In 1979, a local collaboration was born in Southwest Colorado to beat the downfall of a long, harsh winter. As the written history recalls it, “a great lamentation was heard throughout the land, because the days were short and fruitless.”
The idea was a festival, a five-day shenanigans to energize the locals, attract tourists and boost the economy.
44 years later, Snowdown continues in Durango.
The agenda for the first week of February includes a parade of lights, a beard contest, outhouse stuffing, joke-offs, a chicken wing eating contest, and a beer plunge.
44 years later, Durango is all about cake icing. Today people here don’t need another reason to enjoy winter.
Sure, let’s grow a beard, pack in an outhouse, eat feathers, and dive into beer. But beyond these festivals, the possibilities are endless around town throughout the season.
Never mind the ominous name that straps to your skis. It is rooted in legend. Spanish explorers along the Las Animas River believed that the water took fellow souls to uncertain places.At Purgatory Resort, it’s all about good vibes.
The ski area isn’t as talked about as other places in the area, Telluride. But Purgatory aims to compete on its pricing. And mountains are not pushovers. Boasting 1,635 skiable acres, the trails are fairly split between beginner (20%), intermediate (45%) and advanced (35%) types.
Purgatory is easily the biggest, but it’s not the only ski destination. It’s also home to the Hesperus Ski Area, which is frequented by locals for its slopeside lights at night. Then there’s also town-run Chapman Hill, another cheap bet for beginners.
You don’t have to be a skier to enjoy the outdoors in the off-piste Durango.
Purgatory and Hesperus have tubing hills. In the former, another thrill is the Inferno Mountain Coaster. Or maybe you want an adrenaline rush on a snowmobile. Several companies are ready to take you out.
Dog sledding is an unusual way to traverse the snowfields. That’s where Durango Dog his lunch comes in. For a traditional holiday excursion with children or a romantic rendezvous with a loved one, Rapp Corral offers horse sledding.
The more famous hot springs are east of Pagosa Springs. However, the Durango Hot Springs Resort + Spa has made improvements in recent years and definitely has its place on the soaking map. Reservations are required to enjoy the 16 heated pools with views.
Aboard the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, it offers passengers views of the San Juan Mountains like no other. Winter riding explores another realm, perhaps even more magical.
It’s a 5 hour trip to Cascade Canyon. The 52-mile journey takes you on a dreamy tour between snow-capped rocks and forests to reach your destination for an unforgettable lunch. You will have 1 hour to take pictures and walk along the river.
It’s not the only option. The Polar Express experience is complete with lights, hot his chocolates, elves, and Santa himself. Advance reservations are recommended.