Purgatory Resort expansion plans approved by US Forest Service
“We are quite happy and satisfied. (The Ice Creek Project) is a need that Purgatory identified quite a long time ago and it’s a nice piece that fits between our never ever ground and then taking newbies to the next level… We’re a little lighthearted on our intermediate lowland and this will fill this gap nicely.– Dave Rathbun, General Manager of Purgatory Resort.
Ice Creek’s 45-acre expansion at Purgatory Resort has been officially approved by the US Forest Service, but don’t expect it to materialize for at least two years. The Durango Herald reports that the station’s next priorities will be “Expand parking areas and update existing infrastructure such as the snowmaking system and the resort’s power grid.” Many environmental restoration projects must also be completed by the station before construction begins. According to the Durango Telegraph, they hope to begin construction in the summer of 2023, but station officials are unsure how long construction of the new module will take.
The ski resort plans to add four beginner/intermediate runs that will be serviced by a 34,000-foot fixed-grip triple drag lift in the Ice Creek area. The project is important for the mountain, as Purgatory currently lacks terrain for those between beginner and intermediate experience level. Snowmobile trails will also be added in the area.
Environmental concerns delayed the project, with the San Juan Citizens Alliance expressing concern about effects on the habitat of Colorado River cutthroat trout, Canada lynx, and water quality. In response to these concerns, “The Forest Service has included 15 pages of mitigation and restoration measures that Purgatory Resort must complete as part of various developments, including five that the ski area must complete before it can begin construction on Ice Creek.” Mountain Capital Partners, owner of Purgatory, presented its own objection to the requirements, saying completing many of them by 2025 was unrealistic, and requested a meeting with the US Forest Service. Image credits: Purgatory Resort, Durango Herald