Purgatory is one of the largest ski resorts in North America. Located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, it’s just a two-hour drive from Denver. The ski resort opened in 1962, and over the years, it has become a mecca for skiers and snowboarders. It currently boasts 11 ski trails totaling 111 runs. Each one of these trails is ranked among the best in the world. On any given day, the slopes at Purgatory are alive with skiers and snowboarders zipping around in their ski gear. This is what makes this winter sports destination so great – you’re never far from the action!
Here, you’ll learn all about the spectacular skiers’ village that is home to over 15,000 sqft of retail and dining space as well as 200+ residential units. You’ll discover the geography, climate, and history of northern Colorado. In addition, you’ll get an exclusive look at the resort’s unique ski-in/ski-out accommodations, which are surrounded by beautiful sub-Arctic landscapes.
The Village of Purgatory
Situated in the Rocky Mountains, the village of Purgatory is surrounded by majestic peaks. The air is crisp, and the snow is at its finest. Because it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll have at least some snow (or rain!) at any time of the year, the snowfall here is phenomenal. It’s not unusual to see fresh snow on the ground by mid-June.
The village is home to the headquarters of the Purgatory Resort ski team. The team trains hard all year round, hoping to take the next step up to the next level of competition. In winter, they participate in the Ski-in/Ski-out program, which enables them to train and compete on the same trails as the professionals. Their focus is on classic and expert trails, preparing for speed demons and beginners alike.
The trail network here is massive. The village is home to 11 trails, totaling 111 runs. Each trail is skiable for all levels of experience. Some of the trails are even accessible from the village, making it possible to do a bit of a ski vacation and still be in the city. The trails are well-maintained and offer a great variety of terrain. This includes everything from flat, beginner trails to expert backcountry terrain. While some trails are more scenic than others, all tend to have that perfect snowy atmosphere that makes the whole experience special.
The Residence at Purgatory
The Residence at Purgatory is the largest ski resort hotel. It’s home to the luxurious Intrawest Rockies Lodge, as well as smaller, more intimate Residences. The hotel overlooks the entire village, and guests can enjoy stunning panoramic views of the snow-covered Rockies from every room.
The residences in the hotel offer guests a front row seat to the magnificent view. Some offer full kitchens, making it possible to eat in at any time of the day. Others come with fully equipped kitchens and offer guests a wonderful opportunity to get some fresh, home-cooked food after a long day on the slopes. There’s also the option of dining at one of the hotel’s many luxury eateries, where you can enjoy mouth-watering cuts of cow, yak, and other animals raised on site. These are but a few of the amenities available at The Residence at Purgatory.
Why Go In Winter?
The seasons here in Colorado don’t always cooperate – it can rain or hail throughout the year, so keeping the snow on the ground is no easy feat. This is one of the reasons why most people visit the state in winter. While there are always exceptions (like the delightful summer months), it’s rare to have a pleasant, sunny day in the Rockies during the summer. It rarely snows more than a few months a year, and those who live in the area know all too well that seasons can vary from year to year. This is not convenient if you’re looking for a summer holiday.
In the winter, however, you’ll experience all four seasons. It gets rather cold in the mornings, so rising early to catch the first rays of sunshine is highly recommended. After all, you can never have too much sunshine – it’s beneficial for the skin, the spirit, and the wallet! During the day, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the snow-covered peaks all around you. At night, you’ll be able to admire the brilliant winter sky. With the snow, you might even be able to see the stars!
It’s rather unusual for resorts to stay open in the summer, and it seems as though nature is taking its time in letting the mountain receive some of its precious snows. The hotel’s executive chef, David Lebovitz, ensures that the restaurant continues to offer culinary delights throughout the year, no matter what the weather throws at them. One of the restaurant’s signature dishes is the Elk Steak Dinner, made with chunks of tender elk meat braised in mescal, with a chile verde and huckleberry compote. With a glass of chile-tequila in hand, you’ll feel right at home – even if it is 86 degrees Fahrenheit outside!
Skiing In/Skiing Out At Purgatory
Purgatory is well known for its unique Ski-in/Ski-out accommodations. These provide the perfect retreat for adventurous skiers who want to get away for a while and enjoy some peace and quiet. Some of the residences overlook the whole village, and guests can enjoy stunning views of the snow-covered Rockies from every room.
The Ski-in/Ski-out program allows guests to access the whole village via a gondola, which quickly transports them to the base of the mountain. Here, they can board any of the resort’s 11 trails, which range from easy to expert. The trails are well-maintained and offer a great variety of terrain. This includes everything from flat, beginner trails to expert backcountry terrain. On each trail, you’ll have the opportunity to stop and take a break, enjoy some sunshine, and rehydrate. After completing your ski adventure, you can take the gondola back down to the base – no need to hike all the way back up!
These unique mountain cottages were designed by Vero Modoli and are a masterpiece of modern design. The Italian-born architect and her company, Vero Modoli Architecture, designed these luxurious residences with the utmost attention to detail. Each one of these singular mountain abodes features a gorgeous, wood-burning fireplace and boasts stunning, panoramic views of the entire mountain. The bedrooms and bathrooms are finished in a blend of Italian and Canadian woodworking styles that create a look that is both cosy and elegant.
The village’s 11 trails are interconnected, and it’s not unusual to ski from one to the other. This makes it possible to ski the whole trail network in just one day! While you can’t get around all of Purgatory in one day, you can cover a lot of ground by taking advantage of its proximity to Denver. This means you can get to the slopes in the morning and be back in the city by nightfall. In addition, some of the trails are equipped with snowshoes and skidoos, for those brave enough to challenge the elements! In the summer, guests can hike, bike, or walk to the nearby Roaring Fork River for some fishing and relaxation. The village is close to several campgrounds, making it possible to recreate the same peaceful and rugged atmosphere during the off-season.
Where Can I Stay?
There are plenty of luxurious places to stay at in Purgatory. The options range from traditional luxury hotels and condos to quaint hostels and rental houses. Whatever your style, you’ll find something here to suit you.
Intrawest Resorts and Hotels offers guests a distinctive brand of luxury, with amenities such as a putting green and pool with an island that is only accessible by helicopter. Guests can enjoy an unforgettable experience at what is arguably one of the most luxurious destinations in Colorado.
What’s The Weather Like?
Wondering what the weather is like at Purgatory? You’re in luck because we have you covered. The resort’s website maintains an up-to-date weather report, so you can see what the current conditions are like without having to visit the resort itself.
The website also provides an opportunity for you to book a weather-free pass, which is great for budgeting and planning ski trips. This pass will get you into the resort’s public areas, such as the village and the restaurants, as well as its fitness center and hot tubs, for 365 days a year. The pass also grants access to the mountain’s entire trail network, which is the biggest draw for most people. If you plan on staying at the resort in the winter, you’ll need to purchase an additional access pass for that as well.