(file photo: Hesperus Ski Area/Scott DW Smith)

Purgatory Owner Buys Neighboring Ski Area

Durango, CO – Ski news surrounding resort mergers and acquisitions is often focused on the big players: Vail Resorts, Boyne Resorts, Powdr Corp. and others. But over the past several years, James Coleman has been quietly snapping up ski areas across the southwestern U.S.

Coleman leads an investment group that acquired Purgatory Resort near his home town of Durango just last year, adding to his portfolio that includes Arizona Snowbowl and two resorts in New Mexico, Pajarito and Sipapu. Now he’s purchased Hesperus Ski Area, just 11 miles west of Durango alongside the highway to Cortez. All are linked by the group’s “Power Pass” season ticket.

In a state filled with mega-resorts like Vail, Aspen, Steamboat and Telluride, a diminutive 700-foot vertical drop keeps Hesperus off the radar for most out-of-state visitors. The ski area, however, serves the local Durango community by providing an affordable outlet to head out to after work for a few turns under the lights on its 26 trails, or a Saturday outing for skiing or snow tubing with the whole family.

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(file photo: Hesperus Ski Area/Scott DW Smith)
(file photo: Hesperus Ski Area/Scott DW Smith)

Coleman acquired Hesperus from Jim Pitcher, who has operated the ski area for the past 28 years. The deal includes Hesperus’ only chairlift and the lease for the 160 acres upon which the ski area has operated for over 50 years. Snowfall comes from Mother Nature only.

Hesperus will operate this winter from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays and on Monday holidays, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

Coleman will evaluate what improvements may be needed at Hesperus at the end of the upcoming winter season.

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