Purgatory extends season, opens new transfer lift

Thursday, March 16, 2017 8:56 PM

Purgatory Resort announced Tuesday the new transfer lift has officially opened, and that the ski area north of Durango will extend its season through April.

According to spokeswoman Kim Oyler, Purgatory Resort will remain open daily through April 2. Then, the ski area will be open Friday through Sunday, from April 7 to April 30.

"Purgatory has received more snow already this winter than all of last ski season, and more snow is in the forecast during the latter part of March," Oyler said. "Because of the great coverage and incredible conditions, officials have decided to extend the season."

And though it may feel spring has already arrived in Southwest Colorado, a possible storm next week could bring snow to the region.

Chris Cuoco, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said a storm system is predicted to move into the area Tuesday or Wednesday, with the chance for on and off snow lasting until Thursday.

"It's a long way off, and a lot of things can happen," he said. "But right now at least, the models are showing a decent storm moving through mid-week, next week."

As for the new transfer lift, called "Lift 11," Oyler said skiers can now move across the toe of the slope from roughly the bottom of Dirty's Secret, a new trail at Purgatory that debuted this season, Siegele Street or Lower Bull Run over to the bottom of the Legends Express.

"Lift 11 is a modernized rope tow design, called a Swiss Cord, which skiers can access from any point along the alignment to easily traverse over to the base of the Legends Express," she said. "Positioned end-to-end, spanning approximately 1,300 feet, skiers are able to grab any point and move to the west, toward the high-speed quad."

Ed Youmans, vice president of mountain operations, said although the new lift's opening was delayed because of the amount of snowfall this winter, the resort is excited to have it running at least for the rest of the season.

"The new lift provides easier access from advanced and expert trails to Purgatory's newest high-speed quad," Ed Youmans said in a news release.