Durango Mountain Resort needs
to expand, according to CEO Gary Derck. So, in order to keep up
with rival ski resorts, DMR has unveiled a 20-year master plan
that envisions a mix of townhomes, single-family homesites, and
hotel and shop space. In total, 1,649 units are planned as well
as 410,000 square feet of new commercial space.
The ambitious proposal encompasses
a total of 612 acres and centers around six villages that include:
Purgatory Village, a hotel, executive homesite, lodge and townhome
expansion of the existing base area; Base Camp Village, new hotel
development immediately north and west of the existing base area;
Engineer Village, executive homesites on the west side of Highway
550; Tacoma Village, standard and executive homesites and townhomes
centered on a communal park located in the vicinity of the current
nordic center and fire station; Boyce Lake Village, an exclusive
village of estate homesites north of Tacoma that could include
an equestrian center; and Grayrock Village, a purely residential
and townhome grouping adjoining Highway 550 to the east.
According to Derck, the primary
purpose of the proposed expansion is to make the resort financially
solvent. “The resort’s been operating on a subsidy
basis for several years,” he says. Derck said that resorts
like DMR that typically do 300,000 skier days a year tend to need
a bigger bed base, something DMR is lacking right now.
Derck adds that beds are not
the only thing missing at Durango Mountain Resort.
“You’ve got to bring
in people, and in order to get them to spend a week, you’ve
got to have activities, amenities and beds,” he said.
Derck also is quick to note
that the existing base area is not in the best shape. “If
you look underneath the paint, there’s been a lot of deferred
maintenance,” he says.
Another rationale for the expansion,
according to Derck, is that the development fulfills La Plata
County’s prescription for the area around the resort. He
points to a regional plan that calls for clustering of development
near the Purgatory base area and Tamarron, areas north of Durango
that already have infrastructure in place.
“La Plata County has always
planned for this zone to have ski area development,” Derck
says. “We’re trying to play the role that county planners
envisioned for the north county.”