We had booked lodging, ski rentals, lift tickets and even ski school and adaptive lessons at DMR but unfortunately, they called us this past Friday and told us that they may not be open next week Dec 17-21, our trip dates. They were very nice and said they'd hold our reservation for a year so we will have to try again next year.
But we already have a flight to Durango and I'm trying to see if we can salvage this vacation. I am looking into Wolf Creek Ski Resort.
I called and talked to the lady and she said that since my mildly disabled dd doesn't need special equipment and can stop and turn, she thought the instructors in the children's program could probably work with her. She'll need to be in a group for slower skiers and I may hire a private instructor for an hour or so a day just in case. Also, she said that the children's program doesn't really get crowded, so she really thought that my dd could end up with her own instructor or at least with just a handful of other students anyway. So I guess that part is okay.
My questions are:
1) We don't ski much, being Texans. This will be our 3rd trip. My other children will be fine in the children's program. But I only skied on the green areas in both Santa Fe and DMR. My husband snowboards and does a few blue runs but he likes what he calls "big open spaces" with no trees. My internet research has come up with a few reviews saying that Wolf Creek is good for "tree skiing" which doesn't sound like big open space with trees. Opinions on this? What is "tree skiing" and does it require more than basic skiing skills to maneuver. I'm worried that I won't be able to do any runs here, I really suck. The good thing is that I'm not picky--one good long green run and I can do that for all 3 days. My hubby might need 2-3 but he's also not too picky.
2) Pagosa Springs side or South Fork? We will be flying into Durango so we will have to rent a van and drive (we had gotten the cheap shuttle to DMR before). What I have read is that Pagosa Springs is nicer because there are more "things" here like stores and stuff, but there is some pass that can get blocked up and no one can go skiing. We only have 3 skiing days so I can't have that. So I guess I should stay in South Fork? It's a little further away but I guess it's worth it? How often is that pass blocked up? I don't want to take any chances since I'm trying to salvage this vacation as it is. Are there stores and stuff in South Fork? We're a family so we don't do any partying and stuff, just a grocery store and gas station is adequate.
3) Recommended lodging? (I guess in South Fork? or Pagosa Springs if anyone thinks it's better there)
4) Lines/crowds at Wolf Creek? We'll be there Dec 17-21, so right before the Christmas week. Likely to be really crowded? And what is considered crowded here? I heard this was pretty much a locals only place. What would the wait time in the lift lines be?
5) I've read that the runs are not well marked. This scares me. How do beginners manage here? I don't want to end up on a blue or black by accident. I can look at the trail map but it really helps when there are lots of signs telling you where the easy way down is, like at DMR.
Any other opinions or ideas are highly appreciated. I am running around trying not to panic. I really don't want to postpone this flight because Frontier Airlines is terrible with rescheduling flights. I'd rather just use this flight and ski.
I think Telluride is just as closed as Wolf Creek. I may be up for giving up the Durango part of the flight and skiing in the Denver area, but I can't imagine that the resorts are very open there either.