Recent snowstorms and pandemic precautions allowed Hesperus Ski Area to open for the 2021 season Thursday.
The 60-acre resort, on U.S. Highway 160 between Mancos and Durango, has an 18-inch base and is 100% open with 26 trails accessed by the Big Horn chairlift. More snow is in the forecast this week.
Ski area hours are 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Ski and snowboard rentals are available.
Runs range from steep headwalls to more mellow grades, plus there is night skiing and a multi-lane tubing area on Marmot Hill. Hesperus has the largest night-skiing operation in the Four Corners.
The ski area has enacted COVID-19 precautions, and its operating plan has been approved by the San Juan Basin Public Health and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Under the regulations, people ages 11 and up must wear a mask, except when actively engaged in skiing, eating or drinking, and they must maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other households.
The lodge will be closed and lift tickets, food and drink will be sold through a window. Skiers and snowboarders can submit their phone number to activate COVID-19 exposure notifications.
The SnoKatz Kids lesson program will not be offered this year.
The resort also offers an uphill access pass that allows skiers and boarders to climb up the hill then ski or ride down during closed hours.
The pass is available at Purgatory Sports in Durango. Uphill skiing is not allowed during normal operating hours. Park on the east end of the parking lot near the rental shop. Do not park on the highway.
Uphillers must stay clear of the snowcat grooming and operations. Dogs are welcome for uphillers as long as their owners clean up after them.
The trails feature 30% beginner, 20% intermediate and 50% advanced terrain. The tubing hill is popular with families with small children. The terrain park is currently closed.
The all-volunteer Hesperus Ski Patrol is trained in emergency medical services and promotes safe skiing practices.
The Hesperus Ski Area is managed by Mountain Capital Partners, which also manages Purgatory Resort along with a collection of ski resorts and mountain bike parks in Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Texas.
For more information and ticket prices, visit www.ski-hesperus.com or call 385-2199.