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Newly Formed Ski Company Just Bought Purgatory Ski Resort

An as-yet-unnamed ski company has been quietly making waves in the ski world this week in the goal of creating a top-notch ski company in the Southwestern United States. Durango businessman James Coleman just bought Colorado's Durango Mountain Resort for an unknown amount, with the announcement coming just days after Coleman also agreed to purchase Flagstaff's Arizona Snowbowl. Coleman already has ownership interests in Sipapu Ski and Summer Resort south of Taos, New Mexico, and Pajarito Mountain Ski Area in Los Alamos, New Mexico. So while the talk of the ski world this fall has been Vail's purchase of Park City Mountain Resort, Mammoth's acquisition of the Big Bear Resorts, and the sale of Solitude to Deer Valley, Mr. Coleman has been quietly amassing a collection of smaller, family-oriented ski resorts.

Durango Mountain Resort (formally known as Purgatory), has been on the market for a new owner for a while now, and locals were concerned that the ski area might be gobbled up by a larger resort operator. After attracting dozens of potential buyers, resort management narrowed the field to five, of which Coleman's offer was the only local offer. In a news release reported in the Durango Herald, Coleman says he will continue to develop the resort.

"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," he said.

Development plans are also a top priority at Coleman's other big purchase this week, Arizona Snowbowl. According to the Arizona Daily Sun, Coleman plans to install a new high-speed lift between the Sunset and Agassiz lifts, create a snowplay area and improve base area facilities.

Coleman's new mini-empire of Southwestern ski areas may not challenge Vail anytime soon, but it proves that the era of mergers and acquisitions in the ski industry is still in high gear.

· Purgatory ski resort agrees to sale [Durango Herald]
· Arizona Snowbowl sells to Colo. businessman [Arizona Daily Sun]
· How to Save the Future of Skiing: Let Kids Ski For Free [Curbed Ski]
· What It Means To Ski in a Vail-Dominated World [Curbed Ski]
· Big News in Utah: Deer Valley Buys Solitude Mountain Resort [Curbed Ski]