music that imbue powder-day spirit at the base area and the tops and bottoms of lifts at most ski areas. Even the soundtrack to Purgy's restaurant of was the indecipherable mumbling from the TVs broadcasting two different football games.
It's refreshing to know they're not improving everything at Purg.

And today, it would've been hard to improve the skiing.
From Purg 14 dec 08


It has begun ... Check out the slide show:



And more snow is a'comin' ...



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