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:
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.)
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or register the day of at Backcountry Experience in the Plaza.
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.
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.