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Southwest Life Health And the West is History Community Travel

And the West is History: Winter Carnival at 3rd Avenue Ski Hill – ca. 1957

Durango’s 3rd Avenue Ski Hill was cleared for skiing in 1942. Colton Chapman provided the initial organization, as well as the construction of the first rope tow. He operated the hill for the city of Durango through the ’40s and into the ’50s. He was the director of the first Winter Carnival at the ski slope held in 1955. New county parks director Adolph Kuss took over in 1956. This photo from the event is likely from 1957. Fireworks, a skier torchlight parade, and the naming of the winter Prince and Princess were a prelude to the Sunday ski competition for all area youths. Sponsored by The Durango Herald and the Parks & Recreation Commission, the event was tremendously popular. It was held every year when there was adequate snow until interest waned when Purgatory was opened in winter 1965-66. The hill’s name was changed to Calico Hill in 1967 and changed again in 1980 to Chapman Hill in honor of the early organizer and manager of the hill. – Ed Horvat for Animas Museum, edhorvat@animasmuseum.org (Catalog Number: from the La Plata County Historical Society Photo Collections)