Celebrate Snow at Durango Mountain Resort’s Winterfest

A jump onto a US Airbag at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Photo Credit: US Airbag.
A jump onto a US Airbag at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Photo Credit: US Airbag.

Winterfest at Durango Mountain Resort kicks off Friday and runs all weekend to celebrate all things snow-related. Among the many cold-weather activities are snow tubing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, ice climbing and, of course, skiing and snowboarding — including a giant, inflatable airbag that will allow novices and pros to try new jumps and tricks with a guaranteed soft landing.

Winterfest runs Jan. 17-20 at Durango Mountain Resort, about 30 minutes north of Durango on U.S. Highway 550. Some activities will be available beginning Thursday, but Winterfest doesn’t officially start until Friday. Here’s a breakdown of Winterfest activities throughout the weekend:

Catch Big Air (Without Breaking Bones)

US Airbag is making its debut at Winterfest this year! From Friday through Monday, skiers and snowboarders can try new tricks off a 14-foot-kicker and land on the giant inflatable airbag. The jump and airbag will be set up in DC Terrain Park on the front of the mountain. You can buy tickets online or on the day of the event. (Airbaggers, as we like to call them, must also have day lift tickets or a 2013/2014 season pass.)

Dog Sledding

Who hasn’t fantasized about driving a team of sled dogs through the Yukon wilderness in a never-ending search for gold? Well, now you can do just that — except you won’t be driving a dog sled, you’ll be riding be riding on one. Oh, and instead of searching for gold, the Durango Dog Ranch team will pull you along a scenic trail through the snow-covered terrain of the San Juans. Call 970-259-0694 or visit Guest Services for more information and reservations.

Ice Climbing

Kling Mountain Guides will take climbers to a natural ice formation in Cascade Canyon to scale sheets of ice. The canyon is a 100 percent natural ice park and is perfect for beginners or experts. Trained and certified guides will train you how to use the tools and ice climbing boots, as well as tips on how to position your body and maintain control and balance. Reservations are required. Call 970-259-1708 or email info@klingmountainguides.com, or register the day of at Backcountry Experience in the Plaza.

Snow Tubing

Grab a tube, grab a friend and hold on! Try not to bounce off as you fly down three lanes on the Snow Coaster Tubing Hill in the Columbine area of the resort. Tubes are available for rent, and personal tubes are not allowed. Tickets are available in the ticket office in Purgatory Village Plaza or at the Columbine Ticket Office.

Sleigh Rides

Hitch a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh during Winterfest! Teams of draft horses from Buck’s Livery will pull sleighs through the snow-covered countryside of the San Juan National Forest and Needles Mountain Range. Keep warm with blankets and hot chocolate as the sleigh glides past spruce trees and aspen groves. Sleighs depart the base area at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. during Winterfest, and each sleigh can hold up to six people. Call 970-749-0858 for reservations and more information.

Backcountry Experiences

Guests will have two chances to get into the backcountry on Saturday, Jan. 18. Backcountry experience will provide Nordic skis and snowshoe demos from 9 a.m. to noon. The Nordic Center at Durango Mountain Resort (just north of the resort’s entrance) features 20 km of forest trails that are groomed for cross-country skiing, skate skiing and snowshoeing. There’s also a warming hut that features a pot-belly stove, and tables along the trail offer the perfect place to picnic or just take in the view. The Nordic Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Call 970-385-2114 for more information.
Also on Saturday, visitors can enjoy a guided backcountry snowshoeing experience with Alpenglow Snowshoe Tours from 3:30-7:30 p.m. The last chairlift up the mountain delivers snowshoers to guides who will lead tours down slopes that are now closed to skiers. Guides will point out local wildlife, animal tracks, geological formations and native plants and trees, and the group will get to watch the sunset before heading to the Powderhouse restaurant for drinks (adult or otherwise) and complimentary snacks. The ticket price includes the chair lift ride, snowshoes, guide, beverages and appetizers. Call 970-385-2147 for more information and to make reservations.
Sure, Winterfest may be at Durango Mountain Resort, but the Durango Quality Inn is a short drive from the resort and smack in the heart of Durango. Stay with us at the Durango Quality Inn while you enjoy all that Winterfest has to offer. Book your room today!

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