Calling all ski bums! The road trip from Santa Fe to Durango and Purgatory is a must. Do not take route 550. This is the route everyone from Albuquerque takes and it will get you there a bit faster. But the journey is a big part of a road trip and the 550 route does not offer much. So you may ask, what path should I take? Head north on 285, through Espanola, Abiquiu and Chama. Up over the continental divide and into Pagosa Springs. The road, the views and the mighty rockies make for an incredible journey. Head on over to Durango and you have arrived in a unique little western town.
On arriving in Durango you must stop at the historic Strater hotel and have lunch in the Diamond Bell. The waitress are dressed in period tight little corsets, fishnet stockings with a feather in their hair. Oh, and the food’s good too.
The drive to Purgatory ski area will continue the impressiveness of the road trip. Massive mountains rise up on both sides of the road. The Sangre De Christos around Santa Fe seem puny in comparison.
Now for the skiing.
Purgatory is a big ski area and I will be honest, I was a bit intimidated. I have skied many big areas but not for several years. This was my first road trip to Purgatory and I was totally unfamiliar with the mountain. But I gave it a go. The snow was hard packed which is not my favorite but you take what the mountain gives you. The sun came out, I was on the mountain and life was good.
Two hours of skiing and it was time to call it a day and find a good Durango brew pub. The Steamworks proved to be the perfect place. Good food and good beer. Just a short walk from the Stater down charming Main Street so no bothering with parking and driving back after sampling a variety of their excellent brews.
Full Ski Day.
The next day was a full ski day and the final day of the Durango road trip. The sun was out and the sky blue. A great ski day. The only down side was the hard packed snow. I had planned to ski all day but by 2:00 my legs were telling me ‘It’s time to call it a day’.
Back to Santa Fe.
The next day my Durango road trip came to an end. The drive back to Santa Fe was impressive as always. A herd of Pronghorn Antelope close to the road added an unexpected bonus to the incredible mountain scenery.
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