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Trip Report: Wolf Creek

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I have been lingering a while but it is time to contribute a bit.

 

A few months ago, the family decided to do a ski vacation instead of exchanging a bunch of gifts Christmas morning.  We thought we would put all the money from the gifts towards skiing in Colorado.  So what did we do?  We promptly went out and bought a bunch of new skiwear thereby eliminating (actually blowing away) any potential savings.

 

Anyway, I have been skiing 40+ years but never in the San Juans.  In early December, while trying to determine which location would potentially have the best snow pack, we settled on Wolf Creek.  Luckily, at that late hour, we found a cabin at Fireside Inn Cabins in Pagosa Springs.  I can't say enough how much we enjoyed staying there.

 

Then the waiting and storm watching began, and in early December, it was quite grim.  About mid December, I thought of possibly canceling or moving further west but then the skies opened and snow dumped on Wolf Creek.  By the time we arrived, the area received 4-5' of snow in the proceeding couple weeks allowing the area to open 100%.  And what great conditions they were.  2 out of the 4 days we were there, it was sunny, and the last night (26th), we woke to 12" of POW waiting for us to cut through.  

 

Wolf Creek is a smallish area but I would put it near the top of my fav list.  The combination of great conditions, friendly atmosphere, and great prices makes me want to go back.  The only downside I could think of were the flat run-outs at the bottom of runs.  But then again, the mountain is really good for a family skiing together with a wide range of skiing abilities. We really enjoyed the daily lunch specials at the lodge, and I am not sure of another ski cafeteria in North America you can eat for 3 for $30.

 

We live in Texas now so getting a few days away to ski is somewhat difficult.  After this week, I am wondering if a career change is needed to put us closer to the action.  Actually, this week made me remember what I am missing so as of this morning, I own a new pair of skis and boots but that is another story...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 17

Oh Wow, look at the snow!  Nice!

post #3 of 17

Common theme of trip reports:

 

Skied ---> New gear

New gear ---> Ski more

Ski more + new gear ---> Career change!

 

Welcome to EpicSki and to the Career Relocation Club!  Glad you and your family had a great time.

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by vickieh View Post

Common theme of trip reports:

 

Skied ---> New gear

New gear ---> Ski more

Ski more + new gear ---> Career change!

 

Welcome to EpicSki and to the Career Relocation Club!  Glad you and your family had a great time.

icon14.gif

post #5 of 17

I'm drooling. drool.gif

post #6 of 17

Keep the snow coming!  We're going to be there at the end of the month, along with Durango, San Juan Cats, and Telluride.  MORE SNOW!!!  uh....please?

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

It appears more is on its way this weekend. 

 

Now, if only a mountain can be built high enough in Houston in order to reach the snow line.  Perhaps my career change wouldn't be needed.

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Texbob View PostNow, if only a mountain can be built high enough in Houston in order to reach the snow line.  Perhaps my career change wouldn't be needed.

 

 

Been there, done that.  I lasted six months in Houston, back in 1981 and moved back home before I even missed a winter.  I was also offered to go back (different company) four years ago for a great job but, no thanks.  I'm perfectly happy here in our little snoasis that is Spokane and Sandpoint.

post #9 of 17

Congrats on getting a front page link!

 

I moved to the San Juans during the offseason. Like you said, the season started pretty badly, but flipped overnight when 3 feet came down, followed by another foot the nest day, and another foot the next, and then another 30" through the next week.

 

Skiing went from bad to the best early season skiing I've every had. Scratch that, the best skiing I've ever had. Been skiing in Colorado 30 years and I've never caught a powder day with 3 feet of snow down, and then another foot on top the next day, let alone catching days like that in Mid December.

 

Regarding the run outs- they can be troublesome, especially in deep snow. However, at the time your were skiing out here, most of the mountain was still unconsolidated snow. At this point, most areas have seen skier compaction and/lor enough sun to compact down into a pretty solid base, which really helps keeping the skis moving. At the same time, skiing last weekend, even after the massive christmas/new years crowds and no new snow since, I still found absolutely blissful, completely untracked, boot-deep just a little bit skiers left of S' Wonderful- was the perfect snow depth for the mild pitch.

 

I got lucky- my employer happens to have an office in Durango, so no career change needed. Live in Bayfield (Forest Lakes), work in Durango, ski ski Wolf, be happy..

post #10 of 17

Wolf Creek is my home mountain, so if you every come back I can show you all the little Nooks-n-Crannies I've found over the years. Pagosa is an awesome town, but I live on the other side of Wolf Creek Pass in Del Norte. If you were ever to move here I would suggest you move to South Fork (15 mins from Wolf Creek on the other side of the pass) if you like your towns a little smaller and a lot less touristy. South Fork is a gorgeous area with so many NONCROWDED outdoor activities to partake in. It is not far from another small town called Creede, also known for its outdoor activities and hunting. I have lived here all my life and absolutely love the vibe that Southern Colorado has. Wolf Creek boasts the most snowfall in Colorado and is often one of the first to open in Colorado; when it is not winter there is amazing mountain biking, The Great Sand Dunes (Biggest in America), world class climbing at Penitente, and rafting in Creede and South Fork. Thanks for postin up Wolf Creek and Good luck to you!

post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

The biggest thing that struck me about Pagosa Springs is it is the anti-Eagle or Avon or Vail.  It seem so much more authentic Colorado mountain town than just about everywhere else I have been.  I didn't make it to South Fork but I guessed that it is even more low key than Pagosa Springs.  I just wonder how long this little secret is going to last.

 

Well, moving there is a pipe dream I am sure.  There is that little thing called income.

 

In any event, perhaps a few more photos would be appropriate

 

 

 

 

 

post #12 of 17
If you want to see authentic, unspoiled mountain towns, take a recovery day off from skiing and visit Creede, Silverton, Ouray, or Lake City.

Pagosa isn't terribly high on my list because it doesn't have a lot of historical character, and it has a lot of Summer resort development. The town gets a lot sleepier and a lot more attractive in Winter for sure.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

If you want to see authentic, unspoiled mountain towns, take a recovery day off from skiing and visit Creede, Silverton, Ouray, or Lake City.
Pagosa isn't terribly high on my list because it doesn't have a lot of historical character, and it has a lot of Summer resort development. The town gets a lot sleepier and a lot more attractive in Winter for sure.

 

I would agree. Nothing wrong with Pagosa (I lived there for a number of years) but it really isn't a "mountain town" in the classic Colorado sense.  It is primarily a tourist town with over 50% of the houses owned by out of towners and empty for half the year. Classic mountain towns in Colorado were primarily driven by mining (Creede, Silverton, Ouray, Lake City, Telluride, Breckenridge) while Pagosa was originally a lumber town. Still a nice place and very beautiful.

post #14 of 17

on the bucket list
 

post #15 of 17
So who wants to go ski Silverton? Everybody seems to be around Wolf Creek and Durango. Anyone wanna get a trip going?
post #16 of 17

Nice report.   I try to go there every year.   I love Pagosa and recommend staying there not on the other side.  There is nothing to do on the other side or very little to eat.

 

This year  I  went to Winter Park January 1,2,3,4 and froze my butt off.   Mary Jane similar to Alberta Peak and great if you like moguls.   Winter park front side way to flat and full of hiking and pushing.    You have to walk a country mile every morning to the lifts and pay outrages lift tickets and food prices.  Give me Wolf Creek and the better snow.    I hope to drive out from Dallas there maybe in February if things go right.

post #17 of 17

Nice report.  I've been there probably 10 times over the last 15 years and love the terrain off the Alberta lift.  The tree skiing there is really good, the food and just the down home feel of the place makes it the best family feel resort.  My girls fell in love skiing there on our first trip out West, so it has a lot of good memories for me smile.gif 

 

There's nothing better than sitting out on the deck, in the 20* bright sunshine and stripped down to your tee shirt biggrin.gif

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