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A Weekend in Purgatory

The 2022-2023 snow season has been recording breaking for the western half of North America… sorry East Coast; maybe next year? California broke a 40-year record for total snowfall, and it’s not even April yet! Colorado Springs saw 4.2 inches of snow in one day on Valentine’s Day this year, breaking a record holder of 81 years. Articles suggest this season might be the best snowpack in Utah’s history. Ski resort staff spent this season constantly digging; even closing resorts for a day or two as a necessity to clear lift paths and groom runs.

As I look back on this season I will fondly think of snow. My Wicked Dude’s second season did not disappoint, especially following last winter’s minimal snowfall. There were more than a handful of mornings I woke up and immediately checked the news for snow reports and work closings, much to my joy! But this record-breaking snowfall also brought some unexpected complications for winter trip travel.

In February we took a group of MWD travelers to the western slope of Colorado to ski at Purgatory. As the departure date drew nearer, the storm predictions grew stronger. Two days before departure I found myself constantly checking the weather while studiously studying road maps to plan alternative routes. With the help of friends we thought we found an alternative route which would eliminate some of the often heavily-hit mountain passes. Thank goodness for this early prep, because low and behold the state troopers closed the main route, leaving us with my alternative plan to travel further south into New Mexico to bypass. Spirits were high and alcohol was flowing for our backseat passengers as we hit the road, but mother nature continued to challenge us when we found New Mexico also closed their nearest mountain pass. Through creative old-school map skills we were able to continue south and wind our way around the mountain to loop back northwest, ultimately finding ourselves in Durango after a six hour travel extension.

Spirits remained high as we saw the beautiful mountain villa we would be calling home for the next four days. We started the first full day hitting the slopes of Purgatory (could have made first chair if not for a slight driveway fiasco) skiing from open until close before enjoying dinner from a really cool local Brewery. Our second day followed with hours of skiing new trails before heading to Durango Dog Ranch to love on some sled dogs and learn how to mush. Their team of dogs are so adorable, I highly recommend checking them out! We followed our day of activities up with a send-off dinner in downtown Durango where we walked the cute street of shops before demolishing some tacos and margaritas which set the mood for a long night of drinking and games at the house.

Ultimately our group of MWD thrill-seekers outlasted mother nature, and after numerous lessons learned and creative on-the-fly solutions for surviving the storm, we were able to ski two days of almost untouched record-breaking snow having one of the best ski weekends yet!


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