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Lift maintenance at Purgatory Resort prompts vehicle shuttles for bike park

Village Express waiting on parts from Europe
Purgatory Resort’s Bike Park will not have Lift 1 service until mid- to late-July because of maintenance issues. In the meantime, riders can run their own vehicle shuttle on a Forest Service road. (Courtesy of Eric Berry)

Purgatory Resort’s Bike Park will open Saturday, but cyclists will have to shuttle to the top of the mountain using a Forest Service road because Lift 1 is down for maintenance.

During maintenance of Lift 1, workers discovered problems with the hollow shaft, and parts are on air-freight order from Europe. Purgatory Resort General Manager Dave Rathbun expects the lift will be back in operation by mid- to late-July.

Cyclists will be allowed to shuttle their bikes to the top of the mountain in vehicles using a Forest Service road while the lift is closed, Rathbun said.

Normally, Purgatory’s lease with the Forest Service prohibits Purgatory’s customers from using motorized vehicles on the Forest Service road, but an exemption has been allowed while Lift 1 is down, Rathbun said.

“The lift is 21 years old. So when a lift gets to that age, and with that number of hours of operation, it requires some of the major components to be inspected and parts replaced,” he said.

When replacing bullwheel bearings, Rathbun said unanticipated problems with the hollow shaft were discovered.

“That’s the part we’re waiting on,” Rathbun said.

Once the lift is back operational, vehicle shuttles for mountain bikers to the top of the mountain will end, and the lift will be used as normal, Rathbun said.

Lift 1, the Purgatory Village Express, is down for maintenance until mid- to late-July, which means mountain bikers will have to temporarily shuttle to the top of the mountain in vehicles using a Forest Service road. (Durango Herald file)

Lift 1 should be operational for the Big Mountain Enduro, scheduled Aug. 28-29, and the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike Championships, scheduled Oct. 14-17.

Mountain bikers will still need a valid season pass or daily ticket to use the trail network at Purgatory while the lift is down and vehicle shuttles are in use. Daily ticket prices to use the Bike Park have been reduced from $45 to $30 while the lift is out of commission.

“As disappointing as this is for the summer, having uncovered this now and being able to rectify it now, will mean that Lift 1 will be as reliable and dependable as it can be for this winter. That's really our main priority,” Rathbun said.

parmijo@durangoherald.com

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