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Killer Winter Weekend: Durango

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1) Drinkin’ thinkin’

When a two lifelong friends sketched up plans for a giant restaurant/brewery in the heart of Durango, they never knew it would become one of the most popular spots in town. In fact, Steamworks Brewing Company is so big the world famous mountain bike leg of the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic roles right through the place and off the second story rear patio. There’s something for everyone on the progressive menu and their Colorado Kölsch earned a silver medal at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival. Dirt cheap: Thursday night is pint night. $2 pints on select brews

2) Sleep with the stars

The Rochester has seen it all, from ghosts to movie stars. This historic hotel even has its own wine bottled in California, but that’s not it’s only Golden State connection. In each room you’ll find a copy of Hollywood of the Rockies with a detailed look at Durango’s illustrious film history. Grab a mate across the street at the Eno Bar or wait until later and sip wine and listen to live jazz. Check out the Rochester’s quiver of house townie bikes for downtown tours.

3) Heaven or hell

Purgatory is regarded as one of the best values in skiing. With nine lifts, 1,600 acres and tons of terrain for every skier or snowboarder in the family. Despite a whopping 300 days of sunshine each year, sitting at the edge of the San Juan Mountains, Purgatory still gets hammered with 270 inches of snow every winter. A new owner has taken over and is making things happen: First order of business was replacing the slow-turning Chair 8 with a new high-speed quad that serves classic runs like Paul’s Park, Ray’s Ridge, Chet’s and Sally’s in a five minute chair ride to the highest point on the mountain. Powder stash: After a storm hit Poet’s Glade, McCormick’s Maze and Ambassador’s Glade then fish for fresh tracks in the trees off Sticks.

4) Healing waters

You’re in the Rocky Mountains, and that means hot springs. Just north of Durango, Trimble Hot Springs’ 80- to 110-degree pools are temperature controlled by how much of water is pumped in from the natural source and clarified by ozonation and sand filters. The calcium bicarbonate waters include trace amounts of other soothing minerals that relieve everything from work stress to ski legs. Dirt Cheap: Tuesday is two-for-one. Pretty Penny: book the guest house just steps away from the water.

5) Glory loops

Downtown Durango is flat out charming. Independently-owned, candy-colored storefronts stir up old fashioned Colorado, as dank coffee aromas float over sidewalks that double as catwalks for mountain town fashion. Fat bikes crunch through snow and gear store windows showcase all the right stuff you need to have fun. Swing into independent book dealer Maria’s Bookshop. Grab a cup of Joe at the Durango Coffee Company and catch the lunch pizza deal at Fired Up.

Contact editor Brandon Mathis at bmathis@bcimedia.com or 970-375-4576

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