Capital Improvements for 2016-2017

$20 Million in Mountain Improvements Since 2015

After investing $10 million in one of the largest mountain improvement efforts in the industry last year, the largest ski area collective in the southwest announced another $10 million in mountain improvements for the 2016-2017 winter season. Stay up to date on Purgatory’s progress by subscribing to our e-newsletter, and enjoy all of these improvements this winter on a single season pass, the Power Pass.

Purgatory Improvements

Purgatory Resort Google LogoNew Surface Lift on the Backsidesnowboarder riding powder slope blue sky

In 2016, Purgatory will install its 11th lift, a two-way surface lift that will transport guests between the exit trail on Lower Bull Run and last winter’s new Legends Lift 8 high-speed quad. This installation, which is an approved project in Purgatory’s master development plan, is part of a multi-year project to ultimately connect Lifts 3, 5 and 8. The new lift is expected to open December 2016. In 2015, Purgatory replaced the Legends Lift with a high-speed detachable quad, successfully completing one of the most ambitious and impactful changes at the Durango ski area in years.

View Map of lift and trail improvements for 2016/2017

New Backside Trails & Improvements to the Access of Lift 8

Mountain crews plan to cut at least two new trails on Purgatory’s backside, which offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Colorado. In addition to these new trails, Purgatory announced it will improve access from the previous midway loading station to the bottom of the Legends Lift 8 for intermediate skiers and snowboarders.  Purgatory’s mountain team is analyzing possible solutions to improve access to Lift 8, and plans to significantly enhance the new Legends Bypass trail this summer.

Improved Snowmaking

Purgatory will grow its snowmaking fleet while improving the resort’s snowmaking delivery system, which will allow snowmakers to make snow earlier in the season and improve energy efficiency.

Arizona Snowbowl Improvements

Logo_SnowbowlArizona’s First High-Speed 6-PackBreckenridge6PackAZSB

Resort officials announced they are building Arizona’s first high-speed six-person lift in 2016. The Grand Canyon Express will provide high-speed access to more than 85% of the mountain with a five-minute ride time, and officials expect to open the lift as early as November 2016.

Not only will this new lift be Arizona’s first and only high-speed 6-pack, but it is just the second chairlift of this capacity in the Southwest (Purgatory Resort also features a high-speed 6-pack).

Photo courtesy of Leitner-Poma. This image of Breckenridge’s 6-Pack represents the lift that Arizona Snowbowl will build in 2016.

Sipapu Improvements


New Trail ExpansionSipapuLodge

Mountain crews will complete the Howdy Extension for the 2016-2017 winter. This effectively extends both Howdy and Lower Bambi while adding nearly 5 acres of skiable terrain. Last winter, Sipapu added its first quad chairlift (and third new lift in five years); guests who ride Sipapu’s new quad will enjoy access to the expanded terrain.

Lodge Remodel

Sipapu’s historic lodge and day room will undergo a massive remodel, which will reinstate the popular day room, a multi-purpose gathering room, while significantly improving the lodge’s layout and function.

Pajarito Improvements

Pajarito Logo Birdie 1

Water in the PondPajaritoTrees

In 2015, Pajarito Mountain Ski Area nearly filled its 10 million gallon holding pond with water for snowmaking – a first for the Los Alamos ski area. The added water enabled mountain crews to make more snow and open its slopes November 27, 2015 – one of the earliest starts in resort history. As snowmakers begin eyeing the snowmaking season for 2016, they’re headed into the summer with as much as 6 million gallons of water already collected.

New Trails & Fire Mitigation

Pajarito will work with the Los Alamos Ski Club to manage the ski area’s 700 acres of trees, targeting those that were damaged by recent fires. This work – which includes future fire mitigation – will create new trails and improve the mountain experience. 

All Resorts


Additional Snowmaking & Trail Improvements

As part of managing partner James Coleman’s ongoing commitment to mountain improvements, every resort will see expanded snowmaking infrastructure and trail improvements/additions.



A Summary of 2015 Improvements


  • Replaced Legends Lift 8 with a high-speed detachable quad
  • Returned the resort to its original name, Purgatory
  • Built two new trails off of Ray’s Ridge
  • Added snowmaking on Purgatory’s backside

Arizona Snowbowl:

  • Added the new Humphreys Peak Quad, Snowbowl’s first quad and the ski area’s first new lift in three decades
  • Began planning and engineering for the approved Grand Canyon Express, Arizona’s first high-speed 6-pack lift
  • Added snowmaking to service the future Grand Canyon Express and on key trails below Midway
  • Expanded the popular Ridge and Phoenix trails


  • Added the resort’s first quad chairlift
  • Added a new trail off of the new quad
  • Added new snowmaking infrastructure for the mountain’s staple “first to open, last to close” trails


  • Added a new trail
  • Improved water collection efforts for snowmaking