“We’re quite happy and pleased. (The Ice Creek project) is a need that Purgatory identified quite a long time ago and it’s a nice piece that fits in between our never-ever terrain and then getting beginners to the next step…We’re kind of light on our low-intermediate terrain and this will fill that gap nicely.”– Dave Rathbun, Purgatory Resort’s General Manager.
Purgatory Resort’s forty-five-acre Ice Creek expansion has officially been approved by the U.S. Forest Service, but don’t expect to see it come to fruition for at least a couple of years. The Durango Herald reports that the resort’s next priorities will be “expanding parking areas and updating existing infrastructure like the resort’s snowmaking system and electrical network.” Numerous environmental restoration projects must also be completed by the resort before construction begins. According to the Durango Telegraph, they are hoping to begin construction in the Summer of 2023, but resort officials don’t know how long building the new pod will take.
The ski resort is planning on adding four beginner/intermediate trails that will be serviced by a 3400 foot long fixed-grip triple lift in the Ice Creek area. The project is important for the mountain, as Purgatory currently lacks terrain for those in between the beginner and intermediate level of experience. Snowmobile trails will also be added around the area.
Environmental concerns have delayed the project, as the San Juan Citizens Alliance voiced concern over the effects on the habitat of Colorado River cutthroat trout, Canada lynx, and water quality. In response to these concerns, “the Forest Service included 15 pages of mitigation and restoration measures Purgatory Resort must complete as a part of various developments, five of which the ski area must finish before it can begin construction on Ice Creek.” Mountain Capital Partners, which owns Purgatory, submitted its own objection to these requirements, seeing completing many of these by 2025 as unrealistic, and has requested a meeting with the U.S. Forest Service. Image Credits: Purgatory Resort, Durango Herald