Given the sour economic climate, there are few businesses - or families for that matter - making large investments in capital improvements. In large part, that is because of a tight credit market that makes financing such endeavors difficult, if not impossible. Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort is no exception, and some of the ski area's plans to improve the mountain's infrastructure are rightly, if disappointingly, being placed on hold.
Under its 20-year plan, DMR had been scheduled to replace the aging Lift 8 with a high-speed quad this summer, but was unable to proceed according to the plan because of the unavailability of credit to purchase the lift, which would have needed to be ordered late in 2008 for a summer installation. That is unfortunate fallout of the economic downtown, but not unexpected. The resort, however, is planning to go ahead where it can on less capital-intensive projects. That effort will provide skiers something to look forward to in the 2009-10 ski season.
DMR soon will begin work to thin trees on about 150 acres west of Lift 8, giving skiers significant new gladed terrain to anticipate. By focusing on increasing the terrain, DMR will be giving local customers and tourists a more diverse skiing experience, even if the ride to the top still is slow.
Purgatory's plans for mountain improvement are ambitious, particularly given the somewhat hodgepodge way the terrain and chairlifts have been configured up to this point. Whatever upgrades the resort makes will be welcome when their time arrives.