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Press Release: Aug 2022 Capital Improvement Projects

Durango, CO — (August 23, 2022) — Purgatory is pleased to announce that the 2022/23 ski season is scheduled to begin on November 19th, with snowmaking upgrades and other infrastructure and operations improvements.

Purgatory will expand snowmaking coverage for the 2022/23 ski season to include lower Paradise to the midway loading of Needles Triple (Lift 6), allowing the resort to open more high-elevation early season terrain if temperatures do not allow for top-to-bottom skiing. The $1.25 million in snowmaking upgrades will improve snow production capacity, quality and reliability through a completely rebuilt water pumping and air compression plant incorporating automated, low-energy solutions and cutting-edge snowmaking equipment.

Snowmaking machine spraying snow

“We are dedicated to Purgatory’s long-term success and our mission to give people the freedom to ski,” said Purgatory General Manager, Dave Rathbun. “The significant investment in snowmaking will allow us to open as soon as possible, with better early season snow conditions, and will help us build a deep base to ensure a long season.”

Purgatory’s long-term growth and capital improvement plans include expanded terrain, lodging, dining, and skier services, as well as continued lift modernization and expansion, snowmaking, parking, and improved resort transportation services. The following capital improvement projects are on track to be completed for the 22/23 ski season:

Snowmaking system modernization

Snowmaking will be more reliable and efficient, consuming less energy, saving staff time, and utilizing every snowmaking temperature window. Upgrades include nine rebuilt primary and booster water pumps; replacing five inefficient, outdated air compressors with a single new energy-efficient Ingersoll Rand NX-5000 compressor; and automated control systems upgrades housed in a new computerized snowmaking control room. Snowmaking operations for the 22/23 season are scheduled to begin mid-October, temperatures permitting. 

Snowmaking gun

“We expect these improvements to increase snow production by 25-percent or more,” noted Josh Hamill, slope maintenance manager for Purgatory Resort. “This not only improves the early season experience, but also shortens the time it takes to cover our snowmaking trails with high quality snow, allowing us to open terrain faster than in the past if Mother Nature takes her time delivering natural snowfall.”

Parking

Purgatory has increased parking capacity to improve traffic flow, accessibility and safety. Purgatory has completed the addition of 50 parking spaces in the Lower Columbine lot for winter 22/23, and pending permit approvals, will add another 125-150 new parking spaces to the Gelande lot prior to this season. To encourage carpooling, the Main Village parking lot will continue to offer free parking on weekends and holidays for vehicles carrying four or more people.

Grooming and Slope Maintenance

Purgatory completed significant hazard tree removal in 2022 to reduce forest fuels and aid in wildfire prevention. Additional beetle kill tree removal will continue next spring, allowing staff to skid trees over snow, reducing soil disturbance and controlling erosion. A Prinoth Leitwolf X winch cat, scheduled for delivery in November, will complete Purgatory’s fleet rotation of snow-grooming machines, improving slope and park maintenance capabilities.

Trench for water pipe

Over the last 3-years, Purgatory has made significant investments to replace its entire fleet of grooming machines. Prinoth Leitwolf is known as the most powerful snow groomer in the world and is the gold standard for ski resorts. The resort now boasts one of the most modern and technologically advanced grooming fleets in the industry.

Food and Beverage

Dante’s Café and Backside Bistro will undergo improvements to the resort dining experience including new design elements coupled with a reimagined culinary experience for both locations.

Rental Equipment

Skiers will enjoy a new high performance rental fleet from Völkl. Demo skis and boards will also be available for the first time through online reservations.

WiFi Connectivity

Modernized WiFi access points in the base area, on the beach, and inside Powderhouse and Dante’s on-mountain lodges will deliver more bandwidth and improved connectivity. The improved system will make it easier for guests to access Purgatory’s online dining experience for a more convenient, contactless ordering process.

Digital Radio System

The switch from analog to digital on-mountain radio systems for ski patrol will provide more coverage and advanced location services throughout the resort, improving guest and patroller safety. Expansion of the digital system to cover the entire resort will be completed through 2024.

Bike Park

This summer, Purgatory installed the final 14 Deason Built Mountain bike carriers for increased uphill capacity and efficiency in transporting riders and their gear to Durango’s only lift-served downhill mountain bike park. Purgatory also completed Shangri-La, the resort’s beginner-friendly 7-mile downhill trail, from the top of the Purgatory Express (Lift 1) to the top of the Twilight Double (Lift 4).

This winter, Purgatory Resort will be open daily from November 19 to April 9, 2023, and on weekends only until April 23 (conditions permitting). Stay tuned as Purgatory continues to unveil plans for winter 2022/23!