In most ski towns, if it doesn’t snow, you get a lot of downright depressed people…and businesses. In Durango, if it doesn’t snow, residents aren’t that bothered. Because they’re probably getting a jump start on training for the Iron Horse Classic- one of the largest bikes races held in the United States - a 47 mile, 5,550 feet climb from Durango to Silverton. But when it does snow, skiers point their dirty Subaru’s north to Durango Mountain Resort (DMR).
The little-known secret about DMR is the cat operation based there. San Juan Ski Company serves almost 60 square miles behind the resort, making it North America's second largest snow cat skiing operation, and Colorado’s largest. The lines are endless, and first tracks weeks after it’s snowed are far from scarce. Visiting skiers can get their legs under them at DMR and with San Juan Ski Company before traveling even further north to Silverton. And if those three aren’t enough to wet your whistle, consider the backcountry access and stellar lines found in La Plata Canyon, 10 miles south of Durango, and from Coal Bank and Molas Passes en route to Silverton. But don’t forget your beacon, the San Juan’s are notorious for their avalanche danger.
And life doesn’t end when the snow melts in Durango, either. Run-off spills into the mighty Animas River, which runs from Silverton through the heart of downtown. In spring, Durango’s in-town kayak park boasts multiple features, consistent flows, and a large local contingency. The river offers something as gnarly as a class four plus run from Silverton to town, or the Fort Lewis College classic: a beer-and-inner tube float from one side of town to the other. Hop off the river and a short peddle from town spits you onto over 2,000 miles of mountain bike trails. Either that, or head to X Rock for some sport climbing.