Friday, January 22, 2010

Powder day brings town to Purgatory


BIG powder day at Purgatory today.

A series of fat, wet Pacific storms -- courtesy of your regional El Nino -- have pummeled southwest Colorado, and bulls-eyed the southern San Juans in particular. Those storms have (so far) left behind a shroud of some three feet of snow in downtown Durango, and kindly deposited upwards of four feet of white manna at our little local ski area.

In advance of the biggest of the three-storm whacking, the Weather Service yesterday announced a 24-hour winter-storm and blizzard warning for our little corner of the Rockies, from 6 p.m. Thursday through 6 p.m. Friday.

Accepting what that means for an area already in snowbank gridlock, around noon on Thursday Fort Lewis College, the 9R School District, the City of Durango, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and just about every other business, agency, club, group, coven, and institution canceled anything they might have planned for Friday.

And that meant ... great joy in Mudville. Or Snowville, since baseball season is still (only!) two months away. (Mud season will be coming ...)

So with a city-wide hall pass for Friday, and 18-or-so hours' notice, Purgatory today was -- not "was like," but actually was -- a grand, ad hoc, spontaneous festival for locals merrily dancing and prancing and laughing all the way through the ridiculous depths of fresh powder we all awoke to today.

Almost too much snow at first, I must say. On the first runs, it wasn't so much a great powder day as it was just a ... bizarre day -- you could barely pole through the uncut multi-foot layer of snow on the first runs. But once the thick layer was cut, the skiing was most glorious.

And the scene -- populated by college kids, high school kids, and just about everyone else you could possibly know or recognize from town -- was like the ultimate local's day: The town shut down, and everybody gathering to do what it is we most love to do.

Oh, yeah: And it dumped all day. Can you say, encore tomorrow?

Check out some images from the glory day here, and below.

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