Winter Safety

Be Safe at Durango Mountain ResortPurgatory Eye on SafetyAs many of you know, January is National Safety Awareness Month...but here at Purgatory / Durango Mountain Resort, safety is all year-round...and not just at our mountain, but at EVERY mountain you enjoy!

We think that skiing and riding are among the most exhilarating recreational activities available.  The breathtaking alpine setting, the adventure of exploring mountainous terrain and the physical challenge our sport provides, is a combination that is hard to beat.

We hope you agree and enjoy the sport for years to come   The safety and well being of you and your family is a top priority for us here at Durango Mountain Resort.  Because there are some risks that are inherent to the sport of skiing, we encourage you to take the time to educate yourself about those risks and to adhere to a few basic “rules of the mountain” during your visit with us.

We are constantly updating the safety section of our site, so please check back soon to take advantage of the information we have provided for you and prepare yourself for your ski trip in order to more fully enjoy the experience.  Take care and we hope to see you on the slopes!

The National Ski Areas Association established "Your Responsibility Code" in 1966 as a code of ethics for all skiers on the mountain. Today, the code reflects not only skier safety, but snowboarder and lift safety as well. Ultimately, safe skiing and snowboarding at Durango Mountain Resort is each person's responsibility.

Following "Your Responsibility Code" will help all skiers and snowboarders have a safer mountain experience.  Click here to view the entire Ski Safety Act. (PDF Document)

- Safety on the slopes is everyone's responsibility. Ski safely - not only for yourself, but for others as well.
- Always stay in control and be able to stop or avoid objects.
- People ahead of you have the right of way.  It is your responsibility to avoid them.
- Do not stop where you obstruct the trail or are not visible from above.
- Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, yield to others.
- Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
- Observe all posted signs and warnings.
- Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas.
- Prior to using any lift, you must know how to load, ride, and unload safely.

In an ongoing effort to minimize the number of on-mountain accidents as well as overall safety for our guests, Durango Mountain Resort has implemented the “Ten Foot Rule”.  Purgatory asks our guests to, "stay outside a 10 foot radius of any and all other skiers/riders while in their path of descent.” 

The Ten Foot Rule, combined with common sense and Know the Code is in place to educate our guests and snow sports enthusiasts alike about the risk of injury from accidents and simple ways to lessen such risk.  By staying at least 10 feet away from other skiers/riders, the chances of a collision are reduced dramatically.  The Ten Foot Rule also emphasizes respect and courtesy for other people of all ages who are also here to enjoy themselves in the fun, safe, family environment DMR offers.

Purgatory Mountain Patrol, Mountain Safety (Yellow Jackets) and Mountain Management will be enforcing the Ten Foot Rule at key congestion locations so that all may have a fun, safe time while at Durango Mountain Resort.

A collaboration with Burton Snowboards and the NSAA, Smart Style creates a safety message that appeals to younger snow sport enthusiasts.  Smart Style graphics, info and posters are posted at the base area, on lift towers, and entrances to terrain parks,.   The Smart Style program focuses on rider responsibility and common sense and overall terrain park safety.

Every time you use freestyle terrain, make a plan for each feature you want to use. Your speed, approach and take off will directly affect your maneuver and landing.

Scope around the jumps first, not over them. Know your landings are clear and clear yourself out of the landing area.

Start small and work your way up. (Inverted aerials not recommended).

From the lift line through the park.

Lids on KidsLids -on -Kids -Logo -Mtn -Scape
With the increasing popularity of helmets during the past few years many parents are considering a helmet for their child. The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), together with the help of many others in the ski industry, educates parents about putting helmets on their children while they're on the slopes. Durango Mountain Resort recommends that parents, skiers and snowboarders make the right choice about wearing a helmet. It's up to you to educate yourself about their benefits and limitations. Ultimately, the choice of whether to wear a helmet is one of personal or parental choice.

Take a look'll notice all Purgatory employees on the slopes are wearing helmets, and we make helmets east to rent when renting equipment at Purgatory. All Ski & Ride School kids lessons have a mandatory helmet rule...we want to make sure everyone is safe and having fun!

For more information on helmet safety and answers to questions about helmet use, please visit the Lids on Kids website at

Durango Mountain Resort offers 6 incredible terrain parks so everyone from the new boarder to the expert rider will find something tantalizing. Our dedicated Terrain Park Crew spends their days shaping, molding and most importantly riding in our parks. They know first hand what a good park needs and they do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Terrain Parks are a blast...but they can also be dangerous if the rider does not follow a few basic guidelines.

Smart _styleGet Smart
The Freestyle Terrain Resource Guide was designed to provide safety information for freestyle terrain users.

Play it safe when you use the park and pipe. Because nothing ruins a great day on the mountain like an injury. GET SMART Freestyle Terrain includes: jumps, hits, ramps, banks, fun boxes, jibs, rails, half pipes, quarter pipes, snowcross, bump terrain and other constructed or natural terrain features.

Stuff to Know
Know your limits and ability level and select the appropriate freestyle terrain for you.

Your condition, speed, balance, body movements, alignment, and trajectory and maneuver difficulty will DIRECTLY AFFECT YOUR DESIRED OUTCOME.

Know the intended use of the freestyle terrain you have chosen. For example, some features are intended to be used in a series with no stopping and some individually with stopping areas; jump takeoffs are for jumping and rail takeoffs are for entering onto rails.

Your actions can take you out of balance and cause serious injury or death, no matter how the feature is designed or where you land. Land on your feet!

Transitions are changes in the shape and pitch of the snow or feature, or changes from one type of sliding surface to another. Transitions can be gentle or abrupt, and demand that users be alert and respond to them with accurate movements.

Know where to land. The SWEET SPOT is between the "knuckle" and center of the landing zone. Even if you land on or near the sweet spot, you can still be seriously injured or die if your landing posture is not correct.


BE AWARE that features change constantly due to snow conditions, weather, usage, grooming and time of day.

Read and obey all posted signs, instructions and warnings before using freestyle terrain.

Some resorts designate features as small, medium and large. Be aware these ratings are determined by size, not degree of difficulty, and are relative only to that resort.

ATML™ Method
Each terrain park feature can be broken down into 4 zones. Identify these zones and have a plan before using any freestyle terrain.
[A]pproach zone is the space for setting your speed and stance to use the feature.
[T]akeoff zone is for making moves that start your trick.
[M]aneuver zone is for controlling your body in the air and setting up for landing.
[L]anding zone is the prepared slope between the knuckle and the run out beyond it.

Purgatory is committed to providing an enjoyable experience for all of its guests. Integral to that experience is skier and rider safety. 

Purgatory is committed to safety education, awareness and enforcement. Purgatory Mountain Patrol, Mountain Safety Staff (Yellow Jackets) and Mountain Management are enforcing skier safety on Purgatory Mountain every day this season.

Please use good judgment, follow Your Responsibility Code, and ski and ride responsibly.

Tips from Purgatory Ski Patrol
Our success is measured by your safe and good time at Durango Mountain Resort.  Here are a few tips to make your visit more enjoyable:

- Ultra-violet rays are more severe at higher elevations.  Protect your skin from the effects of the sun and keep in mind that the snow reflects the sun's rays.  Wear sunscreen rated at least 15 SPF or higher.

- Wear eye protection such as sunglasses or goggles.  These should filter both UVA and UVB rays and be rated at 90%.  Eyes can sunburn just like your skin, and the burn can be every bit as painful..

- Packed snow can be abrasive. We highly recommend wearing garments that cover your hands, arms and legs completely.

- Be prepared for quickly changing weather conditions.

- Dress in layers with your outer layer of clothing being of a water repellent fabric.

- Wear or carry a ski hat with you. Sixty percent of all body heat is lost out of the top of your head.

- Drink plenty of non-alcoholic liquids. Your body's tendency to dehydrate is greater at higher altitudes.

- On especially cold days, be aware of the potential for frost bite.

And as always, if you have any questions, ask a Ski Patrol or a Yellow Jacket. We're listening!