The Hesperus Ski Area is open again, thanks to over a foot of fresh snow and lower temperatures.
On Thursday and Friday, the lift will start turning again for night skiing, then throughout the weekends. Conditions are packed powder on a 16-inch base.
“Hesperus is back open, and we couldn’t be happier,” said Tiona Eversole, Purgatory marketing manager. “Our mountain operations continue to groom out the runs.”
The area previously opened Jan. 28, but closed a week later because of warm weather and lack of snow.
The ski area has enacted pandemic precautions, and its operating plan has been approved by the San Juan Basin Public Health Department and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Under the regulations, guests ages 11 and up must wear a mask except when actively engaged in skiing, eating or drinking. Guests must maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other households.
The lodge will be closed, and lift tickets, food and drinks will be sold through a window. Guests can submit their phone number to activate COVID-19 exposure notifications.
Ski and boarding lessons are available for all levels, and there is a rental shop. The SnoKatz Kids lesson program will not be offered this year, and the terrain park is closed.
The new hours are Thursday and Friday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. (night skiing only); Saturdays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. for skiing and tubing; Sundays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for skiing and tubing.
Hesperus is a local favorite and offers a range of runs, from steep headwalls to more mellow grades. It is the largest night-skiing operation in the Four Corners.
“Our sunsets are spectacular and are best experienced at the top of the chairlift,” Eversole said. “Night skiing is perfect for guests looking to get a couple of laps at the end of the day while skiing under the stars.”
The multilane tubing area on Marmot Hill has excellent pitch and run-out.
“Tubing is a huge draw to Hesperus, and we have a lot of families that come out specifically for tubing,” Eversole said.
The resort also offers an uphill access pass that allows skiers and boarders to climb up the hill, then ski or ride down during closed hours.
The pass is available at Purgatory Sports in Durango. Uphill skiing is not allowed during normal operating hours. Parking is on the east end of the lot near the rental shop. Do not park on the highway.
Uphillers must stay clear of grooming and operations. Dogs are welcome for uphillers as long as their owners clean up after them.
Hesperus tops out at 8,888 feet elevation and offers 700 feet of vertical descent. It is on U.S. Highway 160, 11 miles west of Durango and 15 miles east of Mancos.
Children 10 years and under and people 75 and over ski free at Hesperus. Active military personnel also ski free. An active military ID card is required.
The trails feature 30% beginner, 20% intermediate and 50% advanced terrain. The tubing hill is popular with families with small children.
The all-volunteer Hesperus Ski Patrol is trained in EMS services and promotes safe skiing practices.
The Hesperus Ski Area is managed by Mountain Capital Partners, which also manages Purgatory Resort and a collection of ski resorts and mountain bike parks in Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Texas.
Hesperus is looking for vintage ski photos of the mountain to enlarge and display in the lodge.
For more information and ticket prices, visit www.ski-hesperus.com or call 385-2199.