2018 Animas River Days

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Animasriverdays.com

In 1880, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad chose a site on the banks of the Animas River for its depot, and the rest, as they say, is history. The city grew up around the river and still hugs its shores today, so what could be more Durango than a festival celebrating it?

Animas River Days takes place Saturday, June 2, and celebrates the river and Durango’s love of it. It all began when local paddling legend Nancy Wiley put on the first whitewater rodeo in Durango in 1983. Over the years, Animas River Days has drawn world-class paddlers and water pros from all around the world. The city’s famed whitewater park opened in 2014 and in four short years has hosted national competitions, including the U.S. National team trials for freestyle, slalom, and wild water events as well as the U.S. National Championships in slalom and open canoe slalom.

The festival takes place at Santa Rita Park, where the city’s whitewater park makes for perfect kayaking, canoeing, rafting, surfing and paddleboarding competitions as well as an inflatable floatie rodeo and — everyone’s favorite — a river parade.

River-lovers and fun-seekers can enjoy food and vendor booths, a beer garden and kids’ activities all day long.

Thursday, May 31

The 35th annual Animas River Days kicks off at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 31, with the Wild & Scenic Film Festival at Animas City Theater. Tickets are $15 and available at 4Corners Riversports and the film festival includes free prizes, food and drink!

Saturday, June 2

The main event takes place Saturday, June 2, at Santa Rita Park on the banks of the Animas River at 2700 Main Ave.

  • 8:30-10:30 a.m. — Kayak and Canoe Slalom, Sponsored by Durango Whitewater
  • 10:30-11:15 a.m. — Expert SURF/SUP Competition (Wave TBD), Sponsored by Badfish
  • 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — Smelter Smackdown Raft Slalom, Sponsored by the Animas Amazons
  • Noon — Ska Beer Garden and Toast Mobile Lounge Open, No outside alcohol allowed, no dogs allowed
  • 12:45-1:30 p.m. — Junior Freestyle Kayak
  • 1-1:30 p.m. — Inflatable Rodeo, Sponsored by 4Corners Riversports
  • 1:45-2:45 p.m. — Boatercross, Sponsored by Ska Brewing
  • 2:45-3:30 p.m. — Pro Surf/SUP Competition (Wave TBD), Sponsored by Badfish  *Prelims Friday Night*
  • 3-4 p.m. — Expert Freestyle Kayak
  • 4-5:30 p.m. — Pro Freestyle Kayak Finals, Sponsored by The Greenery *Prelims Friday Night*
  • 6-7:30 p.m. — Parade Viewing Party with Posh Josh doing a riverside DJ set
  • 10 p.m. — Late Night Party at El Rancho Tavern featuring the jams of J-Calvin’s Funk Express. Get your groove on!

Park your kayak and put your feet up at the Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites. Our Durango hotel is 2 miles north of Santa Rita Park, and we love a good river parade! Book your room at the Econo Lodge Durango today!

 

Purgatory Resort Summer Season

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Purgatory aerial ropes course

As winter bids us farewell, Purgatory Resort is wrapping up its 2017/2018 ski season. Closing day at Purgatory is this weekend, and Sunday, April 29, marks the last day of scheduled winter operations. Sad, right?

Well, dry those eyes, people, because summer season at Purgatory Resort starts May 26! As much as we all love to ski and snowboard and snowshoe and take Snowcat tours at Purgatory, the Durango ski resort is also a haven for summer fun.

Mountain Biking

In the summer months, Purgatory mountain becomes Purgatory Bike Park with a slew of bike trails criss-crossing the ski slopes. The resort has miles of singletrack trail accessible from the base area, Lift 1 and Lift 4. Fourteen trails range in difficulty from easiest to “expert only,” so there’s something for all experience levels and everyone in the family. Purgatory Bike Park is home to Divinity Flow Trail, Durango’s only lift-served downhill flow trail, and the first World Mountain Bike Championships.

Purgatory Resort also offer mountain biking lessons for first-timers, beginners and intermediate riders to help them learn new skills and gain more confidence. Lessons start June 17th and happen twice daily at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Instructors cover balance and body positioning, shifting and speed management, cornering and other basic techniques. Family lessons and bike rentals are also available.

Alpine Slide and Mountain Coaster

New this summer is Purgatory’s Inferno Mountain Coaster! The 4,000-foot rail-car coaster will zoom passengers through nine switchbacks, one 360-degree loop and multiple dips while descending over 300 vertical feet. The coaster will be open in both summer and winter, so riders can experiences the rush pretty much year-round.

Take a scenic chairlift ride up the mountain and enjoy even more scenic views coming down the slopes on the Alpine Slide during a half-mile descent. The slide is more like an Olympic luge — a sled on a track — while the coaster is a car on rails.

Zipline and Ropes Course

Brave the Purgatory zipline when you step off the Purgatory Village Tower! The zipline zips riders over Purgatory Beach at speeds of up to 35 mph for the length of a football field.

Test your skills and your will at the Sky High Adventure Family Ropes Course! Guests will have to navigate obstacles and challenges as they’re suspended in the air. The course requires people to climb over wooden beams, rope ladders and wooden steps, cross a suspended skateboard and more.

Jump, jump, jump!

The truly fearless can get a taste of being a Hollywood stuntman on Purgatory’s Big Airbag Jump. The 50-foot x 50-foot inflated airbag gives adrenaline junkies a cushy landing after they free-fall jump  — no ropes or safety harnesses here — from the 18-foot platform onto the airbag, the same kind used in freestyle athlete training and movie stunts.

Kids can jump to their heart’s content in Purgatory’s Bounce House or get an even bigger rush on the Bungee Trampoline that allows guests to strap into a harness and jump and flip and do as many aerial somersaults as their stomachs will allow.

There’s a whole bunch of other Purgatory summer activities as well, such as panning for gold, summer tubing (like in the winter, but without the snow), riding a gyro chair, playing miniature golf or trying out the 24-foot-tall climbing wall.

Total Adventure Tickets

The Total Adventure Ticket allows guests to choose from either five or 10 summer activities at Purgatory Resort. It’s less expensive to buy in advance than walking up on the day of, so save yourself some moolah and buy your tickets online.

Durango Hotels

You can also save some moolah by staying with us during your Durango summer vacation! The Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites is a great value and makes a great home base for all your summer fun. Whether you’re heading to Mesa Verde, the Durango train or to Purgatory (just 26 miles due north of our hotel — seriously, the only turns you have to make are out of our parking lot and into theirs), we’re one of the best Durango hotels to be your jumping-off point, so book your room today!

Durango Whitewater Rafting

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Springtime means birds and bees, budding trees and allergies — dang, we’re poets over here at the Durango Econo Lodge Inn and Suites. But spring is also the season for Durango whitewater rafting.

As the snow melts off, the rivers rise — and that means it’s time to go rafting on the Animas River.

The Animas River is one of the prime rafting rivers in Colorado. Visitors of all ages and abilities can go whitewater rafting on the Animas because the river offers a wide range of rapids, from family-friendly to technical and somewhat terrifying. (OK, “terrifying” is a subjective term.)

The Lower Animas is better for easy floats because that stretch is less intense than rapids found on the Upper Animas. Depending on water levels and time of year, the Lower Animas is usually rated Class 2 to Class 3 rapids. Rafters will float along some nice, calm stretches while still getting to bounce through some exciting (but not terrifying) whitewater, such as the Pinball, Smelter and Santa Rita rapids.

Newbies may want to think about their options before taking on the Upper Animas River. This 12-mile stretch of river ranges from Class 3 to Class 5 rapids as it winds through the narrows of Animas Canyon, past several of the San Juan Mountains’ 13,000-foot peaks. When the water is running high, the Upper Animas ranks as one of the nation’s most advanced stretches of commercial river. Adrenaline-pumping rapids on the Upper Animas include sections called “Dinner Gorge” and “Lunch Box.” Yikes.

Durango is the perfect home base for your whitewater rafting trip. Water levels are usually highest in May and June, but now is a good time to start planning your Durango rafting trip because floats do fill up. There are simply too many Durango rafting companies to list, so we won’t try, but there are some darn good ones to choose from. It’s kind of impossible to go wrong.

While you’re in Durango for your whitewater rafting trip or your summer vacation, you should stay with us at the Econo Lodge Inn and Suites Durango! We’re one of the best Durango hotels and getting even better under new ownership. We’re located on Main Avenue, just a short drive or quick trolley ride north of downtown Durango and only 30 minutes south of Purgatory Resort. So book your room with the Durango Econo Lodge today!