To celebrate winter, Durango Mountain Resort and Backcountry Experience are hosting Winterfest — a festival full of winter fun! Winterfest is your chance to try out ice climbing, dog sledding, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing and more on Sat., Jan. 14 and Sun., Jan. 15 at Durango Mountain Resort. Created by the winter-fun experts at Backcountry Experience, Winterfest is the perfect opportunity for the whole family to participate in these and many other winter sports and activities at low or no cost.
Here’s a snapshot of the activities during Winterfest weekend, January 14 and 15, 2012:
On Saturday, Jan. 14, get whisked along a trail via sled dog and take a ride on a scenic loop with the Durango Dog Ranch. An adventure for all ages, you’ll love these guided sled rides as pups pull you along the winter wonderland. Special pricing. Call 970-259-0694 for more information.
Strap on some ice climbing boots for a change of pace and do some climbing on large ice formation tucked into Cascade Canyon with Kling Mountain Guides. Cascade Canyon is a 100 percent natural ice park due to the area’s warmer days and arctic nights. Trained and certified guides will provide you with an understanding of how to use the tools, positioning your body for balance and control and other ice climbing techniques. This all natural ice park is perfect for beginners to experts and costs only $25 to participate, equipment included. Demos are Saturday and Sunday, 9-11am; 11am-1pm; and 1pm-3pm.
From 2 to 7pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 13-15, head over to the Snow Coaster Tubing Hill in the Columbine area at Durango Mountain Resort for three lanes of high-speed, on-the-snow, tubular fun for the whole family. Rent a tube from Purgatory’s fleet, which is only $5 per tube, per hour. Please note that personal tubes are not allowed. Tickets may be purchased at the Ticket Office in Purgatory Village Plaza or at the Columbine Ticket Office.
Horse-drawn Sleigh Ride
View the beautiful San Juan National Forest and Needles Mountains Range via horse-drawn sleigh from Buck’s Livery! Bundle up in a blanket with your loved ones while horses take you on a picturesque tour amongst spruce and aspen trees. Sleighs depart the base area in the afternoons on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and each sleigh can hold up to six people. For reservations and more information, call 970-385-2110, or stop by the Adventure Center in Purgatory Village Plaza.
Snowshoeing and Nordic Skiing
The Nordic Center at Durango Mountain Resort features 18 km of scenic forest trails, groomed for classic cross-country and skate skiing or snowshoeing. Enjoy the rustic atmosphere of the warming hut, complete with pot-bellied stove. Pack a picnic to enjoy on one of the tables along the trail with incredible scenic views. Located across Hwy. 550, just north of the resort entrance, the Nordic Center is offering on-site free snowshoe or classic Nordic ski demos with purchase of regular Nordic Ski Trail fees of $14/day for adults and $6 for kids and seniors and snowshoe trails fees of $6 adults and $4 for kids. Registration and payment should be made at the Nordic Center. 970-385-2114
Explore the San Juan Mountains at Durango Mountain Resort during the Evening Snowshoe Tour on Jan. 14. This unique evening tour includes snowshoe rentals, guides, chairlift ride to the top of the mountain, beverages, wine, crackers, cheese, fruit and dessert at the Powderhouse Restaurant. Learn about the area’s geology, flora and fauna. Guests meet at 3:30 pm at the Guest Service desk inside the Ticket Office in the Purgatory Village Plaza. Reservations are required and space is limited. Call Guest Services at 970-385-2147 to book your snowshoe adventure. Cost is $55.
Join the Purgatory Ski School for the Tele Daze Clinic on Sat., Jan. 14 at 9:30am. Telemark skiing combines the best of cross-country and downhill skiing. Come out and enjoy the grace of Tele skiing while learning progressive techniques from Purgatory’s experienced instructors. For skiers of all levels, $75. Call 970-385-2149 for reservations.
Torchlight Parade & Fireworks
Celebrate the weekend with the Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Display at Durango Mountain Resort! Watch the parade wind down the mountain as spectacular fireworks are displayed overhead at 6:30pm on Sat., Jan. 14. The best location to see the action is from the Purgatory Ski Beach in the base area.
Entertainment & Dining
Creekside Italian Kitchen at Durango Mountain Resort is having a “Little Chef Family Pizza Party” on Sat., Jan. 14 from 2:30pm to 4:40pm where children ages 3-12 years old can put on their chef’s hat and create a family pizza masterpiece that they whole family can enjoy that evening for dinner. Personal-sized and full-sized pizzas are available to make in the afternoon, then the family can come back to Creekside to enjoy the creation for dinner after 5pm.
Purgy’s offers great entertainment, food and libations as your meal-time and après ski headquarters. Join the co-founder of Steamworks Brewing Company from 2-4 pm on Sat., Jan. 14 for après beer specials on tap, including Colorado Kosch, Third Eye Pale Ale and Backside Stout (named for Purgatory’s backside of the mountain). Enter for your chance to win a new Osprey Karve Ski/Ride Packs. From 2-5pm, listen to the Kirk James Blues Band in Purgy’s. Solidly grounded in the Texas Blues tradition, playing Ragtime, Texas Shuffles and funky grooves, Kirk James plays original material, as well as classics from the Blues Masters.
Childcare for Kids Who Love Playing in Purgatory’s Backyard!
Durango Mountain has a great kids’ program designed for parents who want to get out and experience the slopes but want to ensure the kiddos are safe and having fun as well. The Snow Monsters Den is a quality, licensed childcare facility for those too young to hit the slopes. Kids ages 2 months to 4 years old will have a blast in this fun, interactive environment while being under the care of experienced childcare staff. The Snow Monsters Den hours of operation are from 9 am to 4 pm. Reservations are required. 970-385-2144. Prices range from $25/ hourly to $85/all day.
Parents who want to enjoy a night out can do so while the kids enjoy playing with other kids in a quality, licensed child care facility at Durango Mountain Resort. Kids’ Night Out at the Snow Monster’s Den is open from 5:30-9pm on Sat., Jan. 14. Children between the ages of 2 months to ten years are separated into age appropriate groups for fun play time. $30 includes dinner and dessert. Kids will enjoy arts, crafts, movies & snacks. Reservations required 970-385-2144.
Enjoy a morning Vinyasa Flow Yoga class on Sun., Jan. 15 from 9:30-10:30am at the Durango Mountain Institute. Energize and restore your body with a dynamic sequence founded off Hatha principals of alignment. Pranayama breathing techniques are utilized to leave you feeling with a sense of well-being and prepare you for your winter activities. Led by Rachael Carlevale. Visit www.yogagrown.com for details.
Town Downhill Race
Purgatory’s longest on-going race, the Town Downhill Race, is Sun., Jan. 15. This is your chance to open it up on a closed course on Upper Hades. Registration is 8-9am and the race starts at 10am after competitors have taken at least one warm-up run on the course. Training day for the race is Sat., Jan. 14. Call 970-385-2149 for details or visit https://sites.google.com/site/mattnimetz/town-down-hill.
Winterfest offers a chance to get outside and experience all that winter has to offer! All ages and abilities are invited to come play during Winterfest. Stop by Backcountry Experience (BCEXP) in the Purgatory Village Plaza to learn more about the Winterfest activities, or call BCEXP at (970) 385-2261.