Durango, Snowbowl Get New Owner

Durango businessman, James Coleman, is buying Durango Mountain Resort (DMR) and Arizona Snowbowl. Further, he is teaming them with two New Mexico areas, Sipapu and Pajarito, to form a four-resort group. Coleman is the managing partner of Sipapu and owns the management contract for Pajarito.

Both purchase agreements are expected to close in November. Terms were not disclosed. Management teams at both DMR and Snowbowl are expected to remain in place.

Coleman plans to expand the market in the Southwest by offering skiers and riders more options. That will include reciprocal lift privileges for the resorts’ season passholders and other options that are likely to appeal to markets in Phoenix and Flagstaff and across the Southwest. According to various reports, Coleman plans to unite the four resorts under a new, as yet unnamed company.

J.R. Murray, GM at Arizona Snowbowl, told SAM that the areas’ other reciprocal agreements and partnerships, such as Snowbowl’s membership in the Powder Alliance, will remain if effect as well. “The premise here is to create the best ski experience for families in the Southwest,” DMR president Gary Derck told the Durango Herald.

Coleman also plans improvements at the two resorts. In a statement regarding DMR, he said, “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.” It’s likely he plans the same for Snowbowl, which recently received approval of its master plan.

Coleman has substantial experience in resort ownership. He has been involved at Sipapu for 15 years. As a Durango resident, he has been an avid skier at DMR and had been seeking to obtain a financial interest there for some time. Coleman grew up in Texas, and skied often at DMR, then known as Purgatory. He earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and owns an investment group with offices in Durango, Austin and Phoenix.