Skip to Main Content

Resort policies

Our resort policies are in place to help us provide a safe and friendly environment for our guests. Your safety on the mountain is our highest priority at Purgatory Resort. Because there are some inherent risks to snowsports, we encourage you to learn about about the risks, and to adhere to responsible skier/rider conduct.

Purgatory Mountain Patrol, National Ski Patrol Hosts (in orange jackets) and Mountain Management enforce skier safety at Purgatory Mountain every day of the season. They can also answer any questions about mountain safety policies.

Purgatory Resort’s mountain safety program includes safety education, awareness and enforcement. The program is built on “Your Responsibility Code”, the Ten Foot Rule, and the Colorado Ski Safety Act.

Mountain Policies

Passholder rules

Current passholder rules can be found here.

If you have any questions about the passholder rules, please call (970) 385-2168.

Skier/Rider Responsibility Code

Know The Code

The National Ski Areas Association established “Your Responsibility Code” in 1966 as a code of ethics for all skiers on the mountain. The code reflects not only skier safety, but snowboarder and lift safety as well. Ultimately, safe skiing and snowboarding is each guest’s responsibility.

  1. Always stay in control. You must be able to stop or avoid people or objects.
  2. People ahead or downhill of you have the right-of-way. You must avoid them.
  3. Stop only where you are visible from above and do not restrict traffic.
  4. Look uphill and avoid others before starting downhill or entering a trail.
  5. You must prevent runaway equipment.
  6. Read and obey all signs, warnings, and hazard markings.
  7. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
  8. You must know how and be able to load, ride and unload lifts safely. If you need assistance, ask the lift attendant.
  9. Do not use lifts or terrain when impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  10. If you are involved in a collision or incident, share your contact information with each other and a ski area employee.

The Ten-Foot Rule

In order to minimize on-mountain accidents and enhance safety for our guests, Purgatory skiers/riders must stay outside a 10-foot radius of any and all other skiers/riders while in their path of decent.

By staying at least 10 feet away from other skiers/riders, the chances of a collision are reduced dramatically. The Ten Foot Rule also promotes respect and courtesy toward people of all ages and abilities on the mountain.

Purgatory Mountain Patrol, Mountain Safety (Yellow Jackets) and Mountain Management enforce the Ten Foot Rule in high traffic areas so that everyone has a safe experience at Purgatory Resort.

Colorado Ski Safety Act

Recognizing risks that are inherent in the sport, The Colorado legislature passed the Colorado Ski Safety Act, which describes inherent risks of the sport and relative responsibilities of the skier and the ski area.


Under Colorado law, a skier assumes the risk of any injury to person or property resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing and may not recover from any ski area operator for any injury resulting from any of the inherent dangers and risks of skiing, including: changing weather conditions; existing and changing snow conditions; bare spots; rocks; stumps; trees; collisions with natural objects, man-made objects, or other skiers; variations in terrain; and the failure of skiers to ski within their own abilities.

The Ski Safety Act includes cliffs, extreme terrain, jumps and freestyle terrain as inherent dangers and risks of the sport.

View the entire Colorado Ski Safety Act

Uphill access

Four types of trail access are regularly requested at Purgatory Resort. The following details the four types of access and the ski area’s policies addressing each. With the exception of these four types of trail access, all other types of resort access are prohibited:

  1. Pre-season access to private and public land both inside and outside the ski area boundary (Nordic and alpine skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, snowmobilers, and dog sledders).

    Ski Area Policy: Due to snowmaking, grooming, pre-season maintenance activities, and associated vehicle and equipment traffic, public safety issues will exist during this pre-season period. Therefore, to protect the public from potential injury, prior to the opening day of the ski season, Purgatory Resort will post signs at access points on the mountain trail system closing trails to all public access. This may include areas immediately adjacent to the roads. At no time is the general public allowed to access skiable terrain through interior gates, interior roads, or USFS Roads.

  2. Early season access to public land outside of the ski area boundary (Nordic, alpine, snowboard skiers, snowshoers, snowmobilers, and dog sledders).

    Ski Area Policy: Persons desiring to access lands outside the permit boundary must utilize the USFS Road #578 located at the east end of the upper parking lot.

  3. Trails that have not opened for the season are closed to downhill skiing and may not be used to gain access to lands outside the ski area boundary.

    Ski Area Policy: There is no access through private lands at any time during the operating season. However, access to public lands outside the ski area boundary is permitted via USFS Road #578 to the snowmobile bypass.

  4. Trails that have closed at the end of the ski season.

    Ski Area Policy: Front side trails that have closed at the end of the ski season are closed to all public access and shall not be used for downhill or uphill skiing, snowmobiling, or any other use unless express written permission has been granted by the General Manager. The resort will be conducting end of season operations such as snow removal, lift maintenance, and drainage control on the following roads – Elbert Creek USFS Road #581 from the Junction of USFS Road #578 to the southern boundary of the ski resort, as well as access roads into Dante’s Lodge, the tops of lifts 1,2,3,4,5,6,8, and the Mid Mountain Maintenance Shop. All other roads will be allowed to melt out on their own. Back side trails will remain open to the public and must be accessed from USFS Road #578. No access is allowed from private property through the base area.

Terrain parks

The terrain parks at Purgatory Resort are a great place to take your skiing and snowboarding to the next level, but we always want to make sure our park riders are safe.

It is important to be mindful of your ability level and not take on anything too challenging. Our parks are designed for skiers and riders to progressively learn how to handle different features.

Learn more about park safety from the National Ski Areas Association.

Some resorts designate features as small, medium and large. Be aware these ratings are determined by size, not degree of difficulty, and are relative only to that resort. Freestyle Terrain use, like all skiing and riding, exposes the user to the risk of serious injury. Prior to using freestyle terrain, it is the user’s responsibility to become familiar with all instructions and posted warnings and to follow Your Responsibility Code and PARK SMART.

Service dogs

Service Dog Policy

The law* defines a Service Animal as any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

NOT service animals are those animals whose sole purpose is to provide emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship or to serve a crime deterrent.

Individuals with disabilities are permitted to be accompanied by their service dog in all public areas of the Resort. However, in the interest of safety, service animals will not be allowed on chair lifts or in ski terrain, including tubing hills, or on any ride or attraction that is not equipped or designed for accessibility to service animals. If you require a service animal that is restricted from an area or activity, the Resort will make reasonable accommodations as long as requirements for safe operations are met. Guests will be asked to provide the Resort with a minimum of 72 hours advance notice regarding accommodations needed for service animals.

The Resort will not discriminate against individuals with disabilities who use service animals if the task or work performed by the service animal are directly related to the individual’s disability.  All service dogs must meet current ADA guidelines to include, but not be limited to: remaining under the direct control of the user at all times; be house broken; and be trained and utilized for a specific disability approved by ADA regulations. A service animal shall have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler’s control (e.g., voice control, signals, or other effective means).

Where it is not obvious that a dog is a service dog, Authorized personnel may inquire as to the following: 1) if the animal is required because of a disability and (2) what work or task the animal has been trained to perform.

Authorized personnel will request that a service dog be removed from the premises if: (1) The animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take immediate effective action to control it; or (2) The animal is not housebroken. If the service animal is removed, the Resort will make all reasonable efforts to accommodate the individual with a disability despite the absence of the service dog.

Adaptive Sports offers a specialized adaptive skiing/snowboarding program. Professionally trained instructors work with a range of disabilities. Due to the specialty of this program, a reservation is strictly required at least two weeks prior to your visit. For more information please call (970)259-0374 or email [email protected]

It is the Resort’s objective, for everyone to have a safe and enjoyable time while visiting the ski area.

* 28 C.F.R. Part 35.136 which also applies under 42 U.S.C. section794


Drone Policy

Due to safety and privacy concerns, Purgatory Resort prohibits the operation or use on or above Resort property of unmanned aerial systems, or drones, by the general public—including model aircraft by recreational users and hobbyists—without prior written authorization from Purgatory Resort.

This prohibition includes drones used for filming or videotaping, as well as any drone use by media or journalists operating above or within the boundaries. This prohibition extends to any devices launched or operated from Resort property, as well as any launched from public or private property outside of the Resort boundaries.

Kids in backpacks


To ensure safety, children riding lifts at Purgatory Resort must be able to load, ride, and unload the lift without being carried. Children in backpacks are not allowed on any lifts or ski trails at Purgatory Resort.

Tips from Ski Patrol

  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids. Your body’s tendency to dehydrate is greater at higher altitudes.
  • Ultra-Violet rays are more severe at higher elevations.  Protect your skin from the effects of the sun and keep in mind that the snow reflects the sun’s rays.  Wear sunscreen rated at least 30 SPF or higher.
  • Wear eye protection such as sunglasses or goggles. These should filter both UVA and UVB rays and be rated at 90%.  Eyes can sunburn just like your skin.
  • Packed snow can be abrasive. We highly recommend wearing garments that cover your hands, arms and legs completely.
  • Be prepared for quickly changing weather conditions. Dress in layers with your outer layer of clothing being of a water repellent fabric.
  • Wear or carry a ski hat with you. Sixty percent of all body heat is lost out of the top of your head.
  • On especially cold days, be aware of the potential for frost-bite. Drink warm fluids and take breaks often.

Contact Us

If you have questions about these policies or the practices of this site, please contact:
Purgatory Resort Attn: Website Manager

2615 Main Avenue Durango, CO 81301
(970) 385-8901
[email protected]

The Site reserves the right to change these policies at any time. All changes will be posted to this page, and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to notify you of any significant changes to these policies. However, it is your responsibility to check this site for any such updates as you will be bound by them should you choose to visit our site(s).

Power Pass Resorts