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Awards & Accolades

Durango, Colorado is an incredible place to live, work and visit, and it’s well known for many reasons.

Here are some of the lists for which Durango received top awards:




  • 2017 “Top-Rated Vacation Destinations in North America,” Expedia
  • 2017 “Best Towns – Durango,” Cowboys & Indians Magazine
  • 2017 “Americans 10 Best Mountain Biking Towns,” National Geographic Adventure
  • 2017 “Top Rated Ziplines – Soaring Tree Adventures,” Cowboys & Indians Magazine
  • 2017 “Best Ski Town Breweries and Distilleries – Durango & SKA,” The Observer
  • 2017 “Top 10 Colorado Breweries – #7 Ska Brewing,” The Denver Post
  • 2017 “Best Summer Fishing Trips,” Field & Stream Magazine
  • 2017 “Top 10 Mountain Biking Trails in North America,”
  • 2017 “Colorado’s Most Magical Wilderness Areas – Hermosa Creek,” 5280 Magazine
  • 2017 “Colorado’s Most Picturesque Places,” Los Angeles Pulse
  • 2017 “Best Small Towns in Colorado,” Thrillist
  • 2017 “Best of the Rockies – Ska Brewing,” Elevation Outdoors Magazine
  • 2017 “7 of the World’s Most Stunning and Scenic Train Rides,” Popular Mechanics
  • 2017 “Best Fall Train Rides,” 5280 Magazine
  • 2017 “America’s Best College Towns,” The Cheat Sheet
  • 2017 “Coolest Ski Towns in North America,” Matador Network
  • 2017 “Best of the West – Durango,” The Arizona Republic
  • 2017 “Best Watering Holes and Swimming Spots in Colorado,” 303 Magazine
  • 2017 “James Coleman: Ski King of the West,” Outside Magazine online
  • 2017 “Best Family Ski Resort – Purgatory,” Family Travel Magazine
  • 2017 “Top 5 Family Friendly Ski Resorts for Spring Break,” U.S. World News
  • 2017 “5 Most Livable Ski Towns in the U.S.,”
  • 2017 “The Most Christmas-y Towns in America,” MSN Travel
  • 2017 “10 Small Towns that are Going to be Big in 2018,” Country Living
  • 2017 “Best Winter Events – The Polar Express,” Westword Magazine
  • 2017 “Best Christmas Traditions,” MSN Travel


  • 2016 “16 Best Places to Live in the U.S.”, Outside Magazine
  • 2016 “Best Train Experience in The West,” Sunset Magazine
  • 2016 “America’s Best Train Journeys,” USA Today
  • 2016 “10 Best Reader’s Choice” USA Today
  • 2016 “San Juan Skyway, one of Colorado’s All-American Roads,” The Washington Post
  • 2016 “Best Towns,” Outside Magazine
  • 2016 “Top Adventure Town,” Sunset Magazine, finalist
  • 2016 “America’s 20 Best Small Towns for Christmas,” Cosmopolitan Magazine
  • 2016 “Top Holiday Attractions Across America – Durango,” CBS News
  • 2016 “America’s Favorite Towns” Travel & Leisure Magazine


  • 2015 “Affordable Winter Escapes in Western USA,” TripAdvisor
  • 2015 “Top 5 Colorado Boating Towns,” Colorado Kayak Supply
  • 2015 “13 Most Affordable US Ski Towns for Rentals in Winter 2015-16,” TripAdvisor
  • 2015 “America’s 20 Best Small Towns for Christmas,” Country Living Magazine
  • 2015 “ The Top 50 Small Towns in America,” Discount My Flights
  • 2015 “Top 12 Small Cities in Colorado,”
  • 2015 “Best Destination for Outdoor Enthusiasts” USA TODAY
  • 2015 “10 U.S. Cities Where The Weather Is Perfect Year-Round,” Buzzfeed
  • 2015 “Best Places to Start a Business in Colorado,” NerdWallet
  • 2015 “12 Budding Destinations in the Southwest,” TripAdvisor
  • 2015 “World’s 15 Most Scenic Train Rides,” MSN Travel
  • 2015 “100 Best Small Towns,”
  • 2015 “10 Best Ski Towns in America,” Forbes
  • 2015 “2015 Top Western Towns,” #1 Western Town, True West Magazine


  • TripAdvisor named Durango Mountain Resort the “Top Value Ski Spot” in North America >>more
  • Family Travel Magazine – Top Family Friendly Resort   >>more
  • Los Angeles Times – Where Skiing is Still Affordable >>more
  • Skiing Magazine – Ski “Dream” Town   >>more
  • Sunset Magazine – Great Snowy Getaway   >>more
  • Sunset Magazine – Best Places to Live (Runner-up: Best Place to be Finally Free) >>more
  • Liftopia – The West’s Top 3 Most Livable Ski Towns >>more
  • True West Magazine – Top 10 True Western Town in 2014 >>more
  • 10Best and USA TODAY’s Readers’ Choice contest  – San Juan Skyway Best Motorcycle Trip >>more
  • The Active Times — Most Scenic US Bike Trails – Animas River >>more
  • 10Best Readers’ Choice/USA TODAY  —   Best U.S. Cycling Town  #8 town >>more
  • National Tour Association Distinguished Dozens — NTA Favorite Scenic Railroad Gold Winner >>more
  • Fox News  –  Top 10 Sleigh Rides in North America >>more


  • TripAdvisor named Durango Mountain Resort Best Ski Value in North America 2012/2013 >>more
  • Elevation Outdoors Magazine – Best Colorado Ski Town 2013! >>more
  • Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition Named Durango Mountain Resort as a Top 10 Resort with an A Rating for Environmental Stewardship >>more
  • National Geographic – Top 10 Emerging Ski Towns >>more
  •  – Top 10 Colorado Getaways:  Durango Mountain Resort >>more
  •  – The Best Towns in Colorado for Young Families-  #9 Durango, 2013 >>more
  • Today Show —  5 Beautiful Places Every American Should Visit, 2013 >>more
  • True West Magazine – Top 10 True Western Town in 2013 >>more
  • League of American Bicyclists names Durango “Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community,” 2013 >>more
  • — The New Company Town, 2013 >>more


  • Skiing Magazine named Durango a Dream Town. >>more
  • Outside Magazine named Durango an Adventure Hub in 2012  >>more
  • USA TODAY   — Top 20 Ski Destinations North America Nominee  2012   >>more
  • HGTV named Durango Top Christmas Town 2012  >>more
  • Travel + Leisure — Best Places to Spend Christmas >>more
  • Sunset Magazine — Top 18 Spots for Fall Colors  >>more
  • Outside Magazine named Durango as one of the Best River Towns in America 2012 >>more
  • Lonely Planet — Top 10 US Travel Destinations for 2012  >>more
  • Outside Magazine named Snowdown as one of the top five Winter Carnivals, 2012  >>more
  •  — Top Ten All−American Road Trips off the Beaten Path
  • – Top 18 BeerCity USA 2012  >>more
  •  — The 20 Best Small Towns in America, 2012
  • Tripify — Best Holiday Destinations for Singles in the USA  >>more
  • National Geographic — Ten Great Races in Amazing Places — Iron Horse Bicycle Classic  >>more


  • Best Places to Live 2011 and Best Place to Put Your Outdoor Life First – Men’s Journal
  • Top Micropolitan Area in the US (Durango ranked one out 576 communities under 50,000 people) Politicom
  • Top Ten Western Towns – True West Magazine
  • Top 200 Town in the US – Outdoor Life Magazine
  • Top Ten “Life is Better Here” Town and “Next Big Thing” – Outside Magazine
  • Colorado’s Secret Stashes – Ski Magazine
  • 2011 “Best Steak,” The Ore House Restaurant, The Denver Post
  • 2011 “Ten things you have to do in Colorado,” The Denver Post

And Beyond…

  • 2010 “Green Power Community,” Environmental Protection Agency
  • 2010 “Top Small Town for Meetings & Events,” Meetings & Events
  • 2010 “Governor’s Award”
  • 2010 “Top Ten Ski Resorts to Down a Local Beer,”
  • 2010 “The Top 20 Ski Resorts in America,”
  • 2010 “Town to Watch,” True West Magazine
  • 2009 “Top 10 Places to Raise an Outdoor Child,” Backpacker Magazine, CBS News
  • 2009 “Best Places to Live in Rural America,” Progressive Farmer
  • 2009 “Top Ten Train Rides,” Society of American Travel Writers
  • 2009 “The West’s 20 Best Small Towns,” Sunset Magazine
  • 2009 “America’s 200 Best Hunting and Fishing Towns,” Outdoor Life
  • 2009 “Top 20 Romantic Getaways,” Sunset Magazine
  • 2008 “Top 20 Resort,” Conde Nast Traveler
  • 2008 “Top 10 Christmas Towns,” HGTV
  • 2008 “Colorful Colorado Award,” Governor’s Award for Downtown Excellence
  • 2008 “Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community,” The League of American Bicyclists
  • 2008 “Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation,” Colorado Historical Society
  • 2008 “7 Great Mountains to Ski with Your Kids,” Ski Magazine
  • 2008 “Top 10 Western Towns,” True West Magazine
  • 2007 “Next Best Places to Ski, Live, Invest and Retire,” Ski Magazine
  • 2007 “America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations,” National Trust for Historic Preservation

Conde Nast Traveler – Top 20 Best Places to Ski (2006 and 2008)

Conde Nast Traveler, the worlds premier travel magazine ranked Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort as one of the top 20 resorts in North America in their December 2008 issue.

The list was selected by readers who were invited to evaluate 104 North American ski resorts that they had visited in the past three years, and rank the resorts on terrain and conditions, lifts and lines, town ambience, dining and après ski/activities. Only resorts that received a required minimum number of responses were eligible for inclusion in these rankings.

Purgatory received the 20th spot on the list, receiving an overall score of 73. Terrain and Conditions were the highest ranked area for the resort with a score of 85.5, with Lifts and Lines close behind with a score of 80 and Town Ambiance rounding out the top three with a score of 72.7.

Purgatory earned higher marks in each category this year, reflecting guests’ positive reviews as the resort continues to make significant upgrades to its base village facilities and prepares for future terrain expansion and mountain improvements.

Ski Magazine – The Next Best Places to Ski, Live, Invest, Retire (Jan 2008)

Only seven resorts from North America were selected on this elite list of up-and-coming destinations; and Durango was the only Colorado town chosen. Durango Mountain Resort made the cut due to upgrades occurring as part of the resort’s 25 year Master Plan and the town of Durango’s unique amenities. The resort was noted for “1200 acres of fluff, including long, looping cruisers,” and a lack of crowds.

The overall appeal of Durango as a mountain destination with a genuine western mentality was enhanced by the numerous amenities that usually elude small mountain communities. Fort Lewis College, the new Mercy Regional Medical Center, and outgoing citizens who lend a hand at nearly every event set Durango apart from countless other Colorado resorts.

Ski Magazine – Seven Great Mountains to Ski with Your Kids (Nov 2007)

Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort has long been known as a fun-family destination for skiers and snowboarders in Southwest Colorado, and now the secret is out. Ski Magazine selected Purgatory as one of the 7 Great Mountains to Ski With Your Kids in the November 2007 issue. One of only two resorts selected from Colorado, Purgatory is hailed for its “rolling steps that are roller-coaster fun, but never intimidating.”

The resort is pinpointed as being a great location for kids because of the family-friendly atmosphere at both the resort and in town. “With the one-two combo of town and resort, families find great skiing, comfortable digs and an authentically Western experience,” says the magazine, noting Mesa Verde and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad as excellent side vacations for families.

One factor placing Durango Mountain Resort on this elite list of great mountains to ski with kids is the Mountain Master Plan that includes new condo accommodations, swimming facility, restaurants and retail outlets and more family-friendly amenities. Purgatory Lodge is the resort’s largest development in history and has taken shape in the heart of Purgatory Village.  Purgatory Lodge features new skier services, including a ticket office, rental and retail outlets, bathrooms, lockers, a swimming pool, spa area and a new Purgy’s Day Lodge; perfect for parents watching their children come down the mountain.