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Southwest Life Health And the West is History Community Travel

And the West is History: Purgatory Ski Area – 1966

This postcard shows the base area of the newly built Purgatory Ski Area pictured in its first year of operation. Named for the creek that runs through the National Forest where the ski mountain is located, the resort had a day lodge (pictured here) and just one double chairlift. There was a beginners run served by a Poma-lift, on the left in this photo. In January 1965, the San Juan Development Co. was formed to raise capital by selling shares of stock to locals. The Small Business Administration would loan $350,000 to build the ski area, but only if there was proven local support and investment. Area businessmen and individuals bought shares in the development company for $100 each and contributed $92,300. Amazingly, all the permits were obtained and construction was finished by Thanksgiving. The ski area opened on Dec. 4, 1965. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum (Catalog Number: 03.53.53 from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections)