Wolf Creek Colorado lies off the beaten path between Pagosa Springs and South Fork, where it habitually sucks in a whopping 40 feet of snow every year.
Kirk Owers checked it out for SnowAction.
The contrast between the ab-fab resorts and this privately owned, no frills operation couldn’t be starker. The breakfast menu is scrawled in texta and includes biscuits and gravy for a fistful of change.
But what Wolf Creek lacks in modernity and après bars it makes up for in waist deep powder, double black steeps, thriller hikes, and some of the best tree skiing in the state.
The resort spreads over two wide bowls and offers 1600 acres of skiable terrain (nearly half is expert or advanced). Out wide the Alberta Bowl hogs many of the best runs and is serviced by a lone chair. It’s slow, but then it’s voluminous terrain is equally slow to be torn apart. And then there’s the hiking. A ten-minute boot up a fixed staircase gets you on to the Knife Ridge, which stretches off into the far distance and offers countless choose-your-own-adventure descents.
The steepest pitch hits 49 degrees and is lipped with a cornice and includes rock and tree hazards.
On day two we awake to a melancholic dusting of snow, dandruffing Pagosa Springs. Thirty minutes up the road though it’s boot deep in the carpark, and our mood jump starts. Breakfast is thrown down and then we’re up the hill and down it at speed, leaving contrails of gun smoke in our wake. Press repeat for three hours. There’s just enough snow to make the mountain look like a freshly erased whiteboard. It’s also a long weekend, and is actually busy, but the only queues we see are for lunch.
Word arrives that Horseshoe Bowl is open and we waste no time thrashing over to the awaiting cat. How many resorts do you know offer cat skiing as part of a $66 lift pass? Wolf Creek looks after its locals and regulars who, understandably, don’t want their beloved mountain to grow too big. A Texas billionaire is said to have spent decades trying to get a large scale mountain village development with zero success.
While a faster chair would be handy, I hope the resort maintains its small scale charm for many years yet, and that the Gray Wolves, the resort’s hard-skiing over 50s club, continue to roam free in the Alberta Bowl.
Getting to Wolf Creek
Closest airport is Durango-La Plata, 80 miles/134km, with daily flights on American from Dallas & Pheonix, or from Denver on United. Or it’s a 244 mile/392km drive from Denver to South Fork.
Accommodation at Wolf Creek
Plenty of off-mountain options, stay at South Fork to the east side or Pagosa Springs to west, check links on ski area site below.
Ski area www.wolfcreekski.com