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Snow blesses skiers in Southwest Colorado

Hesperus could start spinning its lift next week
A snowboarder enters the white room while riding at Purgatory Resort on Wednesday after the mountain received 12 inches overnight. (Isaac Dean/Courtesy Purgatory Resort)

Ski areas in Southwest Colorado have been getting pounded with snow to end the year, allowing them to open some new terrain and setting them up for a strong start in 2023.

Purgatory Resort was one of the state’s biggest winners in this week’s storm cycle. The mountain got 12 inches one night and 28 inches in three days. It then received another 5 inches in 48 hours heading into Saturday, allowing the ski area to spin 10 of its 11 lifts and open 98 of its 105 trails.

Purgatory reported a 41-inch base on Saturday, but heavy snow was predicted to continue throughout the day Saturday with snow showers likely all next week as well.

Telluride also reported 5 inches in 48 hours on Saturday and received 18 inches in the last week. With a reported 31-inch base, the ski area had 69 runs on 14 different lifts open on Saturday.

Skiers at Wolf Creek Ski Area also got to ride in a foot of fresh snow Thursday. The mountain then got 5 inches Friday and another inch by Saturday morning, giving it a 55-inch mid-mountain base. Wolf Creek’s terrain is now 100% open.

The snow also helped Hesperus begin operating its tubing hill for the season on Saturday as well as open up its slopes to uphill access.

Lift-served skiing is expected to start next weekend at Hesperus, but mountain officials are unable to confirm at this time. Sitting at 8,888 feet above sea level, Hesperus relies on natural snowfall to operate. While Hesperus received very little snow in December, recent storms have brought much-needed snowfall to the mountain.

Once operating, Hesperus is scheduled to run its lift four days a week until March 12 and close for the season on March 19. The lift will spin from 4 to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Uphill access at Hesperus is only available when lift-served skiing is not operating and requires a valid season pass to be displayed at all times.