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Southwest Life Health And the West is History Community Travel

And the West is History: Goliath Gelande at Purgatory – 1975

In 1973, Purgatory started a Goliath Gelande completion at the resort. Initially held on a jump constructed on Catharsis, the venue was later moved to the 70-meter Nordic ski-jump alongside U.S. Highway 550 south of the resort entrance. Unlike Nordic jumping, gelande jumpers used alpine boots and skis. Gelande jumping started in Utah in the 1940s and spread throughout the American West in the 1970s. The event was very popular and eventually became part of a regional gelande circuit held at major resorts in the West. Thousands of dollars in prize money was awarded and ski-jumpers from all over the United States competed. After the 1978 event, the competition was suspended when a road was built at the base of the outrun, but returned in 1985 when the jump was reopened. When a jumper died from injuries during the 1985 event, the resort owner banned further competition. Gelande jumping made a comeback in 1995, but because of a lack of snow was not held again until 2001. In the early 2000s, its popularity waned and the final competition with just 11 competitors was held in 2008. Soon thereafter, the ski area took out the jump in order to use the space at its base for additional resort parking. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org (Catalog Number: 22.38.23 from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections)