ON THE COVER

The regal Hermosa Cliffs march northward above the still waters of Haviland Lake. The image was captured one early morning in fall by local photographer MaryAnne Nelson. Haviland is about 18 miles north of Durango, with an 80-acre lake, hiking trails, fishing and a campground.

FEATURES

Fit at Fifty-Plus ~ Purgatory Picks Up Speed
After all the whiz-bang excitement of last season - the celebration of 50 years, the opening of the new Legends Express Lift, the introduction of James Coleman as the new resort owner, and the reclaiming of the Purgatory Resort name - you might think that things would slow down a bit this year. But indeed, Purgatory just seems to be picking up speed. For season 2016-17, plans are underway to open again before Thanksgiving (Nov. 19) for the second year in a row. New face of the resort James Coleman - a Durango skier and businessman originally from Texas and the managing partner of the investment group that owns Purgatory, Arizona Snowbowl and New Mexico's Pajarito and Sipapu ski resorts - last month announced plans to add a fifth snow playground: local favorite Hesperus Ski Area. Also new for year 51 at Purgatory are on-mountain improvements, including a surface lift called the T- 3. Further development is taking place in town, with a new retail, rental and repair shop being constructed at 2615 Main Ave. The three-story remodeled building (formerly home to Tommy Peterson's Hassle Free Sports) will also be the new corporate headquarters for the five ski resorts. The addition of Hesperus Ski Area to the new fleet of five has local snow riders especially delighted because of the long tradition there of offering lighted night skiing...

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Rough & Ready ~ Silverton Mountain After 15 Years
by Sven Brunso
In 1999, when they moved to Silverton, young entrepreneurs Aaron and Jen Brill had a vision to build a ski area unlike anything in North America. Their idea was to create lift-served access to backcountry terrain, free from crowds and grooming and what they and their friends considered the "overly sanitized" experience found at most commercial ski resorts in the United States. With a handful of mining claims (about 220 acres) and a 20th of the money they figured it would take to build out their dream, they started the process. Through years of negotiations, permitting, lawyers, and meetings with skeptical townspeople and doubting officials, the Brills struggled on. According to a recent article in The Denver Post, "It took five years of intensive review by the Bureau of Land Management to approve [Brill's] plan to access 1,300 public acres surrounding his ski area, creating the only BLM ski area in the lower 48 and the first new ski area in Colorado since 1983." The area finally opened on Jan. 19, 2002. The Brills took the gamble that skiers and snowboarders would find Silverton Mountain to be the mecca of big terrain covered in deep powder that they envisioned. Silverton Mountain has flour ished, today a "bucket-list" experience for powder-lovers looking for an authentic backcountry challenge...

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A Colorado Centennial Farm ~ The Zink Family Celebrates 100 Years at Waterfall Ranchgreg_ryder
by Indiana Reed
In the middle of the Animas Valley's prized lush green land sits a venerable landmark, the Waterfall Ranch. In early 2017, it will be nameda Colorado Centennial Farm - a distinction granted to operating farms that have been in a single family for at least 100 years. The Colorado Centennial Farms program was created to recognize the importance of agriculture in the state's economy and to acknowledge the historical significance of a single family on the land for 100 years. As Ed Zink says, it all started with the land, which has sustained many generations. He and his wife, Patti, are just the current caretakers, he says. Earlier than the Zink family, occupancy on the ranchland can be dated back to A.D. 500 to 900, with the arrival of early Native Americans. "They could have chosen anywhere to live," says Ed. "There was a reason they lived here. This valley is some of the most productive soil in La Plata County." The ranch, which is named for the waterfall that cascades down the steep red rocks behind the site of the original cabin, was homesteaded by the Lambert family in 1877, then sold to Annie and Tom Wigglesworth. Upon Tom's passing, Annie sold the property to John James Zink, Ed's grandfather. John James had been in Durango since 1910, acquiring parcels up in the valley before finally settling in at Waterfall Ranch. The date of purchase was recorded as May 31, 1917...

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Opus Hut ~ Winter's Backcountry Adventure
by Sven Brunso
Just below the summit of Ophir Pass, the Opus Hut sits in the middle of a lifetime's worth of skiable terrain. At more than 11,800 feet in elevation, the backcountry hut is the brainchild of Bob Kingsley, a 50-year-old New York native who lives in nearby Ophir. A Colorado State University graduate, Bob says OPUS, which he spells all in caps, is an acronym for Ophir Pass Ultimate Ski. Last winter, photographers Sven Brunso and Rob Haggart ventured to the hut 3.5 miles above U.S. Highway 550, about 5 miles north of Silverton. What follows is Sven's first-person account ~~~ Heading north, Silverton is shrinking in my rearview mirror. I stop west of the road in a parking area surrounded by head-high snowbanks. Peeking out from one of the drifts is a sign for Ophir Pass; I know I'm in the right place. My skiing partner, Rob, and I are heading toward the Opus Hut, which sits just below the summit of Ophir Pass. Winter access is via San Juan CR 8 or Ophir Pass Road, now buried under a thick mantle of white. The skiing begins gradually upward, and I settle into a rhythm of putting one foot in front of the other, my climbing skins moving me forward. After 30 minutes we emerge from the thick trees and are greeted by a stiff wind and a breathtaking view of a majestic alpine amphitheater. Dozens of towering peaks loom upward, including South Lookout Peak, at 13,380 feet in elevation. With each gust of wind, fresh snow, courtesy of an overnight storm, cascades in tendrils off the highest peaks...


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DEPARTMENTS

Excursions
All Aboard! Winter on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gaugetrain
by Indiana Reed
Curious about those families walking around downtown in pajamas? It's all part of the fun, since The Polar Express is in town and taking passengers to the "North Pole" through Jan. 3, 2017. The Polar Express train is one of the most popular winter excursions on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (D&SNG); last year more than 3,000 young - and young at heart - fans of the classic tale experienced it "live" aboard the train (truly donning pajamas to get in the spirit of the season). The special train is based on the Chris Van Allsburg children's book, a Caldecott Medal winner, published in 1985. Durango visitors take delight in the all-encompassing spirit of winter in the San Juan Mountains. Throughout the season, the historic, authentic steam engines power the trains along steep, rocky climbs, offering up stunning majesty seen only during the snowy months. Winter in the San Juans is, indeed, magical...

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Top Picks ~ What's New to See and Domomix
Symphony's New Season Resounds ~ audiences rave about the 2016-17 season, the first for new music director Thomas Heuser; Hozhoni Days Powwow ~ many hundreds of participants and spectators gather each spring for this colorful event on the campus of Fort Lewis College; Durango Wine Experience ~ the 11th annual wine extravaganza is held at a variety of venues in downtown Durango, May 4-6; The Explosive, Exciting Sport of Skijoring ~ involving a skier, a cowboy, a horse and a rope, skijoring is a challenge that explores the outer edges of high-speed and dangerous competition; Momix Takes Flight in Concert Hall Performance ~ the dance-illusionist company creates on the Durango stage the desert landscape of the American Southwest with its inspired program Opus Cactus; Just in Time...Elf Jr. the Musical ~ "Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts." From an unknown author, the phrase introduces the theme of the holiday musical; New Treasures Exhibit Opens ~ Pablita Velarde's painting Two Koshares is housed in a new, permanent exhibit at the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College; Galaxies Collide at Snowdown ~ Durangalactic, an Intergalactic Snowdown, is the theme for the Feb. 1-5, 2017, festival of fun; Festival of Trees Dazzles ~ visitors to downtown Durango treasure the annual festival for a chance to see (and bid on) a forest of decorated Christmas trees at the D&SNGRR museum.

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Performing Arts ~ Community Concert Hall Celebrates 20th Anniversaryorchestra
January 19, 1993. Heavy, wet snow had fallen in the region - 4 feet in 48 hours - and then it rained. As it happened, it was "the perfect storm" for Fort Lewis College. "I got the call at 5:35 that morning," says Deborah Uroda, at the time college-relations officer. "I was told the roof had collapsed on the Fine Arts Auditorium. I was needed up at the college." When Uroda arrived, the east side of the building appeared to be fine, but walking to the other side, the devastation was, as she says, "mind-boggling." The collapse of the 400-seat venue had occurred a mere two hours before students were to arrive for the first morning class. "We were incredibly lucky," says Uroda. "No one was hurt, thank God." The building collapse set in motion a huge communitywide effort. Then Fort Lewis College president Joel Jones viewed it as an "opportunity in a problem." Bob Dolphin, then FLC vice president for business and finance, was asked after he received the "wake-up" call from Jones, what would happen that day. He's on record as saying, "By noon we're going to start planning a new concert hall."...

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Getaways ~ Day Trips in Any Directionaztec
Telluride - historic mining town that's also home to the largest ski resort in southwestern Colorado; Wolf Creek - one of Colorado's oldest ski areas, begun in 1939, is just a mile from the Continental Divide and is famous for its average snowfall of 430 inches per year; Silverton - a designated National Historic District, Silverton has only one paved street but plenty of spirited saloons; Ignacio - a ranching community and crossroads for the oil-and-gas industry, Ignacio is within the Southern Ute Indian Reservation and home to the Sky Ute Casino Resort; Mesa Verde - special in winter and home to world-famous prehistoric cliff dwellings; Aztec - home to the Aztec Ruins National Monument, which has an impressive three-story, 450-room pueblo and the nation's largest reconstructed Great Kiva.

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Diversions ~ Selected Area Events

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Galleries and Goods ~ Eye on the Arts Scene
This department offers a listing of shopping options in Durango that feature fine art or unique accessories plus events in the world of arts and crafts.

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Dining Showcase
Eolus Bar & Dining ~ Achieving Peak Performanceeolus
by Indiana Reed

Aim high. Mount Eolus is the tallest peak in our corner of paradise - a Fourteener - and what better goal for a fine-dining establishment than to conquer the peak? Eolus Bar & Dining does just that. Exceptional cuisine, exemplary service - and partners James Allred and chef Chris Crowl continue to aim high. Eolus is an outgrovwth of what diners may remember as Cosmopolitan. Same location, same chef and front-of-house manager, but one less partner. Allred and Crowl helped make the old Cosmo what it was and now are moving the restaurant forward together as Eolus. "I've been cooking in this kitchen for nine years now, and I'm certainly proud of all we've done along the way. Eolus was the next step," says Crowl, a Culinary Institute of America graduate who creates an ever- evolving and eclectic menu. Seasonal, fresh foods from local producers are always featured. "That part is awesome," he says of working with local farmers. "We'll always have a few favorites that are going to be menu staples; but whatever is in season, that's what's going to be on my menu."...

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Dining Guide
A complete listing of restaurants in Durango.

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Giving in Style
An Evening of Luxury and Pleasure for Music in the Mountains Fans
by Indiana Reed
By definition, a sybarite is a person devoted to luxury and pleasure. And it could be said it was five times the luxury and pleasure on July 11, as Sybarite5 performed for a special Music in the Mountains fundraiser at the Glacier Club, a semiprivate golf resort situated about 15 miles north of town. Sybarite5, composed of talented musicians Sami Merdinian and Sarah Whitney, violin; Angela Pickett, viola; Laura Metcalf, cello; and Louis Levitt, bass, has "taken audiences worldwide by storm, forever changing perceptions of chamber-music performances," says one review. Said to satisfy audiences' love of Mozart, as well as their inner rock stars, Sybarite5 dazzled the nearly 100 Music in the Mountains supporters in attendance...


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LIVING IN STYLE

Living in Style

 

 

History

Arts and Culture

Dream Home

Nordic

In Memoriam

 

 


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History
The Birth of a Ski Town ~ Durango Skis!rope_tow
by Robert McDaniel

Durango is a ski town. Bordered by the fantastic San Juan Mountains, it has earned that reputation by producing national- and international-caliber skiers, supporting the development of a major ski resort, and nurturing its own beloved ski hill right in town. Skiing first came to the area with the earliest white settlers, who used skis - known then as snow shoes - for winter work and travel. One documented early user was Norwegian pioneer Hans Aspaas, who carried mail and supplies between Silverton and Del Norte as early as 1874, the year settlers first wintered over in Baker's Park, just north of Durango. For decades afterward, locals used skis to reach mines, do ranch work, travel and, soon, just to have fun. The rise of recreational skiing in the United States began in earnest in the 1930s. The 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid and the 1936 Winter Games in Garmisch, Germany, changed the way Americans regarded winter, teaching millions how to have snowy fun on skis. North America's early rope tows were built in those years. Soon, equipment improvements such as skis with metal edges, cable bindings and stiff leather boots made skiing more enjoyable...

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Arts and Culture
Open Shutter Retrospective: Fine Art Photography in Durango
cypress
To bring people together through art was the simple mission envisioned by photographer Margy Dudley when she began Open Shutter in Durango in 2001. For a decade and a half, the Open Shutter Contemporary Fine Art Photography gallery has indeed been the place where people have come together to both view and exhibit international and local fine-art photography. Open Shutter has exhibited the works of some of the world's finest photographers over the years, says Dudley, including Paul Caponigro, Iosef Hoflehner, Pentti Sammallahti and Elliott Erwitt. The brick-walled former bank building at 735 Main Ave., complete with security vault, has also been a center for art education, the location for digital and travel workshops, as well as internships and a frequent venue for nonprofit events. Margy Dudley opened the Durango gallery after moving here in 1999 with husband Henry to raise their four sons. She realized Durango needed a venue in which to showcase fine-art photography. Dudley herself had been - and still is - a passionate photographer. "Photography has always been part of my life," she says, noting that she first picked up a camera in grade school....

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Dream Home
Jaynes: Building Excellence From Durango to Fort Lewis College and Beyondgpe_hall
There aren't many companies in southwestern Colorado that can boast 70 years in service. Even fewer are employee owned. Jaynes Corporation lays claim to both of those distinctions. In fact, in this part of Colorado, Jaynes is especially important because of the sheer number of iconic buildings that have been constructed by the company in recent years - more than 50! Just a few examples in Durango: downtown's Wells Fargo Bank, the sleek Honeyville in the Animas Valley and the modern Riverhouse Children's Center on Florida Road. The buildings Jaynes was chosen to construct at Fort Lewis College are impressive as well, including a Berndt Hall remodel, the Student Life Center and, nearing completion, the stunning $35 million Geosciences, Physics and Engineering Hall. Starting as a concrete company in Albuquerque in 1946, the early firm was focused on sidewalks and driveways. After 25 years in business, Jaynes grew into a commercial general contractor, expanding to include an office in Farmington in 1974 and in Durango in 1988. In 1996, Jaynes establishedColorado Jaynes Inc...

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Nordic
Vallecito Nordic Celebrates Two Decadesdaryl_skiing
by Margaret Hedderman
When asked if he had any good stories from the early days of the Vallecito Nordic Club, Rick Callies chuckles. There are a fair few, and he decides to share one especially memorable moment. The Vallecito Nordic Club, then known as the Pine River Valley Ski Club, had been running only a few years. The groomers were driving old alpine snowmobiles, the kind with a single ski in front, towing a chain-link fence as a snow comb. Callies was getting the equipment ready for the day, refueling gas tanks and warming things up. He balanced a can of gas in the tank of one snowmobile to let it fill, while he started up another about 50 feet away. "All of a sudden, I hear 'weeeee;' he says. "I turn around and the snowmobile is coming at me full steam." The gas can had "burped" and tipped over, lodging itself against the throttle. "I had half a second to react, so I dove at the snowmobile, trying to land on it and hit the kill switch." He missed. The snowmobile roared past him and plowed nose first into a nearby pine. The muffler fell off, but the groomers continued to drive the old Skandic for another year, albeit wearing paint respirators over their faces to block the fumes. "There was always something crazy [happening) back in those early days," groomer Rob Cowen agrees...

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In Memoriam
Joel Jonesjoel_jones
While community is the reason that the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College exists, it was Joel Jones who had the vision, the focus and the drive to make sure it would happen. "Joel had such a strong community presence," says Sheri Rochford Figgs, noting his love for music and how he inspired a love for music in both communities, campus and town. "The music faculty, truly singular - that's a Joelism - truly singular. He always said that." And he thought it true for the concert hall as well. Jones passed away in July 2016, just one month shy of his 79th birthday. President of Fort Lewis College from 1988 to 1998, Jones was given the title of President Emeritus when he left the school upon his retirement. But he never left the concert hall. He served on advisory committees for both the FLC Foundation and concert hall, and brought events to the hall long after it was his responsibility to see it succeed...


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