One of Colorado’s premier ski resorts, Durango Mountain Resort, aka Purgatory, is now under new ownership.
Colorado’s Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort (DMR) and Arizona Snowbowl announced they have entered into an agreement to sell 100 percent of their respective ski areas to James Coleman, managing partner at Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort and Pajarito Mountain Ski Area of New Mexico, to form what’s billed as the largest mountain collective in the Southwest.
Chuck Cobb and the previous owners – the DMR shareholder group, including the Duncan family – have entered into a purchase and sale agreement to sell DMR’s resort assets to Coleman, a Durango-based businessman and avid skier.
Coleman has committed to retaining the current DMR management team and staff, including CEO Gary Derck, CFO Mark Seiter and Senior Vice President Mike McCormack.
Coleman was selected by the DMR shareholders from an extensive list of prospective investment groups, including many prominent names in the ski industry, through what DMR characterizes as a “rigorous evaluation process” led by Chuck Cobb, the majority owner since 2000, and the Duncan family, original owners of the resort, which was founded in 1965.
As part of the transaction, which is scheduled to close before the ski season, Coleman is also acquiring the assets of Durango Mountain Utilities (DMR’s local high-speed internet, VOIP, cable TV and propane utility). Coleman has also announced his intentions, through a separate transaction, to acquire some of the immediately adjoining real estate parcels and to develop additional lodging, residential and commercial projects in support of DMR’s future growth.
The Cobb and Duncan ownership group will retain ownership of Durango Mountain Realty and the remaining real estate holdings surrounding the resort.
Coleman, who grew up skiing at Purgatory, was raised in Texas, has an undergrad and MBA degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and moved his family to Durango about a decade ago. His son is active on the Purgatory Ski Team and his daughter is involved in many Durango activities, including track and dance. James’ wife actively volunteers at non-profits in the community.
“I have spent most of my life visiting, skiing and now living in Durango, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to continue the visionary leadership of Chuck Cobb and the Duncan family to help take Purgatory to the next level and improve the mountain’s skiing and summer recreational experience,” Coleman said. “Skiing is my first priority, and like our guests, I truly love Purgatory and can’t wait for the ski season to begin. My top priorities will be to find ways to extend the ski season as much as possible, increase terrain, expedite improvements in the approved mountain master plan, increase summer activities and generally create an exceptional experience for skiers, snowboarders and mountain lovers, while making each of these mountain resorts the most family-friendly, family-fun resorts in the Southwest and the best value in the nation.”
New pass products are likely in the works that will allow Purgatory passholders reciprocal opportunities to ski and recreate at his other resorts in Arizona and New Mexico.
Coleman’s career began with numerous real estate ventures and private equity investment. Coleman’s investment group has offices in Durango, Phoenix and Austin.
He would eventually become the principal investor and managing partner of Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort, located near Taos, N.M. Over the past 15 years, Sipapu has doubled its terrain and quadrupled skier visits. Thanks to investments in snowmaking Sipapu is usually the first ski area to open in New Mexico every year, and has the state’s longest ski season. Sipapu is scheduled to open Nov. 15, marking the 12th consecutive season the ski area opens first in New Mexico.
Recently, Coleman entered into a strategic partnership with Los Alamos County to acquire Pajarito Mountain, in Los Alamos, N.M., which was previously owned and operated by the Los Alamos Ski Club. Coleman has also signed a contract to acquire Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff, Ariz.
The four southwestern resorts – Purgatory, Snowbowl, Pajarito and Sipapu – total more than 3,000 skiable acres, with more than 200 trails, 26 lifts, and 13 terrain parks.