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Richard Ballantine General Manager

Sharon Hermes

Marketing Manager

Dennis Hanson

Advertising sales manager

Dominick McCullough Design Manager

Brady Sutherlin Section Editor

Karla Sluis

Layout and Design

Mitchell Carter

Advertising Design/Prepress

Mitchell Carter, Brady Choate, Jennifer Dickens, Laney Peterson, Michelle Uhl, Tracy Willbanks Account Executives

Darryl Hunt, Karolann Latimer, Shawna Long, Larissa Lopez, Debby Morgan, Susan Wright A publication of:

The Durango Herald uses reasonable effort to include accurate and up-to-date information for its special magazine publications. However, all general information comes from a variety of sources and may change at any time for any reason. To verify specific information, refer to the organization or business noted. To view the online version of this guide, visit: Cover Photo: Rapp Corral Sleigh Ride. Photo by: Nick Manning Fold-out Map Design: Brady Sutherlin Table of Contents Photo: Ullr, Norse God of Snow. Photo by: Barb McCall. Sculpture by: Richard Jagoda October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 3

Majestic peaks & burping vampires

Winter means different things to different people. Some fully embrace the cold, pulling on layers and stomping about in the snow with gusto. These are the people who are up at 6 a.m., handing you coffee and urging you to get going. Others turn inward, searching for warmth, hearty food and cozy activities. Like bears, these folks enjoy the hibernation aspect of the season. A memorable winter combines both indoor and outdoor activities, and in Southwest Colorado, you’ll find an abundance of both. It’s hard to be depressed during the winters here – there’s too much to do. Energizing activities abound with a backdrop of bright blue sky, fresh air and, of course, snow. You can slide over it, stomp around in it, shuffle through it, glide gracefully over it, or throw it at your family members. Try a winter sleigh ride, tucked under a blanket and listening to the jingle of bells as you ride around a frozen lake. Or experience something really different and try your hand at mushing on a dog-sled adventure. Athletic types will only be frustrated by the many choices: Alpine or Nordic? Snowboarding or skiing? Classic or skate-ski? On cold winter nights after a busy day, it’s time for entertainment. In Durango, you can be inspired by a classic ballet performance at a top-notch concert hall, or dress up like a vampire and attend the Burp-Off Contest during the town’s wacky Snowdown festival. Low-brow or high-brow: You choose. The burping vampire incident may pique your curiosity about the strange inhabitants of Southwest Colorado. Let your curiosity guide you to a variety of museums and cultural centers, including the newly opened Discovery Museum at the Powerhouse. The sliding, gliding, learning and burping may leave you a bit tired. If you’re a local or a visitor, why not pamper yourself? The Durango area has many day spas with intriguing treatments, such as acupuncture with electrical stimulation or a “fourhanded” massage. As your worries get zapped and poked away by a strange four-handed person, you’ll know the winter of 2010-11 in Southwest Colorado is one you’ll never forget. – Karla Sluis

Photo courtesy of Marie Archuleta

4 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

“Nutcracker” by State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara will return with its touring production of the traditional show for four performances December 10-12. Photo courtesy of the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College

Durango’s Community Concert Hall: Small town, big entertainment Durango may be a small town, but it offers big-city sophistication. The Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College is an excellent example of this “wow” factor. The building is perched on the north edge of the “campus in the sky.” Driving up to the college and taking the loop along Rim Drive will reveal sweeping views of Durango, along with snowy mountain peaks to the north. Upon arrival at the Community Concert Hall, visitors may see echoes of Mesa Verde in the building’s architecture, which was inspired by Ancestral Puebloan structures. Inside, ancient meets modern in state-of-theart technology. Versatile features include: large, open surfaces between columns on either side of the hall where the variable sound absorption system is installed, a wood band shell for classical music concerts, an elaborately rigged speaker system that enables sound to be propelled to specific areas of the hall, an Intelligent Light system that mechanically adjusts or moves the lights during a performance, and a Midas soundboard – a system that is considered one of the world’s best.

December is the best month to see a show at the venue. Here are three highlights:

December 10 - 12 “Nutcracker” by State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara

California’s acclaimed professional ballet company, State Street Ballet, will return with its touring production of the traditional “Nutcracker” for four performances. Local children are often cast as extras in this popular performance. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Gustafson has built a company respected for its choreography, dancing and fiscally responsible management, proving against all odds and naysayers, that ballet is alive and kicking in Southern California.”

December 16 Bar D Wranglers Christmas Jubilee 2010

Durango’s much-beloved cowboy crooners come off the Bar D and return to the Community Concert Hall stage for their traditional cowboy

6 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

Christmas show. Founded by Cy Scarborough in 1969, the Bar-D Wranglers offer their own unique style of Western music, cowboy poetry and humor. The Christmas Jubilee is a warmhearted and fun-filled show that inspires the entire family to remember the true meaning of the holidays.

December 17 David Broza

Israeli superstar David Broza is considered one of the most dynamic and vibrant performers in the singer/songwriter world. His charismatic and energetic performances fuse the three countries of his heritage – Israel, Spain and England – in troubadour style tradition. With lyrics reminiscent of the world’s greatest poets, Broza’s songs showcase his skill on the guitar, ranging from flamenco flavored rhythmic and whirlwind finger-picking to a signature rock and roll sound.

more information on next page...


The downtown ticketing office (707½ Main Avenue, behind Magpie’s Newsstand Café and across from the Strater Hotel) is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. (closed 1-2 p.m. for lunch). The box office in the Concert Hall is only open on the day of a performance, beginning two hours before curtain. The box office will typically close at the end of the first intermission. Tickets may also be purchased by calling (970) 247-7657 or visiting


From Main Avenue or Camino del Rio, head east on College Drive. At the intersection of East Eighth Street & College Drive, continue straight ahead. Continue up hill on curving road. Follow signs to Hillcrest Golf Course. Take the first left, 1.1 miles (west). Take the next left. Take the first right and you will see the Concert Hall.

A Variety of Massages, Facials, Body Scrubs/Wraps in our Wet Room, Foot Detox, Waxing, Manicures/Pedicures (Massaging Pedicure Recliners), Gel and Acrylic Nails (odorless), Natural Nails Shellac (holds up like Gel & Acrylic), Mineral Make-up, Eyelash Extensions, Bridal Package Specials. Complimentary Dry & Steam Sauna • SkinCeuticals Products • Reserve the Entire Spa for Your Exclusive Event. Monday-Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm After Hours and Sunday by Appointment

Durango’s cowboy crooners, the Bar D Wranglers, will perform in December. Photo courtesy of the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College

October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 7

Children listen to a story aboard the Polar Express. Steve Lewis/Herald

NOVEMBER November 7 Daylight Saving Time ends

personal chef, and guests sing Christmas carols on the return to Durango. All kids aboard the train receive a special gift from Santa. Visit for more information.

November 25 Cascade Canyon Winter Train

Say goodbye to the long days of summer and prepare for long winter nights.

November 5 12th Annual Wine Tasting and Silent Auction

Wine tasting & auction hosted by Liquor World and Habitat for Humanity of La Plata County at the DoubleTree Hotel Ballroom. 5:30-8:30 p.m.

The train begins its winter schedule, turning around at Cascade Canyon. For more information visit

November 26 - December 24 Hollidazzle

November 11 Veterans Parade

Holidazzle festivities kick off on November 26. More than 75 businesses in the Central Business District are offering gift drawings, with sign-ups being taken throughout the five-week promotional period that begins Nov. 15. Call Pam at (970) 375-5067 for more information.

November 20 - December 28 The Polar Express

November 26 Sing with Santa & Tree Lighting

Show your support for our veterans and troops and watch the parade on Main Ave. Call (970) 375-5065 for more information.

The award-winning book comes to life on this magical journey. All passengers will enjoy the Polar Express story on the way to the North Pole. Hot chocolate and a treat are served by a

Celebrate the coming of Christmas by meeting at the train station, then carol your way to Buckley Park to decorate the community tree. For more information, visit

8 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

DECEMBER December 5 Durango Choral Society’s “A Traditional Family Christmas”

A traditional family Christmas, the annual holiday extravaganza features all three DCS choirs participating in a special celebration of our Southwestern heritage. Show starts at 3 p.m. at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College. Visit or call (970) 247-7657 for more information.

December 3 Noel Night

Fulfill holiday wish lists in Durango’s unique shops while you enjoy refreshments, carolers and a visit from Santa. Call (970) 375-5000.

December 3 Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair

Find unique handmade gifts at this kick-off to the holidays. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the La Plata County Fairgrounds at 25th Street and Main Avenue. Call (970) 247-2117 for more information.

December 21 Winter Solstice

Observe and celebrate the shortest day of the year.

December 24 Bar D Wranglers 29th Annual Christmas Eve Caroling

The Wranglers invite you to join them at local restaurants and at the hospital. Call (970) 247-5753 for more information.

December 31 New Year’s Eve Torchlight Parade

Celebrate the New Year with a torchlight parade down Purgatory Mountain, followed by fireworks in the base area. Event is subject to change. For details, visit or call (970) 247-9000.

December 31 New Year’s Eve Special Train

Enjoy a festive evening excursion onboard a turn-of-the-century Presidential-class train. Entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, and a cash bar. Visit or call (970) 247-2733 or toll free at (877) 872-4607 for details and reservations.

FEBRUARY February 2 - 6 Durango’s 33rd Annual Snowdown Celebration

“Snowdown bites! It’s monstrous” is the theme for this year’s celebration. Snowdown is an annual celebration here in Durango. There is no shortage of fun during this week-long winter party. Festivities include parades with unique hand-made floats, the Snowdown Follies, and all the food and local beer you could ask for. The biggest question is which events to attend, as it is merely impossible to get to them all! For a complete schedule of events visit

February 18 Chocolate Fantasia

All the chocolate your heart desires. Sponsored by Rocky Mountain Chocolate, Fort Lewis College and local restaurants and caterers. Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. Call (970) 259-1021 for more information

MARCH March 2 - 6 The Durango Independent Film Festival

Bringing the Best in Independent Film to the Durango Community. Visit for showtimes and locations.

March 13 Daylight Saving Time Begins

Celebrate longer days and shorter nights when the clocks “spring” forward.

Trifles are arranged at Chocolate Fantasia. Nick Manning/Herald

October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 9

durango ARTS CENTER At the Durango Arts Center you can enjoy the visual arts,

theater, dance, live music, education programs for children and adults and many other activities for all ages. Located in downtown Durango, the DAC has become the hub for cultural innovation in Southwest Colorado. The building housing DAC, at the corner of E. 2nd Ave. and 8th St. was once home to a car dealership. In 1997, the community collaborated to fund and renovate the 17,000-square-foot building, now home to a gallery, theater, arts library, studio space and more. Here’s a sample of the events at the DAC this winter. • Concert by Tom Klema, Oct. 20, 7 p.m. • Mixed media works. • Who’s New? An Exhibit by Emerging Artists, Nov. 4-12 • Holiday Art Olé, Nov. 19-Dec. 24. For more listings and details, call (970) 259-2606 or visit

THEATERS Abbey Theatre

128 E. College Drive (970) 385-1711 Featuring local and independent filmmakers as well as international films and concerts. Concessions and full bar on site. Call for show times or visit

Gaslight Cinema

102 East Fifth St. (970) 247-8133 The Gaslight Theatre, featuring foreign, independent and commercial films, is located in the heart of Durango.

Storyteller Durango Stadium 9

900 Translux Drive (970) 247-9799 The High 5 Cinema is located in the Durango Mall parking lot with plenty of free parking. The theater features seven screens, stadium seating and Digital Surround Sound. Visit

ART GALLERIES The Earthen Vessel

115 W. 9th St., Durango, (970) 247-1281 Southern Ute Reservation exhibits, handcrafted pottery, jewelry and metal art.

Ellis Contemporary Art Gallery 822 Main Ave., Durango, (970) 382-9855 Local and national artists with contemporary fine art, glass and jewelry.

Image Counts Fine Art Photography 2053 N. Main Ave., Durango, (970) 382-0055 Fine art, nature photography and quality custom framing.

Open Shutter Photography Gallery An artist stands by her creations. Herald photo

735 Main Avenue, Durango, (970) 382-8355 Fine art photography. Their services also include photography classes and local tours.

Rain Dance Gallery

945 Main Ave., Durango, (970) 375-2708 Contemporary representational paintings, sculpture, glass and furniture art by Western and American Indian artists.

Sorrel Sky Gallery

870 Main Ave., Durango, (970) 247-3555 Specializing in the art of Western lives, featuring work by acclaimed western artists.

Toh-Atin Gallery

145 W. 9th St., Durango, (970) 247-8277 Native American and Southwest art with a nationwide reputation as one of the finest galleries of its kind in the country.

Termar Trends

780 Main Ave., Durango, (970) 247-3728 A unique selection of art, crafts, furniture, jewelry and home accessories.

The World According to Mark 131 E. Eighth St. Durango, (970) 259-2392 Handcrafted jewelry, pottery paintings.

Azul Gallery

781 Main Ave., Durango, (970) 375-7742 Jewelry, ceramics, art class, metal art.

Karyn Gabaldon Fine Arts

680 Main Ave. Durango, (970) 247-9018 Contemporary fine art, sculpture, jewelry, glass and pottery.

October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 11

A mushing event takes place in Mancos. Photo courtesy of Durango Dog Ranch

In some regions of the U.S., the cold season is dark, bitter and downright gloomy. Not here. Southwest Colorado’s mild winters are filled with blue skies, brilliant sunshine and “brisk” temperatures. In Durango, snow is something to celebrate. Local bars and ski areas hold “pray to the snow gods” parties to kick off a season of snow sports. When the first white flakes fall, you’ll see little-kid grins on grown-up faces as you walk around town. There’s a sense of eagerness to grab skis and sleds and head for the nearest hill. Snow brings an economic boost to many parts of the community, but it’s also welcomed for the sheer fun it brings. There are plenty of snow sports to satisfy athletes and adventurous spirits, including skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice fishing and ice climbing. But for families with little ones or people who like to chill out when it’s chilly, there are lower-impact activities, too, and some of the best family-bonding activities are free. Simple snowball fights and snowman-making would fill a delightful afternoon for children. Here’s a list of more ideas for fun in our winter wonderland.

Sleigh rides In December through February, subject to weather conditions, Rapp Corral offers custom horse-drawn sleigh rides between Durango and Purgatory. Enjoy 45 minutes aboard handmade sleds pulled by draft horses in bells and finery. The three-mile ride goes through beautiful snowscapes along the shores of Haviland Lake under the Hermosa Cliffs, 17 miles north of Durango on Highway 550. These rides run daily for groups, couples or individuals. Rides are offered by reservation only. The cost is $35 per person; kids 5 and under ride free. A private sleigh for two is $90. From Dec. 15-23, Rapp Corral is offering a new Santa Sleigh this year. The ride is about 15 minutes, and ends

with a bonfire, decorations, hot chocolate and gifts from Santa. The cost is $25 per person and space is limited. Call (970) 247-8454 or e-mail

Dog Sledding Experience a dog-powered exploration of the snowy peaks of Southwest Colorado. Durango Dog Ranch offers high-end dog sled adventures for all ages. The season begins mid-November through mid-April, weather permitting. There is a guide on every sled, and all participants drive the sled. All trips are by reservation. Call for more details and to book your adventure. Hot drinks, fresh snacks and a camaraderie between human and canine are just some of the highlights. A half-day mush adventure for two adults is $300, and a full-day mush with lunch is $595. For more information, call (970) 259-0694 or visit

Ice Skating DURANGO: Chapman Hill

Chapman Hill is a small, in-town ski and skate facility. During the winter “ice season,” which runs from October through April 30, a refrigerated rink provides excellent ice skating. The pavilion has concessions and a sitting area with views and a fireplace. Weekday admission: 3 and under free; youth (4-17) $4; adult (18-59) $5; seniors (60 and up) $4. Weekend prices are $5 youth and $6 adult. Ice skate rentals are $3. Lessons are available. Call 375-7395 or visit chapman for more information.

SILVERTON: Kendall Mountain Recreation Area

Sharpen up those blades and try out the town ice rink. It’s always open, weather-permit-

12 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

ting. There is no charge for skating, sledding or tubing. Ice skate rentals are available on the top floor of the Kendall Mountain Community Center. For a classic Victorian experience, rent a pair of ice skates and glide under the moonlight on one of the largest outdoor skating rinks in the Rocky Mountains. Kendall is also a sledder’s paradise. You’ll find a gentle slope for the youngsters and a tubing hill for the more adventurous. Remember this is old-fashioned fun, so be ready to hike up and bring your own sled. For more information on Kendall visit

OURAY: Rotary Park Rink

The Ouray ice skating rink is located at Rotary Park, approximately one mile north of the Hot Springs Pool. The rink is typically open from late December through the winter as long as temperatures remain cold enough to maintain ice. Bring your skates and enjoy the fun atmosphere of an outdoor ice rink, or pick up a game of “broomball” with some of the locals. The rink is maintained by the City of Ouray and a cadre of volunteers. There is a small warming hut located at the rink. Lights at the rink allow for skating in the cold and silent hours of a winter evening with stars shining above. For more information, call the Ouray Chamber Resort Association at (970) 325-4746.

Sledding Durango: Buckley Park

When there is enough snow in town, Buckley Park on Main Avenue between 12th and 13th streets is a family favorite. It’s arguably the best hill for little ones, because the downhill slide is gentle from the east rim above the park toward Main Avenue. On a fresh-snow day, this is a great spot for free, old-fashioned fun, including snowball fights, hot chocolate and building snowmen. Bring your own sled, and watch out for rocks and man-made jumps.

DURANGO: Chapman Hill

A dedicated sledding area is located north of the ski area at Chapman Hill. No sledding is allowed in the ski area. To get to Chapman Hill from Main Avenue, go east on 15th Street and veer left on Florida Road, make the first right into Chapman Hill.

Durango Mountain Resort

For a fast and furious slide, fly down the mountain on a tube at the Snow Coaster tubing hill at Durango Mountain Resort. Rent a tube from Purgatory’s rental fleet, hike up the hill and then whoosh down one of three tubing lanes in the Columbine Area. All times and dates are subject to change, weather permitting. Cost is $5 per tube, per hour. Guests must use Purgatory’s tubes. Call (970) 247-9000 Ext. 11220 to check availability.

A boy slides down Chapman Hill’s sled hill. Steve Lewis/Herald

October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 13

A climber tries the cave at the Rock Lounge. Karla Sluis/Herald

Indoor Climbing & Swimming Rock Lounge Durango

This new climbing and yoga lounge opened in September. It’s located at 1111 Camino Del Rio, Suite 105 (across the highway from south City Market) and features a 35-foot climbing wall, bouldering, autobelay, yoga, a children’s after-school program and a coffee bar. “I wanted the climbing/outdoor culture to have a place to climb and a place to hang out and lounge,” said co-owner Walker Thompson. Walk-ins are welcome. There are a variety of fees and memberships; a daily drop-in fee is $12 for adults. For more information, call (970) 259-7625 or visit

Durango Community Recreation Center

The 71,557-square-foot facility is located at 2700 Main Avenue. It offers many amenities, including indoor swimming with a shallow children’s pool and water slide, separate lap pool and hot tub, gymnasium, indoor track, group fitness room and racquetball courts. Reach new heights by climbing to the top of the 30-foot high climbing wall. Staff members are on-hand to assist with harnesses, to provide a belay and to give positive encouragement. There are also youth programs and babysitting is available. Call (970) 375-7300 or visit for more information.

14 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

The Rec Center leisure pool is open year round. Photo courtesy of Joanne Gantt/Durango Parks & Recreation

By Chris Grotefend Special to the Herald As soon as leaves begin to fall, I get fired up for the winter season. The games are different. They take more strength and more short-burst power. Every year, I get on the bandwagon with clients to get “muscled up” for the holidays. We take in all of these great calories, so let’s put them to good use – building muscles, not muffin tops. During the winter months, I turn into a bodybuilder. It’s cold. I can spend more time in the gym. We all start to lose lean mass after 30. We get fat because when we lose that muscle our metabolism slows down, but our eating habits don’t. Rebuild your metabolism. Muscle is metabolically active tissue. Fat is just stored fuel. That’s that. The winter time is basically 4 months. That is two 8-week phases – just what it will take to get you muscled up. In winter, cardiovascular fitness is more short-burst oriented. Sports tend to be at higher elevations, so you need to strengthen your heart and lungs, too. This requires interval training. I call intervals “tagging the bully.” You don’t fight to the death: just step into the ring, throw a few blows and step back. Shortterm, high- intensity training is the rage these days. The quick and painful approach is showing some resurgence because of reports that it increases naturally occurring HGH (human growth hormone) – the fountain of youth. HGH lays dormant until we go off the hook for a few seconds and really push it. A spin bike is great for training short-fast intervals. First you turn the tension knob until you can barely pedal while you are seated. Start pedaling slowly from a standing stop and gradually increase your speed every pedal stroke, progressively faster and faster for 25 seconds, then sit down and recover. Do this once a minute for a total of 5- to 25-second intervals. When you sit down, you will notice your heart rate continues to go up. Tag the bully! Do you ever notice the people who seem to make winter sports look easy? They’re graceful. They look like they’re going slow, but they are flying. Their secret is a strong, smart core. Core muscles surround the spine like a corset. They help with posture and balance. A mat routine can strengthen these muscles. Ask a trainer. A strong core gives us proximal (close to the spine) stability. Balance work makes those muscles smart. Learn to balance on a Physio-ball, on your knees, on your behind, and on your belly. This fine tunes the sensitivity of those core muscles, so you catch yourself more quickly and you won’t take as many diggers. Safety is key on the slippery slopes. These are some specific concepts you can work on to get in shape for winter. Of course, there is more to the equation. Flexibility is a critical component, and yoga is an amazing way to work on joint mobility, balance and core stability as well. Chris Grotefend is fitness professional at the Durango Sports Club. He has been an instructor/trainer for more than 20 years, and he teaches all class formats, including SkiFit. Photos courtesy of the Durango Sports Club.

Good skiers use strong core muscles. Photo courtesy of Ryan Jameson

October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 15

Durango Mountain Resort

Ranked as one of America’s premier family-oriented ski resorts, DMR is located 25 miles north of Durango, Colorado, on U.S. Highway 550 in the San Juan National Forest. Annual snowfall is about 260 inches. With its picturesque setting covering 2,500 acres on National Forest Service land, 85 trails are maintained on 1,325 acres. Snowmaking equipment now spans 250 acres of the resort’s maintained acreage with snowmaking coverage beneath nine of the resort’s ten lifts. At the resort’s tubing hill you can slide down a 600-foot-long track on special tubes. Purgatory Village Center has ski and snowboard rentals, restaurants, a small grocery store and deli, and sports shop. There are several on-mountain restaurants and food outlets. Purgy’s Restaurant was included in the resort’s massive remodeling a year ago. So when the lifts close for the day, stick around after 6 p.m. when the table linens come out and the fine dining begins. Among their many menu offerings, Purgy’s serves up one of the best rib-eye steaks in the Four Corners. Durango Mountain Resort offers ski school/lift packages and beginner packages for first-time skiers and snowboarders and a children’s lesson/lift ticket package. Some programs require reservations. DMR’s Village Center and the mountain have gone through some updates including new and expanded trails, and facilities over the summer. For updates, call (970) 247-9000 or visit

DMR At a Glance

Elevation at base Elevation at summit Vertical drop Skiable acres Resort acres Longest run Beginner trails Intermediate Advanced/expert Chairlift hours

8,793’ 10,822’ 2,029’ 1,325 2,500 2 miles 21% 46% 33% 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

more ski areas continued on next page...

New Year’s Eve fireworks are set off at Durango Mountain Resort. Nick Manning/Herald

16 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

Photo courtesy of Ryan Jameson

Photo courtesy of Kathy Austin

The Nordic Center

Once the snow flies The Nordic Center, just north of Durango Mountain Resort, will be open every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The daily trail fee is $12 for adults or $5 for kids and seniors over 65. There are rental skis available on site. Classic skis are $14 for adults and $7 for kids and seniors. Skate skis are $22 for adults and $15 for juniors. Lessons are offered every day at 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. This winter, the Nordic Center will also be renting snowshoes and will have a separate trail system for snowshoe use. For current information on conditions, passes, etc., call (970) 385-2114 or visit NordicCenter.htm.

Hesperus Ski Area

Hesperus Ski Area, just west of Durango, is a small, friendly, inexpensive place to ski day and night. It has 75 acres of skiable terrain, featuring a 700-foot vertical drop, and served by one double chairlift. When the snow gets deep, the oak brush terrain can be excellent. Don’t let this small mountain fool you – it has challenging runs for advanced level skiers too. The hill has nine alpine runs. Approximately 90% of the terrain is lighted until 9 p.m., including a lighted snowboard park. A beginner’s area is serviced by a rope tow. Both group and private lessons for downhill, telemark and snowboarding are available for all levels and abilities. Call (970) 259-3711 for information, or visit

Chapman Hill

As an extremely family-friendly venue, Chapman Hill serves as Durango’s in-town ski area and winter sports center. The hill, located on the east side of Florida Road, provides terrain for beginner and intermediate skiers, with a vertical drop of 775 feet. The area offers skiers and snowboarders two rope tows, an ice skating rink, and a supervised warming house with hot drinks and snacks. Both the lifts and ski hill are supervised by trained staff. Snowmaking offers a longer season. The typical skiing season for Chapman Hill is from early January through March, depending on the weather. Lessons are available. (970) 375-7300.

Silverton Mountain

Silverton Mountain is a facility for advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders. The one double chairlift offers access to steep and deep powder-filled skiing. The high elevation ensures an early and long season. An easy hike to 13,300 feet offers an approximately 3,000foot vertical drop. Guided skiing is available in November, December and April. For ticket prices and season opening date, call (970) 387-5706 or visit

ski lift operates Fridays-Sundays, holidays, and everyday during winter vacation (Dec. 19 - Jan. 4). The recreation area also offers 2 sledding hills and free ice skating. There are trails for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing also. Affordable equipment and warm snacks are available. The lodge can be reserved for retreats, conferences and weddings. The ski area can be reserved for private groups on weekdays. For details, call (970) 387-5528 or (970) 387-0182 or visit

Kendall Mountain At a Glance Elevation at base 9,300’ Vertical Drop 240’ Beginner trails (2) 50% Intermediate (1) 25% Advanced (1) 25%

Kendall Mountain Ski & Recreation Area

Located in Silverton, Colorado, with an average annual snowfall of 200 inches, Kendall Mountain is open for family fun. The

18 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

Kids prepare for a class at The Nordic Center. Karla Sluis/Herald

Telluride Ski Resort

Nestled in a box canyon in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado, Telluride’s spectacular scenery is undeniably some of the most beautiful in the Rockies. Telluride blends historic buildings and local watering holes with world-class hotels, restaurants, shops and spas. This unique destination welcomes you with the same enthusiasm the locals feel for the mountains. Telluride has expanded by more than 300 acres over the past three seasons, adding to its already legendary terrain. In the 2008-09 winter season, Telluride opened Revelation Bowl as the biggest story in ski country, along with Gold Hill 1. Palmyra Peak, Black Iron Bowl and Gold Hill 6-10 opened in 2007-08 to a huge public response. Telluride offers some of the most stunning skiing and riding for all levels. Getting to Telluride is easy with nonstop flights from 8 U.S. cities on 6 commercial carriers to the Telluride/Montrose airports, including daily direct flights on Delta from Atlanta. Once you’re here, Telluride’s free gondola is the main source of transportation - no traffic or long lines, and no driving once you’ve arrived! Experience our unrivaled scenery and terrain, spectacular hotels, shopping and spas, the ease of direct flights… and discover why Telluride is unmatched in North America. For updates on ticket prices, call (800) 778-8581 or visit

Telluride at a glance

Wolf Pup program for children. Snowboard and telemark lessons are also available. For ticket information (970) 264-5639 or visit

Elevation at base 8,725’ Elevation at lift summit 12,570’ Vertical drop 3,845’ Acres of skiing 2,000+ Longest run 4.6 miles Average snowfall 309 inches Beginner trails 23% Intermediate 36% Advanced 41% Hours 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Wolf Creek Ski Area

Wolf Creek at a glance

Located east of Pagosa Springs atop the Rockies in the Rio Grande National Forest, Wolf Creek is a powder hound’s haven with more snowfall than any other area in the state: approximately 465 natural inches annually. Highway closures from snow storms may occur so check with the resort before leaving home. The more traditional terrain at Wolf Creek (500 acres and approximately 50 trails) is serviced by two triple chairlifts, one double, 1 quad, 1 quad detachable, one high speed poma lift, and one magic carpet. Unique to Wolf Creek is the 1,000 acres serviced by the Alberta quad. This lift gives access to steep chutes and many intermediate powder glades that adventuresome skiers and boarders enjoy. Cross-country skiing is also available. The ski school offers individual, group and private lessons as well as the popular

Elevation at base Elevation at summit Vertical drop Skiable acres Longest Run Average Snowfall Beginner terrain Intermediate Advanced Expert Lift hours Ticket hours

10,300’ 11,904’ 1,604’ 1,600 2 miles 465 inches 20% 35% 25% 20% 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 8:15 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Jameson

October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 19

EASY: Chicken Creek Cross Country Ski Area

Quiet, uncrowded, friendly and community run, Chicken Creek Cross Country Ski Area is a volunteer-maintained and donation-funded Nordic area within the San Juan National Forest just minutes from Mancos. Enjoy over 25 kilometers of machine groomed classic and skate trails ranging from beginning to intermediate level. To find Chicken Creek Ski Area, travel north from Mancos on Hwy 184, turn east on County Road 40 and watch for the sign about 3 miles ahead. There is no charge, but your donation ensures Chicken Creek’s success. Enjoy fantastic cross-country skiing - Mancos-style.

EASY: Haviland Lake

3-5 miles of ungroomed trails and roads. Directions: From Durango, go 17 miles north on Hwy 550. Turn right at Haviland Lake to plowed parking area. Commercial sleigh rides operate in this area - careful. Toilets at Haviland campground. Don’t drive past the gate.


21 miles of groomed trails. Directions: From Hwy 160 in Pagosa, turn east on Lewis St., then immediately north on 5th St., which becomes Fourmile Rd. (CR 400). Go 6.5 miles north to the end of a plowed road. Roadside parking only. Leave room for others to turn around. Do not block the gate or driveway to private property. Groomed by Wolf Creek Trail Blazers Club.


30+ miles (sometimes 12 miles are groomed). Directions: From Mancos, go 2.5 miles east on Hwy 160 and turn north on CR 44. Go 3 miles to the Forest Service gate. Plowed parking lot. Access maintained by Four Corners Trail Club. Groomed by the San Juan Sledders Club.

DIFFICULT: Andrews Lake

With seemingly endless options, this area is a gem. There are no groomed trails but year after year users create a network of trails to follow. Located just before Molas Pass on Hwy 550, look for a small parking lot on the east side of the highway.

A cross-country skier gets into the groove at The Nordic Center. Karla Sluis/Herald

20 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

A woman enjoys snowmobiling in the high country above Little Molas Lake, near Silverton. Photo courtesy of Larry Johnson

Durango and the San Juan Mountains are a snowmobiler’s paradise. Various companies lead snowmobile tours and also rent snowmobiles for you to venture out on your own. Our area is also famous for its avalanche activity, so make sure to be prepared. You can check out the Colorado Avalanche Information Center for the latest conditions. Also, please treat slower folks (on skis and snowshoes) with courtesy. For more information, visit winter/snowmobiling.asp The San Juan Sledders Snowmobile Club of Durango maintains all five trails including Purgatory Ski Area Trailhead, Missionary Ridge Trailhead, Lemon Dam Trailhead, Vallecito Reservoir Trailhead, and Beaver Creek Meadows. The trails offer groomed trail riding, as well as meadow and mountain play areas.

Groomed by Wolf Creek Trail Blazers Club. Some commercial snowmobile operations.


Twenty-three miles of groomed trails. Directions: From Durango, go north 40 miles on Hwy 550 to the top of Molas Pass. There is roadside parking at Andrews and Little Molas and plowed parking lots at Molas Pass and Molas Lake. Trails are groomed by the Silverton Snow- mobile Club. Commercial snowmobile and snow cat operations are in the area. Restrooms at the parking areas.

EASY: Boggy Draw

INTERMEDIATE: Beaver Meadows

DIFFICULT: Wolf Creek Pass

Hundreds of acres of ungroomed backcountry terrain. Directions: From Pagosa Springs, go 23 miles northeast of Hwy 160 to the top of the pass. There is a plowed parking lot. Please comply with signs for voluntary use areas. Higher avalanche danger. Snowmobiles are prohibited in the adjacent Weminuche Wilderness.

INTERMEDIATE: Fall Creek Trail

22 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

EASY: House Creek

5+ miles. Directions: Turn west off Hwy 145 in Dolores on 11th St. (CR 31). Climb hill and go 7 miles (CR 31 becomes FS #526). Look for signs to House Creek campground & FS #528. There is roadside parking, but plowing can be sporadic. Snow conditions are variable because of the lower elevation. Follow signs.

25+ miles of groomed trails. Directions: From Bayfield, go 7 miles east on Hwy 160. Turn north on FS road #135, go 2 miles. Roadside parking. There are two access points from Hwy 160. Groomed by the San Juan Sledders Club.

Over 30 miles of trails. Directions: Turn west off Hwy 145 in Dolores on 11th St. (CR 31). Climb hill and go 1.5 miles. Turn right on CR W, go 1 mile to parking area on left side of road. Parking lot is plowed. Snow conditions are variable because of the lower elevation.

Occasionally groomed 6.5 miles. Directions: From Pagosa Springs, go 19.3 miles northeast on Hwy 160. The trail is on the south side of the highway between the top and bottom of the pass about a mile below the Wolf Creek Trail. Look for the sign to Fall Creek Road. Higher avalanche danger here.


DIFFICULT: Andrews Lake

Photo courtesy of Larry Johnson

With seemingly endless options, this area is a real gem. There are no groomed trails but year after year users create a network of trails to follow. Located just before Molas Pass on Hwy 550.

147 E. College Dr. Durango


970-247-5707 Yum!

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Est. 1991

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431 East 2nd Avenue • Durango

259-9494 Traditional Northern New Mexico Cookin’ October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 23

A skate skier glides along at Hillcrest Golf Course. Steve Lewis/Herald

Get out of the groove

Once you get the hang of it, skate-skiing feels like flying. This dynamic Nordic sport combines the peaceful feel of cross-country skiing with the thrilling glide of ice-skating. It’s different from traditional Nordic skiing, where long skis clipped in at the toe are placed in groomed tracks. The cross-country skier uses a “kick and glide” motion to propel forward. The skier will shuffle along the trail inside the grooves when, suddenly, a skate-skier zooms by at three times the pace. It’s a tortoise and the hare experience. Here’s the major difference: Instead of the classic cross-country stride – right lunge, left lunge along parallel tracks – skate skiers push their skis out at a wide angle from their torso. Skis are shorter, skinnier and lighter, and they don’t have a scaled finish on the base for traction like classic “no-wax” skis. In skating, the inside edge of the ski is used for traction while pushing off. Also, the poles are way longer than any other type of ski pole, in some cases as long as the ski. Nordic skiing has long been known to be one of the most healthy and beneficial sports. It can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness

levels, and can be purely recreational or highly aggressive and competitive. It is a total body workout, the ultimate calorie burner and an intense anti-depressant. It’s impossible to feel sad when you’re zooming past gorgeous scenery on a brilliant winter day. It’s exhilarating. Skate skiing is a dynamic workout, burning 600 to 1,000 calories per hour. Unlike heavily bundled and awkwardly booted downhill skiers, skate skiers wear light, stretchy, breathable layers to wick sweat and allow flexible movement. Racers often wear bright, spandex “supersuits” similar to Olympic ice skaters. In the Durango area, there are many opportunities to try skate skiing. Most Nordic ski facilities offer lessons and flat, smoothly groomed trails specific to the sport. Local ski shops offer equipment rentals. Try the trails at Vallecito Lake, the Nordic Center at Durango Mountain Resort and, when the snow is plentiful in town, the Hillcrest Golf Course adjacent to the Fort Lewis College Campus in Durango. If you’re experienced in skate-skiing, check with the San Juan Public Lands Center in Durango at 15 Burnett Court for maps and information on groomed trails in wilderness areas. Call (970) 247-4874.

24 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

Steve Lewis/Herald

October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 25

Durango Discovery Museum is housed in a historic Mission-style building. Steve Lewis/Herald

Town abuzz over new museum This month, Durango will get a powerful new attraction. After eight years of intense planning, fundraising and renovation, the Durango Discovery Museum at the Powerhouse will soon be unveiled, with a grand opening event planned Oct. 14. The energy-themed interactive science center is gearing up to be the cultural hub of the Animas River corridor. It is located along a beautiful stretch of the Animas River Trail at 1333 Camino del Rio. The mission of DDM is to ignite curiosity, spark imagination and power exploration. Its vision is to be a leading science and educational center in the Southwest that brings together curious minds of all ages, inspires innovative learning and unleashes human potential. Visitors of all ages can explore a frontier of new ideas in energy and sustainability. This month’s opening is the triumphant result of an eight-year journey. The Durango City Council of 2002 resolved to fund the project, but first, mercury and radioactive material had to be extracted from the site. The museum is housed in an 1892 coal-fired, steam-generated AC power plant with Mission-style architecture. During Phase I of the project, historic preser-

vation, exterior renovation and environmental remediation work was done to transform the structure, which was once a community eyesore on the verge of being torn down. With the completion of Phase II, the Powerhouse features “hands-on” science exhibits that touch on the past, present and future of energy in America. A river-facing plaza will surround the existing smokestack. Phase III is scheduled to start in 2013, and will include more exhibit space and possibly a planetarium-style theater. The theme of DDM is “energy: past, present and future.” Exhibits will include an “e-tree” that will teach about photosynthesis, and exhibits on electricity generation and distribution. At a “take-apart” station, electronic components will be available for visitors to construct contraptions of their own imagining. Visitors will also be able to see equipment remaining in the Powerhouse from its early days of operation, including turbine AC generators. Pedestrians will access the museum from downtown via a signalized crosswalk just north of 12th Street on Camino del Rio. An underground walkway still is in the plans for the future as funds become available.

26 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

For more information, visit or call (970) 259-9234.

A Durango family looks at exhibit pictures at a groundbreaking event April 15. Steve Lewis/Herald

Kids launch Phase II construction at the Durango Disovery Museum on April 15. Steve Lewis/Herald

October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 27

Animas Museum

Animas Museum Director Robert McDaniel, who is retiring this year, sits in the 1908 restored classroom at the Animas Museum. Herald photo

28 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

The Animas Museum is owned and operated by the La Plata County Historical Society, whose directors and staff have transformed the 1904 Animas City School building into a charming local history museum. The mission of the museum is to collect, preserve and interpret the history and culture of the San Juan Basin with a focus on La Plata County. The museum offers a variety of exhibits and programs for all ages, and is also home to our research library and photo archives. Two permanent exhibits include a 1908 restored classroom and the Joy Cabin, the oldest intact structure left in Durango. The cabin was built in the 1870s, and it has been completely restored to educate visitors on the daily lives of pioneers. The museum’s website offers two historic walking tours – Main Avenue and East Third Avenue – that can be downloaded for free: Main Avenue and Third Avenue. The tours include details by address, and images that help with visual identification. Animas Museum is located at 3065 West Second Ave., on the corner of 31st Street and West Second Avenue. Through October, it’s open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. From November through April, it’s open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for children 7-12. Children 6 and under are free. For more information, call (970) 259-2402 or visit

Center of Southwest Studies

The Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College connects individuals and communities with opportunities to explore, study and experience the Southwest’s dynamic heritage. The center facilities include the Exhibition Gallery, an archival repository, a special collections library, the Office of Community Services and classrooms, labs and offices for the College’s Anthropology and Southwest Studies academic degree programs. Exhibition Gallery exhibits rotate annually. Through December, visitors can see the “Mountain Lion!” display. Gallery hours are 1p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The Center is adjacent to the Fort Lewis College Community Concert Hall at the north end of campus. Parking permits are required on campus, and there are also metered spaces available. For more information, call (970) 247-7456 or visit

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

The D&SNG museum is a tribute to railroading nationally and in Southwest Colorado. The museum is located in the Durango roundhouse. Half the roundhouse is used for the steam engines and the other half is for the museum. The museum features memorabilia and artifacts from the Durango and Silverton areas. There is also a movie coach that was used in the filming of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid where the railroads informational and educational films are featured. The D&SNG museum is at the south end of the roundhouse in Durango. Admission is free for two days prior to or two days following your ride on the train. Without a train ticket purchase, the cost to visit the museum is $5 for adults and $2.50 for children. A taxidermy piece is part of the “Mountain Lion!” exhibit at the Center of Southwest Studies at FLC. Photo courtesy of Kevin Britz

October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 29

The “Puck” statue is near the Durango Arts Center on East Second Avenue. Karla Sluis/Herald

30 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

One block off the beaten path of Main Avenue, you’ll find a different Durango. East Second Avenue is just east and slightly uphill from Main. The vibe is vibrant, yet peaceful. The street is Durango’s civic center, which includes the city hall, police department, local school district office and a county courthouse with a handsome clock tower that chimes the hour. Amid the bustling city activity, creative types have also found a niche along the avenue. It’s a shopper’s paradise. An antique market, the Durango Arts Center and other galleries entice people with window displays. Music lovers will find a special shop that’s “instrumental” to their hobby. The avenue’s restaurants showcase Durango’s diversity, with options such a sushi, Italian or the elegant Mediterranean cuisine of Cyprus Café. Stroll along lovely Second Avenue and peek into the window at the store called Yarn. You might see a circle of people peacefully knitting together, weaving creativity and community.

October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 31

After a busy day of winter sports – or perhaps a busy day of shopping – it’s time to relax. A day spa can be a great way to detox and de-stress from the hectic pace of life. For a small town, Durango has spas that offer a wide range of services. Here’s some general information to consider in your search for Durango day spas. Day spa staff includes estheticians specializing in skin care and skin beautification services such as facials, exfoliation and anti-aging treatments. Most businesses classified as day spas also offer nail services such as manicures, pedicures and other hand and foot treatments. Many offer relaxation services like aromatherapy and varieties of massage, including classic Swedish massage, deep tissue massage or muscle therapy. Some day spas offer body and health services too – such as body wraps, body immersion, mud baths or hydrotherapy. Day spas usually offer services individually, or in package deals with several services. Check out the following sample of services offered at day spas in the Durango area: • Hot Stone Massage: Water-heated, smooth basalt stones are used as massage tools to relieve chronic muscle tension and encourage deep relaxation. Add to any therapeutic massage for $20. Trimble Hot Springs (970) 247-0212. • Reflexology: Whole body therapy using pressure points in the feet and hands to release toxins and promote healthy organs. 30 minutes for $75. The Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs. (970) 264-7770. • Four-Handed Massage: Two seasoned therapists work together in unison for a full-body experience. $150. Signature Salon & Health Spa (970) 247-7769. • Soak and Sweat, Hot Tub: A salt-water hot tub, cold plunge and cedar sauna. Individual visits are $12. Amaya Natural Therapeutics (970) 247-3939. • Mud Wrap: Unveil silken skin and detoxify with fullbody mud wraps with European Rose, Acti-Sea or Black Baltic mud. For added relaxation, this treatment includes a neck, shoulder and foot massage while in the warmth of the wrap. $90. Trimble Hot Springs (970) 247-0212. • Arctic Algae Herbal Body Masque: Detoxify and stimulate the skin with this active and rejuvenating treatment. $68. 6th Street Hair Salon & Day Spa. (970) 259-1220. • Acupuncture with Electrical Stimulation: A weak bioelectric current is conducted into the acupuncture needles. This helps increase blood and energy circulation in the area and is effective for chronic and acute pain. $90. Signature Salon & Health Spa (970) 247-7769. • The Gentlemen’s Facial: Sports activities, pollution and lifestyle can affect a man’s skin. This refreshing treatment will revitalize, clean, rebalance and hydrate the skin. Avabella Spa & Salon (970) 259-9311. • Raindrop Therapy: Powerful essential oils are worked into your body to detoxify and nurture. 90 minutes, $210. The Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs (970) 264-7770. • Wake Me Up! A 90-minute massage followed by a halfhour nap. You know when you get done with your massage and you just don’t feel like getting up? Well, you don't have to! Rest in a nice, warm, snuggly massage bed, with soft lights and spa music. Sleeping is encouraged. $100. Spaaah Shop & Day Spa (970) 375-1866.

32 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010


Ouray Hot Springs Pool

Photo courtesy of Ouray Hot Springs

34 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

Winter is a magical time to visit the Ouray Hot Springs Pool. Ouray’s 250-by-150-foot public pool contains over a million gallons of crystal-clear natural hot springs water, free from the strong smell of sulfur typical of many hot springs. In addition to several soaking sections at a variety of temperatures ranging from 96 to 106 degrees, the pool has a lap swimming section, a diving area, a large slide, a shallow section for younger children and a game area for water volleyball. The bathhouse at the pool has a full range of conveniences including showers, hair dryers, playpen and changing table for infants. On premises are the Ouray Swim & Snack House and Healing Touch Massage Therapy. Call (970) 325-0415 for therapy appointments. The pool is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends during the winter, and from 12 to 9 p.m. on weekdays. On Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day, there are special hours of operation. Please call ahead or check the Hot Springs Pool website for specific details. Daily rates for use of the pool are $10 for adults, $8 for both students (ages 7-12) and seniors (62+) and $5 for children (ages 3-6). Call (970) 325-7073, or visit for specific information on hours of operation and dates when the pool is closed for maintenance.

The Springs Resort Bath House

The mineral hot pools in Pagosa Springs are open to the public for soaking and relaxing in 23 different hot mineral pools and our new cool saltwater swimming pool and Jacuzzi pool. Hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Towels, robes and locker facilities are available to day visitors for a minimal rental fee. For centuries, visitors to Pagosa Hot Springs have touted the miraculous curative powers of these ancient waters. The first published testament to the healing benefits was written in 1890 by Dr. J. L. Weaver, a U.S. Army surgeon, following his experiences with several chronically ill soldiers brought to the spring for research study. Verbal testimonies began with American Indian visitors from centuries past, and continues today as visitors from all over the globe journey to these 10,000-year-old waters seeking healing, relaxation and rejuvenation. A complete menu of massage and spa therapies, as well as hair, skin and nail salon services are available at The Healing Waters Spa & Salon. An organic health food cafe, boutique and sports shopping are also within the resort complex.

General admission is $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and $12 for children (2-10). Children under 2 are free with each paying adult. For more information, call (970) 264-4168 or visit

Trimble Spa and Natural Hot Springs

Trimble Spa and Natural Hot Springs is Durango’s only hot springs, massage and lodging center. Trimble is open to the public year-round, and is located five miles north of Durango on U.S. Highway 550. Two saunas and naturally heated, mineral-rich hot pools are therapeutic and relaxing. The source of hot water, volcanic in origin, comes from underneath the La Plata Mountains. Combine soaking with sauna and a selection of more than 20 massage and body treatments. Winter hours (October-May) are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. (Trimble will be closed on Wednesdays Oct. 13 through April 15). Admission prices are $14 for adults, $9.50 for children (ages 5-12) and seniors over 62. Children 4 and under are free. (Prices and hours are subject to change.) For more information, call (970) 247-0111 or visit

The hot pool beckons at Trimble Hot Springs. Photo courtesy of Tim Richard

October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 35

Two men enjoy ice fishing at Pastorius Lake. Herald photo

The Colorado Division of Wildlife recommends the following equipment to get you started in ice fishing:

ice fishing

The Four Corners area offers some of the best public fishing in the nation. There are more than 80 different species of both warm- and cold-water fish in Colorado. From cutthroat trout to smallmouth bass, brook trout to crappie, they’re all here in our beautiful, scenic rivers, streams and lakes, including the largest wilderness area in the state, the Weminuche Wilderness. The world-famous San Juan River has been known to produce some incredible catches, too. Discover the joy of reeling in a rainbow trout or just relax next to one of the many reservoirs and lakes. Durango is known as “dry-fly heaven” for all the fly fishing enthusiasts. Getting started in ice fishing is relatively easy. With just the basic equipment, newcomers to the sport can discover the joys of exploring the mysterious watery world beneath the ice. Don’t forget safety when testing fishing spots. Visit Reports/IceFishing/safety.htm for a detailed article on testing the ice.

• Ice auger – The manual type with a 6-inch blade is suitable for ice up to 20 inches thick and the hole is large enough to land nearly all species, and it is easy to transport. • Rod & reel – Short rods are nice because they put you closer to your work, but some of the best ice fishers I know use ultra-light spinning rods. • Fishing line – Keep it light, 4- to 6-pound test is good for everything but larger species such as northern pike and lake trout. • Lures – Put together a small tackle box filled with a selection of small spoons, hooks, split shots, and small plastic jigs • Bait – For trout and yellow perch try mealworms, nightcrawlers, and prepared baits. For crappie, bass, and walleye, minnows cannot be beat. • Ice scoop – For removing ice shavings from the hole and keeping the hole free of ice. • Pliers – Needle-nose pliers will allow you to flip the fish of the hook without handling it, which is handy for releasing fish that you decide to release. • Bucket – A five-gallon plastic bucket is an ice-fishers best friend. It serves as fishing chair, tackle box, rod carrier, lunch box, cooler, and creel, all in a virtually indestructible container that comes with a handle. The taller, seven-gallon bucket is the deluxe model.

more important information on next page... 36 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

Mention this ad when making your reservation directly with the hotel and receive a 20% discount.

October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 37

Fishing Season Dates

From Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, the waters of Colorado are open to fishing, except as otherwise noted in their individual area’s regulations.

Fishing Licenses

A fishing license is required for people 16 years of age and older. Children under the age of 16 and over the age of 64 are not required to have a fishing license. Fishing in Colorado without a license is only allowed on the first full weekend of June each year. All other rules and regulations apply. For information on current fees, dates and individual fishing areas, for complete information visit

Great Places to Fish: Vallecito Reservoir

Primary fish are pike, kokanee salmon, smallmouth bass and trout. To get there, take County Road 240 east of Durango to Vallecito Road, which leads to the dam, about 23 miles total.

Haviland Lake

Stocked with trout and easily accessible by people of all ages. To get there: Take U.S. Hwy 550 north about 17 miles, between Rockwood and Durango Mountain Resort. Turn right at the Rapp Corral.

Animas River

The river flows from Silverton through the town of Durango and into New Mexico, offering excellent trophy fishing, especially brown trout. Specific areas of the river run through private property without public access.

Lemon Reservoir

The lake contains brown and rainbow trout and kokanee salmon. Take Florida Road east and look for the signs.

San Juan River

Catch rainbow and brown trout on the San Juan. There is a two-fish limit.

Herald photo

38 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

Photo courtesy of Hal Lott

Winter is a blessing and a curse for outdoor photographers. The blessing is that the season is different from any other time of year. There are opportunities to take dramatic shots of frost, snow, ice, stark landscapes or mysterious mist and fog. The colors are muted: white, turquoise and shades of brown and black. Without blooming flowers or colored leaves to distract you, it’s a great time to focus on composition and contrast. The curse of winter is working through the many challenges of shooting photos in the snow, including temperature extremes, problems with glare and contrast, and tricky technical dilemmas. Even experienced photographers struggle with these issues. Don’t get discouraged: Keep learning from your mistakes and keep practicing. With mild winter temperatures and sunny days, Southwest Colorado is a good place to hone your skills.

Hal Lott, a professional photographer who lives in Durango, has spent many hours kneedeep in snow, waiting with chattering teeth for the perfect moment of a sunset. He has taught photography classes at the college level and led educational programs for camera clubs. He offers the following tips on outdoor winter photography. • Dress for the weather. This may seem like a no-brainer, but snow is pretty cold. It’s not wise to wear tennis shoes and sweat pants when you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time. You won’t be in an artistic frame of mind if you’re cold, wet and miserable. Temperatures below zero are not common in the Durango area as in other parts of the country, but cold snaps happen on occasion. “Buy the right technical gear and dress for the worst winter weather,” said Lott. “You’re

40 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

not going to be generating heat like when you’re skiing. Dress to be standing still in freezing temperatures, or walking through snowdrifts and getting your boots wet. The greatest picture in the world isn’t worth frostbite or hypothermia.” • Beware of glare. Because of the whiteness of snow, said Lott, the contrast is extremely high. The best way to get good pictures of snow is to get out 20 minutes after sunrise, or 20 minutes before sunset. The slanting light at those times creates drama and reduces glare. “The problem with the middle of the day is you may have exposure problems,” said Lott. If you’re stuck shooting in the afternoon, Lott recommends you look for scenes that may be in partial shade, so if you’re shooting a skier in full sun, try to get a shadow of the trees behind him. story continued on next page...


October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 41

Joel Kraus grinds a rail at the Durango Skate Park after a snowstorm. Herald photo

42 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

Framing is important to reduce glare, too. Shoot the scene a couple of different ways. If it’s a big vista, point your camera up at the sky a little bit, or try other angles. If you’re shooting people with a digital camera, set the flash mode to “flash on” versus “flash auto.” “People in the snow look much better with direct light on their faces,” said Lott. The most powerful thing you can learn about your digital snappy camera is to learn the flash settings and how to adjust them. Light is everything.” • Follow the action. To get a great winter sports shot, try to shoot your subject from the side instead of coming at you, said Lott. Even a fast-focus camera will have trouble with a head-on skier. Don’t try to shoot people as they come toward you. Get to the side and pan the camera with them. A snowstorm presents more challenges. It’s a good time for portraits and close-ups, said Lott, but not ideal for vista shots, where a storm can look murky or misty. • Camera cool, batteries warm. Both your camera and batteries need to stay dry, which is challenging in the snow. One trick is to put your camera in a plastic bag and cut a hole for the lens. Wrap a rubber band around the bag and camera to keep the covering in place. You want your camera to stay cool, so don’t keep it right against your body. Lott says it’s best to keep a camera in a waterproof outer pocket of a coat or in a separate bag. If temperatures are above zero, you won’t have a problem keeping a charge in batteries. But if it gets lower than that, keep batteries close to your skin. LCDs (Liquid Crystal Displays) are also affected by low temperatures. It may lose contrast (grey out), change the displayed information more slowly, and become quite sensitive to touch. If you press on it, it may change color. This is reversible: Once it warms up, it should be fine. “If it’s super cold, don’t bother even looking at your LCD,” said Lott. • Slog through the fog. If you come inside and your camera has been in the cold, you might have lens fog and condensation. Lott suggests that if you’re not in a hurry to look at your pictures, set your camera down in the warm indoors and let it acclimate gradually. If your camera is in your coat after a day of skiing, leave it in your coat pocket for a while. When shooting outside in the cold, watch your breath. This isn’t about minty freshness – it’s about condensation again. One exhale at the wrong time and your viewfinder will become covered in a film of ice. This is very difficult to clear without warming your camera. Try covering your mouth with the collar of your jacket to prevent this problem. • Coat closed, mind open. With all these tips in mind, don’t forget to marvel at the beauty of winter. Once you’re warm and dry and the technical dilemmas have been resolved, you’ll be free to engage in the art of photography. “If it looks pretty one way, turn around and see what’s behind you,” said Lott. “There can be great variances on the way the light looks on a snowy day. You might be surprised.”

Welcome to winter in Southwest Colorado, a region where nearly anyone can enjoy our sunshine, outdoor activities and the warm, friendly people. Mountains, canyons, lakes, rivers and deserts are all within a day’s drive. But sometimes we enjoy ourselves so much that we forget to take a few simple precautions, resulting in time away from the fun. The elevation in Colorado’s mountains can exceed 14,000 feet above sea level. Air becomes thinner at higher elevations and contains less oxygen. Physical exertion, rapid ascents and descents, and poor physical condition can increase a person’s chance of experiencing altitude sickness. Symptoms include headache, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and trouble sleeping. These symptoms typically occur after arrival and usually disappear around the fourth day. If symptoms worsen, linger, or you develop lung congestion and have trouble breathing, seek medical help immediately. In a small percentage of people, high altitude sickness can cause lifethreatening pulmonary or cerebral edema, which must be treated by a physician.

Altitude sickness

• Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills and narcotic pain medicine during your first few days at altitude. • Drink plenty of fluids and eat a high carbohydrate diet to fuel up for those outdoor sports. • Get extra rest and limit your activity for the first few days. • Spend an extra day and nigh at 5,000 feet before attempting activities at higher elevations.

Sun exposure

• Even though it’s winter, wear sunglasses, lip balm and a hat to avoid sun exposure. Always apply plenty of sunscreen and reapply throughout the day. Here are some facts about the ultraviolet rays of the winter sun: • Higher elevation levels expose you to 50 percent more UV radiation. • Fresh snow reflects up to 90 percent of the sun’s dangerous UV rays. • Up to 80 percent of UV radiation from the sun can pass through the clouds. UV radiation is even present on cloudy days. • UV exposure increases 5 percent every 1,000 feet above sea level. Source:

more important information on next page....

44 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

Winter driving

From equipping your vehicle for the worse-case scenario to navigating through difficult weather conditions, AAA Colorado has important information you will need to make your winter driving as uneventful as possible. One brochure, among others, “How to Go on Ice and Snow” is available in print or online in PDF format by visiting Here are a few driving tips to minimize your risk on the road: • Steer around an obstacle rather than braking, if possible. In winter weather, sudden braking can put you into a skid. • Do not rely on cruise control. • Control speed and avoid hard braking and sharp turns to reduce your risk of hydroplaning or sliding on ice. • Increase your following distance. Focus your attention as far ahead as possible – at least 20 to 30 seconds. • If you get stuck, and you are driving a vehicle with manual transmission, rock your way out by using second gear. • If you get stuck, and you are driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission, use low gear. Move forward until the vehicle stops, then shift into reverse and move backwards until momentum stops. Repeat this process using minimum power to prevent wheels from spinning and digging in deeper. • If necessary, create traction by using mats, gravel, or kitty litter.

October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 45

Sheep are herded down Mill Street in Bayfield as part of the Heritage Days celebration in Bayfield in the early fall. Herald photo

46 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

Situated in the Pine River Valley 20 miles east of Durango and about 45 minutes north of the New Mexico border, Bayfield is a pleasant, four-season town of about 1,700 residents. The town is adjacent to two million acres of San Juan National Forest, and draws fly-fishing enthusiasts, horseback riders and people who want a real Colorado vacation. The earliest residents of the valley were Ute Indians. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that the region was settled by non-Indians. The first herd of cattle was brought to the area in 1875 and the valley was further settled as ranchers discovered the fertile soil. The town was named after William A. Bay, who created a vision for the town in 1898 and later helped establish it in 1906. Agriculture is still a way of life for many Bayfield residents. In the spring and fall, visitors may be surprised and delighted to find themselves in a “lamb jam,” because herders use nearby highways to move livestock to seasonal pastures. Bayfield is downstream from Lake Vallecito, a beautiful body of water nestled among pine trees. With boating, fishing, hiking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing, this magnificent lake is a haven for those who love the outdoors. Lodging includes cabins, dude ranches, guest ranches, RV parks and motels. For more information, visit, or call the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce at (970) 884-7372.

Mesa Verde

One hundred and four years ago, Mesa Verde was the first national park set aside to preserve the works of humankind. Mesa Verde, which means “green table” in Spanish, was established to protect sites built by Ancestral Puebloans. Elaborate stone villages and collective communities were occupied from 600 A.D. to 1300 A.D. There are over 4,000 known archaeological sites in Mesa Verde, 600 of which are cliff dwellings. During the winter, none of the roads within the park are plowed except for the entrance road to the Visitor Center, so everything else is open to cross-country skis. This is one of the best ways to see the sites. There are also places to ski in Morefield Campground or the scenic 6-mile trail along Ruin Road’s Balcony House Loop. Fall and winter in Southwest Colorado is very unpredictable, so tours may not be available; but the Archaeological Museum and the Spruce Tree House are open all year. If you’re coming during the fall or winter, it is advised that you call the park first to check out what’s open in specific weather conditions. The entrance to Mesa Verde is 35 miles west of Durango on U.S. Highway 160. Call (970) 529-4465 or visit for more information.

December 9 Holiday Open House

Visitors are welcome at the Holiday Open House on Dec. 9 after dusk at Mesa Verde. Beautiful luminarias give Spruce Tree House a golden glow. Carolers, American Indian performers and light refreshments inspire the holiday spirit. This event is free, and the park will waive the entry fee. Call (970) 529-4465 for information.

Cortez Cortez is located between the San Juan Mountains to the east and the

desert of the Four Corners region to the west. A small town with a colorful history, Cortez was built as a staging area for workers building tunnels and irrigation ditches into the Montezuma Valley. Cortez is located in the middle of the most archaeologically dense region of the country. Thousands of Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) sites have been found in the area, including the world-famous ruins at Mesa Verde. Mesa Verde is a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site known for a number of cliff dwellings. The park offers hikes, scenic drives, and guided tours through some of the ruins. Also nearby is the Hovenweep National Monument, on both sides of the Colorado/Utah border, with six clusters of ruins. The Canyons of the Ancients surrounds much of Hovenweep and houses over 6,000 individual archaeological sites. For more information on winter events and activities, contact the Cortez Chamber of Commerce at (970) 565-3414 or visit

Luminarias light up Spruce Tree House during the Holiday Open House at Mesa Verde National Park. Photos courtesy of Rosemarie Salazar/Mesa Verde National Park

Cortez Cultural Center

Housed in a 1909 historic building, the Cortez Cultural Center contains a wealth of information on archaeology and American Indian culture. The center, founded in 1987, is a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide educational, cultural and artistic programs for members and the public. The center’s museum features interpretive exhibits on the Basketmaker and Pueblo periods of the Ancestral Pueblo people. Traveling exhibits and local artists’ work is featured in the art gallery. A mural on the back of the building depicts a traditional pueblo. Lectures, slide shows and music programs are offered September through May. Cortez Cultural Center is located in Cortez at 25 N. Market (one block off Main Street). It’s open year-round from Monday to Saturday. Volunteers are available to answer questions and make visitors feel at home. There is no fee for visiting the museum or attending the dances and cultural programs, but donations are accepted. For more information, call (970) 565-1151 or visit

Cortez Special Events November 25: Turkey Trot

Thanksgiving celebration at Parque de Vida, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Visit www.forpetssakehs.rg.

November 27: Christmas Craft Fair

Over 50 local artisans present handcrafted wares at Cortez Cultural Center. Call (970) 565-1151.

December 2: Taste of the Seasons

Four Seasons Greenhouse & Nursery hosts the Taste of the Seasons; wine tasting with food from area restaurants and silent auction to benefit United Way of Montezuma County. Call (970) 565-8274.

February 5: Sweethearts Ball

This mural is part of the Cortez Cultural Center. Photos courtesy of Brenda Hindmarsh

48 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

Dinner, dancing and art auction at the Cortez Elks Lodge to benefit the Cortez Cultural Center’s Gallery and Gift Shop at Main and Market. Call (970) 565-1151 or visit


The Mancos Valley is continuing a tradition as a 140-year ranching community at the edge of the San Juan National Forest and the base of the La Plata Mountains. Cattle drives, wagon and horseback rides are common in and around town. Fans of Louis L’Amour can explore the countryside where the author lived and penned many of his books. The town of Mancos – Gateway to Mesa Verde – has always been a jumping-off point for visitors to see the famed cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park. In recent years, Mancos has also developed as an arts community. Its small downtown has been energized with galleries and a community art studio. The area offers a variety of accommodations. Choose from motels in town to country cabins, B&Bs, dude ranches – or even a yurt at Mancos State Park. For more information contact the Mancos Valley Chamber of Commerce at (970) 533-7434 or visit

Mancos Special Events December 3 - 11 Mancos Old-Fashioned Christmas

Welcome the winter season with a gathering of friends around the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Greet Santa’s arrival on Grand Avenue. Visit the galleries and shops that are open for extended hours. There is plenty of fun planned for families, including “The Giving Tree,” the 5K Rudolph Run, Mancos Valley Chorus performances, town dinner and community band performance.

January and February: Mushing events

The Mancos Valley goes to the dogs with dog sled races, skijoring and other family fun events. Check the Chamber website for dates for The La Plata Paw.

Winter is… skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and tubing

Chicken Creek Nordic is right in our back yard. Volunteers groom the trails with the Mancos Recreation Committee. There is 5.6 miles of double track and skate lanes, plus 5.1 miles of single track in various loops and spurs, which offers a variety of choices for all levels of skiers. The area has beautiful views of the Mancos Valley, La Plata Mountains and Mesa Verde National Park. The Nordic park is for all levels, from novice to advanced.


With the Dolores River running through town and mountains on both sides of the valley, Dolores is one of the unique vacation spots in Colorado. There is spectacular scenery and mile after mile of the San Juan National Forest filled with elk and mule deer. Dolores was a railroad town for 60 years and had a major Rio Grande Southern station between Durango and Ridgway. There is a replica of Dolores’ original train depot standing on Railroad Avenue today, a Victorian-style structure that now houses the Rio Grande Southern Railroad Museum and the Dolores Visitors Center. The town of Dolores is along the San Juan Skyway, a state and federally designated scenic highway that has been called “America’s Most Beautiful Drive.” The 236-mile loop will take you over and around the spectacular San Juan Mountains and through the historic mining towns of Telluride, Ouray, Silverton and Durango. Ridgway, Mancos and Cortez are also along the way.

Dolores Special Events December 4 Christmas Tree Lighting and Bonfire at Town Hall

Free candy, cookies and hot chocolate and a library bedtime story with Santa. Contact the Dolores Public Library (970) 882-4127 or Chamber at (970) 882-4018.

December 4 Christmas Bazaar

Event held at Dolores Community Center. Contact Ruby at (970) 882-7717.

December 12 Open Houses, Poker Run

Contact the Chamber at (970) 882-4018.

Photos courtesy of Betsy Harrison

Ignacio is a ranching community in the southwest corner of Colorado, in a long valley bordered by the La Plata Mountains. Today Ignacio supplies the adjacent Southern Ute Indian Reservation and ranches scattered throughout this remote area. The town is also a crossroads for the gas and oil industry The community’s mix of ethnicities – Southern Utes, Hispanics and Anglos – makes it a fascinating and unique part of Colorado. In 1899, land in the eastern portion of the reservation was made available to non-Native Americans. At this time, the Hall brothers were running the trading post and post office. This and the narrow-gauge rail station to the south were all that existed in the way of a town. Hans Aspaas purchased the trading post in 1908. At the same time, the Ute wife of Civil War veteran John Taylor died, and the 169-acre allotment that he inherited was immediately sold to the Halls. In June of 1910, both the Hall and the Aspaas lands were filed with the La Plata County Clerk, and in 1913 Ignacio was incorporated. Igancio is also home to Ignacio Bike Week, the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally held every Labor Day weekend. An art community is developing in Ignacio, with a new gallery and several colorful murals painted on businesses and walls facing Goddard Avenue.

Sky Ute Casino Resort

The Sky Ute Casino Resort opened in 2008, providing a place to enjoy gaming as well as access to the history and culture of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. The casino has a 45,000-square-foot gaming floor that includes slots, poker, blackjack, craps, roulette and bingo. The resort also has lodging, five unique restaurants and the Rolling Thunder Lanes bowling alley. The casino is open 24 hours a day. For more information, call (970) 563-7777 or visit

“Keep Tobacco Sacred” is the name of this mural, which is one of several colorful displays created by young people along Goddard Avenue, Ignacio’s main street. Karla Sluis/Herald

50 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

Situated in a river valley at 7,792 feet in the heart of the Rocky Mountains lies the mountain town of Ouray, nicknamed “the Switzerland of America.” Ouray officially began in 1876 as a mining town. Today, modern visitors admire Ouray’s majestic peaks, cascading waterfalls, natural hot springs, the Million Dollar Highway, Ouray Ice Park and the town’s reputation for being the Jeep Capital of the World. Take a step back in time and experience this unique landscape. Enjoy the Victorian architecture, friendly mountain people, and a peaceful atmosphere that runs on its own time. Prior to the arrival of the miners, the Tabequache Indians, a nomadic band, traveled to this setting in the summer months to hunt game and to soak in what they called “sacred miracle waters.” In 1873, the famous Ute Chief, Ouray, reluctantly signed a government treaty releasing the Ute’s treasured San Juan Mountains to encroaching settlers. Chief Ouray was instrumental in keeping peace between the Ute Indians and the many settlers. The town was named in his honor. Although Ouray is best known for the Ouray Ice Festival, there are many winter activities to enjoy including backcountry skiing, cross country skiing, ice skating, sledding and snowmobiling.

Ouray Special Events December 4 - 5 Elks Club Arts & Crafts Sale Ouray Elks Lodge #492, 491 Main Street

December 11 Yule Night in Ouray

Yule night parade with bonfire, caroling and visit with Santa at 6 p.m. at Ouray Elks Lodge. Live Nativity.

December 19 Festivus for the Rest of Us

Sixth Avenue Street Party! 3-9 p.m. Cool carols and warm spirits. Food and seasonal beverages. Bonfires will warm you, so come join the fun. For more information, call (970) 325-4746.

December 31 New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Awesome, loud and powerful! For information on Christmas 2010 events, visit

January 7 - 9 16th Annual Ouray Ice Festival

A premiere ice climbing event that is internationally known as leader of the pack. It’s an open competition with qualifying rounds and finals. For more information, visit

January 14 - 29 Chicks with Picks

An ice climber digs in at the annual Ouray Ice Festival. Herald photo

52 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

Ice climbing clinics, competitions and the “Betty Ice Ball” is open to women of all abilities from beginners to more advanced climbers. For information, visit: and

Herald photo

Pagosa Springs is located in the Colorado Sunbelt, just 35 miles north of the New Mexico border and along the Western slope of the Continental Divide. The combination of high desert plateau and Rocky Mountains to the north and east of town creates an unusually mild climate. Pagosa Springs is located in the upper San Juan Basin, surrounded by the 3-million-acre San Juan Forest and adjacent to the largest contiguous wilderness area in the nation, the Weminuche Wilderness. The town is a mix of Southwest and Western cultures. Pagosa Springs is the county seat of Archuleta County with a town population of 1,591 and county-wide population of 12,386. The town derives its name from the Ute Indian name “Pagosah,” which means “healing” or “boiling waters.” The Ute Indians discovered the healing powers of the hot springs. A few centuries later, the town still welcomes travelers seeking a soaking respite in the mineral water.

Special Events in Pagosa Springs December 3 Festival of Trees

6-8:30 p.m. Annual event at the Community Center. For more information, call (970) 264-4152.

December 3 & 4 Parade of Stores

Two shopping days of “no sales tax” sales throughout Pagosa stores. For more information, call (970) 264-2360.

December 3 Christmas in Pagosa

Christmas in Pagosa at the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center from 3-6 p.m. Photos with Santa, cookies, lighting of the Chamber at 5:30 pm. For more information call (970) 264-2360.

54 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

December 18 & 19 Celebration Choir

Presented at the Cross Road Christian Fellowship, this will be the third year the choir has performed. For more information, call Pastor Wiggers at (970) 731-4384.

February 19 - 21 WinterFest

Three days of events over President’s Day weekend, ranging from the crazy “Anything Goes” Downhill Sled Race, Nordic Ski Races, Nordic Disc Golf Competition, Rail Jam featuring amateur and professional skiers and snowboarders, the Penguin Plunge into the San Juan River, Ski Races at Wolf Creek and more. For more information, call the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce at (970) 264-2360.

October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 55

The train offers breathtaking views on the way to Silverton. Photo courtesy of D&SNG Railroad

Once the stomping ground of silver kings and railroad giants, Silverton survives today as one of Colorado's most endearing destinations. The Silverton district opened legally to miners in 1874, following the Brunot Treaty with the Utes. An estimated 2,000 men moved into the region that year. They came from across the U.S., many parts of Europe and even China, to endure severe winters and dangerous mining conditions in their pursuit of the minerals they hoped would make them rich.

Today, Silverton is a quiet, high-altitude town surrounded by breathtaking peaks of the San Juan Mountains. Located on the upper Animas River, the sturdy town has retained its original Western character of wide streets and historical Victorian buildings. There is only one paved road, and the entire town of Silverton has been designated a National Historic District by the U.S. Department of the Interior. For more information, contact the Silverton Chamber of Commerce at (970) 387-5654 or visit

Silverton events on the next page... 56 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 57

Silverton Events Calendar December 4 Town Tree Trimming

Silverton students decorate the town Christmas tree with homemade ornaments. or call (970) 903-5647.

December 4 Yule Log Celebration & Sugar Plum Festival Children are invited to the Kendall Mountain Recreation Area to search for the Yule Log and all the treasures that lead to it. The child who finds the Yule Log receives a ride back down the hill to light the ceremonial fire. A caroling parade will then continue into the Community Center and receive treats from the Sugar Plum Fairy. Families are asked to bring a holiday dessert to share. For information, call (970) 903-5647 or visit

December 11 Holiday Bazaar

Local craftsmen and artists sell their holiday merchandise at the American Legion Hall. Karla Sluis/Herald

58 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

December 24 Santa Comes to Town, courtesy of the Silverton Fire Department

Greet Santa at the Town Tree for those last minute Christmas requests – a Silverton tradition.

January 22 - 24 and January 29 - 31 Silverton Avalanche School

Level I course. For information, call (970) 799-3406 or visit

Late January Snowscape Winter Festival

Come experience Silverton’s biggest event of the winter. Activities include the parade of lights and ceremonial bonfire, cardboard sledding derby, snowshoe races, Yukigassen snow battle, Horseshoe Tournament, ski and snowboard competitions, Snow Golf Tournament, and Silverton’s Alley Challenge Cross Country Ski Race. Visit or call (970) 903-5647.

 Ski  Snowboard  Sled  Ice Skate  Snowshoe ! SKI FOR ONLY $15

... and a warm lodge with views of it all!

 Lift Tickets only $10-$15/day  Ski/Snowboard Rental Packages less than $20/day!  Cross Country, Snowshoes, Sleds and Ice Skates Available  Enjoy Hot Drinks and Snacks in the Viewing Lodge  Perfect for Weddings, Retreats and Conferences  Hours: Friday - Sunday 11am - 4pm

1 Kendall Place (14th Street) Silverton, CO 81433 970-387-5228 October 10, 2010 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide 59

Herald photo

In a secluded mountain valley 8,000 feet above sea level, Vallecito Lake is one of the largest and most beautiful bodies of water in Colorado. Vallecito, Spanish for “Little Valley,” and ancestral home to many of Colorado’s Ute Indians, became the name of the sparkling waters of the lake it surrounded. Located in the southwestern part of the state just 25 miles from Durango, Vallecito provides a perfect base for enjoying the Four Corners area and its many wonders. With 12 miles of shoreline, Vallecito sits in the heart of the unspoiled San Juan National Forest and offers a variety of accommodations and recreational opportunities. More than 2,700 surface acres of water and 22 miles of shoreline provide ample opportunities for winter sports. Vallecito is a great location for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, ice fishing and snowmobiling. After a day in the snow, take time to enjoy one of Vallecito’s many restaurants, which are open during the winter. For more information, contact the Vallecito Lake Chamber of Commerce at (970) 247-1573 or visit

60 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

Aaah Massage Animas Surgical Brown Bear Café Browns Shoe Fit Browns Sport Shoe Buzztown Canyon Music Woodworks Comfort Inn Cosmopolitan Restaurant Cyprus Café Directory Plus Durango Antique Market Durango Arts Center Durango Discovery Museum Durango Dog Ranch Durango Herald Durango Herald Small Press Durango Mountain Resort Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Rail Road Durango Sports Club (Buzztown) Economy Nissan Fireside Cabins Francisco’s Restaurant Gazpacho Restaurant Growing Spaces Hesperus Ski Patrol Historic Taos Inn Honeyville Ice Pirates Backcountry Adventures IDTV (Inside Durango TV) Image Counts Justin McCarty Excavation & Construction Kendall Mountain Ski Area Mercy Regional Medical Center Mount Taylor Winter Quadrathlon Mountain Landing Guest Quarters Ore House Restaurant Pagosa Springs Tourism Committee Pine Needle Mountaineering Red Mountain RV Park Silverton Chamber Silverton Inn & Hostel Ski Barn Sky Ute Casino & Resort Skywalker Construction LLC Southern Ute Cultural Center & Museum Storyteller Theaters Strater Hotel T’s Smokehouse & Grill The Buck Stops Here The Grand Imperial Hotel The Pickle Barrel The Stellar Bakery & Pizzeria The Tellar House Hotel Tippy Canoe Town Plaza Merchants Assoc. Trimble Spa & Natural Hot Springs Women’s Resource Center Yarn

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62 • Southwest Colorado Winter Guide • October 10, 2010

2010 Winter Guide  

2010 Durango Colorado winter guide.

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