Durango Things to Do: Durango's Best Ski Mountains for all Experience Levels

In and around Durango, nestled in the Animas River Valley and surrounded by the magnificent San Juan Mountains, you can find plenty of Things to Do in Durango such as skiing, no matter what your skill level may be. SKI Magazine named Durango as one of America's Top Ten Ski Towns.

Hesperus Ski Area
Route 160
P.O. Box 167, Durango, Colorado 81326
(970) 259-3711

This inexpensive area in the San Juan Mountain Range is popular as a ski destination for families. Ideal for quick trips rather than long holidays, the 8,880 foot summit is a breathtaking place with the LaPlata Canyon and mountain as backdrop.

Beginner skiers and children are allotted a separate area with suitable terrain for learning activities. The beginners’ area has a rope tow. Skiers enjoy 75 acres of perfect terrain with a 700-foot vertical drop. The Hesperus Hill features nine alpine runs and you can ski here until 9:30 p.m. The Hesperus Ski Resort is just 12 miles west of Durango – not far from your Durango Bed and Breakfast.

Durango Mountain Resort
Durango, Colorado 81301

This resort also known as Purgatory is just 25 minutes from downtown Durango and offers an unmatched panorama of the San Juan and Needle Mountain Range. The name Purgatory was inspired by the mysterious disappearance in 1776 of some Spanish travelers in the area. The locals referred to them as “lost souls” doomed to Purgatory.

The Durango Mountain Resort features 85 trails, 40 miles of groomed terrain and two terrain parks. Runs are available for skiers of every level. Lift cars take skiers to the 10,882-foot summit with its rich annual quota of more than 260 inches of powder.

The resort has introduced new ski programs for families and children, a center which offers night time lessons, and there is now a 25% increase in their snowmaking capacity. This ski resort is a great addition to your list of Durango Things to Do.

Mesa Verde National Park
Loop Road,Colorado 81330
(970) 529-4461

This park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site 35 miles west of Durango, has miles of back-country and cross-country trails to explore. Plus, the best way to see the amazing Mesa Verde ruins is on cross-country skis. For a short ski experience, there’s the area around the Morefield Campground. For a longer trip you can head to the picturesque six-mile trail formed by Ruin Road's Balcony House Loop.

But do call the park before you make your travel plans as snowfall is light in this region and you need to be there in maximum snow. The park may not be known for adventurous skiing, but the unsurpassed sight of ancient dwellings carved into cliffs covered with powder make it a must-see on your Durango Things to Do list.    

Chapman Hill Municipal Ski Area
Durango, Colorado 81301

This recreation center located on the northern hillside of the Fort Lewis College mesa features a ski slope for beginners and also has terrain for advanced skiers. The base area is off Florida Road north of downtown Durango. The focus is on youth but older people are welcome. Lessons for the young and season passes for everyone are available at affordable rates.

The summit of the hill offers one of the steepest slopes to be found anywhere with its 500- foot vertical drop. The gentle base area is ideal for beginners. No tubing or sledding is permitted on the ski hill, so you can ski in peace before retiring to the comfort of your Durango Inn.