Coming off the heels of installing a new high-speed chairlift last year, Purgatory Resort plans to make more improvements this summer by adding a “surface lift” on the backside of the mountain.
The lift will transport skiers and snowboarders along a flat section near the bottom of Lifts 3, 5 and 8, said Purgatory spokeswoman Kim Oyler.
Surface lifts move skiers and snowboarders on the ground. Examples include a rope tow, T-bar and magic carpet. Purgatory managers haven’t decided what kind of surface lift it will install, Oyler said.
Only a portion of the lift will be built this summer, she said. It will help skiers and snowboarders get from Lower Bull Run to the base of Lift 8. At full build-out, the two-way lift will access all three lifts.
The resort also plans to build a new trail this summer on the backside, improve snowmaking and regrade the Legends Bypass Trail, which will improve access to the bottom of Lift 8 for intermediate skiers, Oyler said. The new trail, which is called Trail 83 until a formal name is picked, is a small segment accessed via Siegele Street near the bottom of Lift 8.
They are just a few of the $10 million in improvements planned this summer on a collective of four ski resorts: Purgatory, Arizona Snowbowl, Sipapu and Pajarito Mountain. In addition to the improvements at Purgatory, Snowbowl will install a six-pack high-speed chairlift, the first of its kind in Arizona.
Durango resident James Coleman purchased Purgatory Resort in February 2015. Since then, he has installed a high-speed quad lift on the backside and changed the name back to Purgatory Resort from Durango Mountain Resort.
“James Coleman is definitely committed to enhancing the overall guest experience at the mountain, and I think this shows his commitment in year two,” Oyler said.