Major: Business Administration –
Agricultural Business Option
Hometown: Centennial, CO
When you ask most people what they think of when referring to winters in Durango, probably 80% of the answers you get are skiing and snowboarding related. While these are a couple of the great things our area has to offer, I personally come nowhere close to being able to afford it. Of course I’m not trying to discourage anyone from getting a pass and going skiing every day (without missing class obviously), I’m just suggesting some possible alternatives that I have discovered since starting at Fort Lewis.
I first started coming to Durango for the hunting. Ever since I was little, I have been elk hunting here. The San Juan, Rio Grande, Gunnison, and Uncompahgre National Forests, along with the Weminuche Wilderness area (largest wilderness area in Colorado), are all close enough to Durango for a single day hunt. There are also many State Wildlife Areas and BLM land that are all close by and available for hunting and fishing. Ranging from deer, elk, bear, and coyote to ducks, geese, turkey, and grouse, Durango has a wide variety of hunting for any outdoorsman. One of the best things about having so much land accessible is the options that it allows you to have. If some place you go is crowded with people all over the mountain, just leave and go somewhere else. There is so much public land that there is always somewhere you can get away from everyone.
View of Hesperus Peak from snowshoeing
So I realize of course that not everyone is a hunter or cares at all about it. This of course doesn’t mean your fate is decided to become a “ski bum” or just bored during the winter. Some of the most beautiful views I have experienced while in Durango have come up while I was snowshoeing (Outdoor Pursuits has snowshoes to borrow). Ice fishing at any of the local lakes can be perfect on those sunny winter days when you want to be outside but also just to sit and relax. During the winter, people are always kite skiing out on the frozen Lemon and Vallecito reservoirs, or snowmobiling (“snowmachining” If you’re from the north) in the huge snow filled mountain basins.
Even if you don’t want to attempt any of these, there are still a few reasons to get out into town in the winter. If you didn’t already know, Durango is huge on its festivals. During the winter, practically the whole town gets involved and excited for Halloween and Snowdown. I could write a whole page on what Snowdown is, but I’m going to limit it to saying it’s a huge weeklong festival the town throws in the dead of winter just because we can. Another crazy event to go see every winter is the Silverton Skijoring festival where people ski through the streets pulled by horses. Participate in these events at your own risk of course but they are all very entertaining from an observer standpoint too. If after reading this, you still think there is nothing to do in the winters while at Fort Lewis… get a cup of hot chocolate and watch a movie.