From Darkness To Light

9 Apr 2015

Purgatory’s Owner, James Coleman, talks about mountain bike trails, infrastructure at resort

Posted by Adam Howell

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Purgatory’s Owner, James Coleman, answered several questions for Horse Gulch Blog about downhill mountain bike trails and infrastructure at the resort through his Director of Ski Area Marketing, Stacey Glaser.

What is James’ opinion about the sport of freeride/downhill mountain biking?

Purgatory's owner, James Coleman.

Purgatory’s owner, James Coleman.

While my first priority is skiing, I also enjoy mountain biking and support all forms of the sport, including free-ride and downhill mountain biking. As a matter of fact, Pajarito Mountain Ski Area offers lift served access as well as one of the top five downhill mountain biking courses in the Southwest. This is an important sport for all of our resorts and I believe Purg will one day become the center of mountain biking in Durango.

Does he agree with the idea of volunteers or contractors building freeride/downhill trails at the mountain?

Yes. Since my involvement began at Sipapu, we started an annual Mountain Man Week. This is a time for friends, volunteers and dedicated Sipapu enthusiasts to come together, clear trails and support our mountain crews’ efforts. One of our other ski areas, Pajarito, was established decades ago by a group of club members – these volunteers are dedicated to the ski area’s success and have done everything, from lift maintenance to trail clearing. It was this group who paved the way for mountain biking at Pajarito, and these volunteers are still active and an integral part of our ski area.

With respect to the Divinity Flow Trail at Purgatory, Purgatory is partnering with Trails 2000, which specializes in trail building and trail building techniques. Building the Divinity Flow Trail will take numerous volunteers and some paid workers who specialize in and are proactive in the biking community to construct the trail. Our goal is that the new flow trail will meet best-in-class flow trail construction standards.

That being said, we also need to make sure that all mountain bike facilities at Purgatory comply with and further the environmental goals of our USFS Special Use Permit.

Does he support the construction of the Divinity Downhill Trail at Purgatory?

After several years of planning and permitting, the new Divinity Flow Trail at Purgatory has been approved by the US Forest Service and is ready for construction this summer, and I support this improvement.

Does James Coleman support the development of mountain bike infrastructure at Purgatory (lifts that go to the top of the mountain with bike racks on them)?

Yes, I support the development of mountain bike infrastructure at Purgatory, although my first priority is always skiing and snowboarding, so trails and the lifts that support them must also work for our skiing public in the winter. As we look at the list of approved projects and opportunities, we are honing in on those that will make Purg the most family-friendly, family fun mountain in Colorado. We’re considering lift improvements, trail expansions and expanded summer activities, including mountain biking.

Why did the Divinity Downhill Trail not get started after Forest Service approval last year?
The flow trail was approved late in the summer of 2014, and the monsoon season late last summer and into the fall was very wet. It’s my understanding that Purgatory determined that there was not sufficient time to begin and complete construction before snowfall. It was – and still is – important to be mindful of the potential for erosion that can be caused by significant monsoon rains while we consider how to make this trail sustainable. The plan is to begin construction on the Divinity Flow Trail in June once the snow melts and the terrain dries out. Purgatory has already held multiple meetings with Trails 2000 and the Forest Service, and our team is assembling our detailed plans for construction of the Divinity Flow Trail.

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5 Responses to “Purgatory’s Owner, James Coleman, talks about mountain bike trails, infrastructure at resort”

  1. Sweet! Sounds like James is in support of some good trails at Purg. Excited to see what the Divinity trail ends up like.



  2. You know that I’ll be looking forward to that one! Purg needs some sanctioned downhill lines.


    Adam Howell

  3. Amen.
    Thanks for the leg work Adam!


    Neil Hurley

  4. You’re welcome!


    Adam Howell

  5. hopefully we can follow suit in Flagstaff Arizona the Arizona Snowbowl would be an amazing venue to host downhill mountain biking combine that with the riding in Flagstaff and Sedona and you have the premier area to ride inthe southwest



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