the most snow, cheap tickets, good terrain
Never go during Thanksgiving, the most busy time there when no other resorts in the area have good base. Otherwise unless you seek holidays there's almost never a lift line. I may have 150+ days on this wonderful mountain over 34 years. There are lots of tree lines. Contrary to other reviews the lifts aren't that slow. They are not all high speed quads but not the slow crawling lifts of some small resorts. To me grooming is wasting good snow. There are groomers here but I mostly play in the trees. This resort is ON the Continental Divide so it dumps here.
One trip I had a white out on the mountain and a blackout in Pagosa Springs in the same day and still loved it.
The Hot Springs in Pagosa Springs are absolutely world class but not much else to do but hike around in the town. South Fork is much smaller than Pagosa but has lodging and that side of the pass rarely closes for the storms.