Snowplay in Durango, Colorado

Enjoy sunshine and skiing in Colorado's San Juans

steam-powered train
Photo: Ebbe Roe Yovino-Smith


Sun-soaked slopes

Locals know that Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort (a half-hour from town) has some of the best weather of any ski area in the country―with sun breaking out after snow-dumping storms.

This season the resort adds 125 acres of expert tree-skiing terrain to its existing 85 runs. Lift tickets from $65;

A snowy throwback ride

Hop aboard a 129-year-old steam-powered train, and check out the snowy San Juan National Forest at 18 mph.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad used to haul precious metals from Colorado’s mines, but now it’s just for fun (and occasional film cameos: It appeared in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, among others).

The 52-mile loop to Cascade Canyon shows off frozen waterfalls, snow-draped evergreens, and the white-capped San Juans, and includes a stop for a campfire lunch. $49;

Drink local The Durango Brewing Company crafted its first ale in 1886, and the Amber Ale is still a local favorite. For fun under $5? Four-ounce beer samples are $1, and a pint is $4.

If you work up an appetite, the tasting room serves burgers made with locally raised organic beef. $; 3000 Main Ave.; 970/247-3396.

Stargaze while you soak

The warmest place to spot stars in Durango’s often cloudless skies is from the two natural hot-spring mineral pools at Trimble Spa & Natural Hot Springs, 7 miles north of town.

While soaking in the 100° water, keep an eye out for owls perching in the poolside pines. $13, $8.50 ages 5–12 and 65 and above; 6475 County Rd. 203;

More: Winter essentials in Durango


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