Cold Weather Safety

In Durango

Durango is a Winter enthusiast's playground! Skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling are just a few of the many ways to enjoy Winter in Durango. When the temperatures drop, staying warm is essential for safety.

The cold weather may sound intimidating, but with the right knowledge, everyone can have a fun time!

Get the Gear for the Cold

Staying warm is all about having the right gear, starting with the correct clothing. The golden rule to Winter clothing is avoiding cotton. Cotton holds moisture, dries slowly, and doesn't provide much insulation.

To stay warm use layers consisting of a base layer, mid-layer, and outer layer. A proper base layer is body-hugging and made of synthetics, wool, or silk. These fabrics will draw moisture away from the body. A mid-layer is typically fleece or made with a "puffy" down or synthetic insulation. Mid-layers trap warm air against the body. An outer should block out the wind, rain, and snow. Hardshell and soft shell jackets work great for this. Experiment with different layer combinations throughout the day to find your perfect temperature!

Remember that a good hat and gloves are also important for staying warm.

Many gloves these days are made to work with a smartphone touch screen! Glove liners are a great addition on really cold days. Experiment with both gloves and mittens to find what works best for you!

For your feet, wear wool socks and waterproof boots that are snug but not too tight. A boot that is too tight will restrict blood circulation. Without adequate blood circulation, your toes will get cold!

Wool socks are great because they retain their insulative properties even when wet. 

Remember the Temperatures Drop at High Elevation

The temperature drops 3 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit for every 1,000 feet in elevation gain, depending on the weather. At Purgatory Resort, the base is at 8,793 feet and the summit is 10,822 feet, making the summit 10 degrees colder than the base!

The scenic Molas Pass at 10,970 feet can be almost 25 degrees colder than in Durango.

Make sure to plan for your highest elevation!

Be Winter Wise and Travel Safely

Check the road conditions before you leave!

The most important rules of driving in the snow are to slow down, increase following distance, and pump your brakes to avoid sliding. 

Make sure you have the right vehicle and tires. Vehicles properly equipped for snow driving have 4 wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Don’t forget to put your 4 wheel drive vehicle into 4 wheel drive!

Winter tires or all-season tires with plenty of treads are essential to grip the snow, as is proper tire pressure.

Check your tire pressure if you are coming from a warm climate or lower elevation. Many auto shops in Durango will do this for free! Another great way to maintain control and keep your vehicle in great driving shape when coming into town from Purgatory Resort is to downshift.

Downshifting aids in getting better traction in the snow and also prevents your brake pads from wearing out.

Part of safe winter travel is carrying the right equipment in case you get stuck. Keep a few blankets, extra jackets, road flares, and some snacks in your vehicle.

Winter in Durango is the best excuse for stashing emergency chocolate in the trunk!


Dressing adequately for cold weather and being prepared to drive in the snow open up the Winter season to a wide range of activities ranging from high adventure to leisurely walks.

Don’t hesitate to get outside and enjoy the spectacular beauty of the mountains, sun, snow, and crisp air in Durango this Winter!