This place we call home... Durango,
La Plata County, Colorado USA on Planet Earth

A BLOG about what's happening around Durango (and a little about real estate) by your LOCAL GUIDE, Jim Wotkyns, Broker at The Wells Group.

How many town’s Parks & Recreation have their own ski resort?

March 8th, 2019

Our little mountain town is so lucky to have a ski area right in the heart of our community.










Due to the amazing support from the community and great snow conditions, Chapman Hill plans to extend the ski season through March 24 with amended times and prices.


With the plentiful natural snow and the thick layer of man-made snow, Chapman Hill Ski Area will be able to extend the ski season past the original expected closing date of March 10. Starting on March 12, the extended hours of operation are 3:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 11:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Lift tickets will be adjusted for the new spring hours and all kids up to 5 years old are free and anyone 6 and over is only $8.00.  The new amended schedule and prices could be further extended if the snow conditions remain favorable.


Also enjoy sledding, ice skating, drop-in hockey (skate rentals available), and refreshments.


For more information please call Chapman Hill at (970) 375-7395 and online at

Durango Fire&Rescue needs your help with the snow…

February 19th, 2019













Source:  Durango Fire & Rescue Facebook page

High Altitude Baking TIP

February 19th, 2019



Even those who’ve lived in the Rocky Mountains for years need a reminder how to adjust a baking recipe for HIGH ALTITUDE.


Adjustment for 5,000 feet and above:


  • Reduce baking powder: for each teaspoon, decrease 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon.
  • Reduce sugar: for each cup, decrease 0 to 2 tablespoons.
  • Increase liquid: for each cup, add 2 to 4 tablespoons.
  • Increase oven temperature by 25 degrees F.




The Wells Group Real Estate FORECAST – March 13th

February 15th, 2019

Please join us…


HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE – How rates are calculated

February 12th, 2019

Home Owners Insurance Quote and Rates







Many factors are considered in calculating the cost of home owner’s insurance, such as:


  • Credit Scores – review your credit report annually, and clean-up as needed.
  • Location – is your home, or the one you are considering purchasing, in-town or in a high fire risk area?
  • Prior claims – either by the policy holder or the property can increase rates.
  • Age and condition – if the home’s major systems or roof are 40+ years old, or if there is too much deferred maintenance, premiums will rise or coverage can be declined.
  • Construction type – unique types of homes (log, hay bale, rammed earth) can be more difficult or expensive to insure.
  • Professional discounts – some occupations, like Teachers, Physicians, Scientists, Police Officers, Firefighters, Accountants, Engineers and Registered Nurses, may be able to receive a discounted premium.


If you are house hunting it is worth shopping for insurance. Your Insurance Agent will provide a binder as “evidence of insurance” once you are under contract to purchase a home.


Source:  FARMERS Insurance Agent Ben Frihauf in Durango, CO


January 31st, 2019

Our REAL winter in Durango continues, although we have a little break between snow storms to let the sunshine melt the ice & snow, and provide us good weather for a week of SNOWDOWN winter festival activities.


Snow loads continue to be of interest to many, so here is a quick update from  The minimum snow load in most areas of the City of Durango is 40 pounds. However, depending on the location of the structure, the snow load may range between 40 pounds at elevations of 6,500 feet and 65 pounds at 7,700 feet. County snow loads at higher elevations can differ, so please call me with any questions.


Stay warm and keep safe while raking snow off your roof. ENJOY winter as the moisture is a true blessing!

POWDER ALERT – Come enjoy a real winter in Durango!

January 18th, 2019

STUDENTS – Enroll at Fort Lewis College (FLC) Next Year to Ski for FREE!

January 10th, 2019

In the Winter edition of Fort Lewis College’s Alumni Magazine there is good news…Colorado Lifestyle: Work Hard, Play Hard program.

Next year, all full-time first-year or transfer students starting in Fall 2019 or Spring 2020 will receive a FREE season ski pass from Purgatory Ski Resort. If you know of a college student selecting a school for next year, this could be their deciding factor, so spread the word.



Durango Skiing Right In-Town

January 4th, 2019

With our recent back-to-back snow storms, we have enough SNOW in-town for winter enthusiasts to enjoy downhill skiing and jumps at Chapman Hill, plus cross country skiing, skate skiing and snowshoeing on the groomed ski track at Hillcrest Golf Club which is free of charge (donations accepted). Bring your own equipment.  More details, call 970-375-7395 (Chapman) or 970-259-0424 (Hillcrest).


HomesFund Record-Breaking Year

December 28th, 2018

2018 was a record-breaking year for HomesFund, providing:

  • 47 Mortgage Assistance Loans to 38 households containing 112 people
  • $917,467 in Mortgage Assistance Loans for low- and moderate-income families
  • Homebuyer Education to more than 275 people
  • Homebuyer Counseling to more than 100 households

Visit and click “Homebuyer Education Class” at the bottom of my homepage to view the class schedule. I currently serve on the HomesFund Board and would be happy to answer any of your questions.


Check out all the Durango Lifestyle Blog posts!