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Warm, dry weather forces Purgatory to push back opening day

Above-average temperatures have made snowmaking difficult this fall
Warmer weather this fall has forced Purgatory Resort to push back its opening day to Sunday. (Courtesy of Purgatory Resort)

Recent warm, dry weather has caused Purgatory Resort to reschedule its opening day to Sunday, one day later than originally anticipated.

Early snowmaking efforts were stalled by above-average temperatures this fall. However a drop in temperature that started on Monday has allowed for snow production to ramp up significantly.

“We’re making the best of early-season conditions,” said Dave Rathbun, general manager with Purgatory, in a news release. “This week Mother Nature delivered the right combination of sustained cold temperatures and low humidity for consistent snowmaking. We were able to blow snow for 16 hours last night (Tuesday night) and the forecast is in our favor. We will continue making snow every chance we can through the holiday week.”

Purgatory said the terrain will be suitable for more advanced skiers and riders, and no low-level intermediate or beginner terrain will be available by Sunday.

“We will make every accommodation available to ensure a fun experience on opening day,” Rathbun said. “We’re excited to welcome everyone back to the Beach to celebrate the start of another great season. Our expert team is doing a great job building up a solid base and we’re hopeful for a long, snowy season.”

Those who pre-purchased tickets online for Saturday, Nov. 20, can adjust their dates or receive a credit to be used on a future purchase this season.

On Sunday, the first 100 skiers and snowboarders in line for first chair will receive complimentary pancakes starting at 8 a.m.

Parents with children 12 and younger who sign up their kids for the Power Pass online will be able to ski for free.

This season Purgatory has invested more than $2 million in capital improvements to enhance the visitor experience, including more than doubling snowmaking capacity.

After COVID-19 restrictions last year, Purgatory said it is happy to be bringing back the Adirondack chairs on the Beach and the Inferno Mountain Coaster on opening day. The Snow Coaster Tubing Hill is also scheduled to reopen for the holiday season.

njohnson@durangoherald.com

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