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And the West is History: Purgatory Pro Ski Patrol – 1986

People who lived in Durango in the 1980s and ’90s can probably identify any number of these individuals. Purgatory had paid ski patrollers from its beginning, but for many years had to also rely on the volunteer National Ski Patrol program. In the early 1980s, they transitioned to the strictly professional patrol that we are familiar with today. This picture documents the staff the same year the Patrol hosted its first Colorado State Ski Patrol gathering. It took place at Purgatory in April 1986 but was somewhat hampered by a late season three-day snowfall of nearly 30 inches that started on April Fools’ Day. Many of the planned events had to be adjusted because of the wet, heavy snow. Ski patrols from throughout Colorado came together to share ideas, camaraderie and to compete in events that simulated day-to-day duties of the job. The annual gathering continues today with ski patrols throughout the state alternating their turn at hosting the event each spring. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org (Catalog Number: 14.40.179 from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections)