Ebbe Roe Yovino-Smith
Why go in winter: This outdoors-loving town throws a great winter party―and there are plenty of snowy adventures in the nearby San Juans.
Beat the midwinter blues: Join the annual Snowdown Winter Celebration, with softball games on skis, a parade, and a scavenger hunt (Jan 27–31; snowdown.org).
Elevation: 6,512 feet
Annual days of sunshine: More than 300
Meet the locals: College students, ranchers, environmentalists, and urban transplants lured by the mountains and the Animas River.
Dress code: Cowboy boots or ski garb
History lesson: The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Company founded Durango in 1880 as a mining town to process gold and silver hauls.
Before you hit the slopes: Stop by Bread bakery for maple-oat scones (970/247-5100).
Best-seller list: Louis L’Amour wrote many of his novels in room 222 of the Strater Hotel (from $109, including breakfast; strater.com).
Wild West happy hour: Stop by Strater’s Diamond Belle Saloon (970/247-4431).
More: What to do in Durango