Hesperus Ski Area, nestled west of Durango, will remain inactive for the 2024-25 season, as conveyed to pass-holders on Tuesday. Renowned for its small-town charm, this single-lift ski destination faced closure last season due to a malfunctioning gearbox on the Bighorn Chairlift. Despite being under the ownership of Mountain Capital Partners, which also operates Purgatory Resort, the ski hill’s fate hangs on the uncertain prospect of snowmaking.

With the high cost of rebuilding the Bighorn’s gearbox, Mountain Capital Partners hesitates to invest until the viability of the ski area is ensured. The key to this viability lies in snowmaking capabilities, a plan envisaged since MCP’s acquisition of Hesperus in 2016. Situated at an elevation just over 8,800 feet, Hesperus heavily relies on natural snow, making consistent holiday openings precarious.

Dave Rathbun, General Manager of Purgatory and Hesperus, underscores the financial challenge, noting that the ski area has only broken even once in eight years. Despite efforts to secure water for snowmaking, MCP remains at an impasse, prompting a pause in investment decisions.

Uphill access, favored by backcountry enthusiasts, also faces suspension due to the lack of accompanying facilities. Rathbun emphasizes the need for amenities such as bathrooms and maintenance services, which are currently absent at Hesperus.

Nonetheless, MCP remains committed to exploring alternatives and preserving Hesperus’s legacy as a community hub. The decision to exclude Hesperus from the upcoming Power Pass sales reflects the uncertain future of the ski area.

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