I found it somewhat ironic that my family and I drove quite a bit south yesterday for the best skiing in the state near a town called Del Norte. If you haven’t already guessed, we skied at Wolf Creek. We woke up early Saturday morning, left Denver around 4:15 and arrived just as the lifts were starting to turn around 9.
It was spring skiing in October with picture-perfect blue skies, warm temps and soft snow, though not so soft for the first few hours on the areas that weren’t groomed. About 80 percent of the mountain was open and the coverage was surprisingly good, especially given that only one storm, last weekend’s four-foot whopper, provided the coverage.
And, since most of the mountain was open there was nary a lift line and you often had runs completely to yourself. When we left around 2:30 the parking lot appeared to be full, and mostly filled with out-of-state plates from the usual suspects New Mexico and Texas, but a lot of surprises (at least to us) like Virginia, Florida, Missouri and Louisiana.
In case you’re wondering, we loved Wolf Creek. There’s great variety for everyone you’re skiing with, whether it’s your family, a group or just you, yourself and you. We imagined that deep in the middle of winter Wolf Creek would not only be fantastic, as it was this past weekend, but truly amazing with everything open and powder all around. We shall return!
This was Wolf Creek’s second weekend of operations following the previous weekend’s big snow. Wolf Creek closes during the week, but is planning to be open again next weekend. Be sure to double-check at www.wolfcreekski.com. The current base is about 18 inches at mid-mountain and 22 at the summit.
There is no snow forecast this week, so I expect there will be less open next weekend and more obstacles with which to contend. Even so, if you really want to ski this month I recommend you take the extra time and get down to Wolf Creek. We made bonus trips to the other side of Wolf Creek Pass into Pagosa Springs, après ski, and to Great Sand Dunes National Monument on the way back to Denver. It was one of the best weekend trips we’ve made in a long time, experiencing all four seasons in two days. We “occupied” Wolf Creek and celebrated the best deal in Colorado provided by a group of people – a corporation, if you will – who made sure we had a good time and squeezed as much value out of our ski day as possible. Lift tickets are only $33 for adults and $19 for kids. As a family of four we very much appreciated the very reasonable lift ticket prices for early season skiing.
We stayed at a bed and breakfast-style establishment in South Fork called the Spruce Lodge, and again found friendly, rustic, small-town value you’re hard-pressed to find elsewhere. South Fork is located at the approach to Wolf Creek Pass from the east. We chose to stay in South Fork instead of Pagosa Springs on the other side for a quick getaway in the morning so we had more time at the Sand Dunes on the way back to Denver.
However, it’s mandatory that you drive toward Pagosa Springs at least to Treasure Falls, especially this time of year. We had no idea that the fall colors were at their peak until we crested Wolf Creek Pass (see the slideshow). The scenery here alone makes the trip from Denver, or anywhere else, worth it.
Meanwhile, closer to home, Arapahoe Basin and Loveland each have one run open but are looking for some help today with snow in the forecast. It will snow for most of the day today at both ski areas with accumulations expected in the two- to four-inch range. Check back here tomorrow for the final tallies, and here are last night’s snow totals…
Arapahoe Basin: 3”
Wolf Creek: 0”