Small but robust with pleasant surprises

by: MarkGerardy - Nov 27, 2011

  • Overall Rating 4
  • Family Friendly 3
  • All Mtn. Terrain 5
  • Terrain Park 0
  • Nightlife 0

    Pros: Powder and backcountry glade paradise

    Cons: Nearby lodging, amenities, short runs

    Recommended For: Singles

    Date Visited: Nov 1, 2011


Full review

Wolf Creek is a smaller but yet robust ski resort with charm and pleasant surprises - as well as a saving grace for the best early-season skiing when all of the other ski resorts lack snow coverage. In many cases, Wolf Creek is sometimes the only ski resort which has any powder, especially deep powder. Even during Thankgiving weekend, I observed 0-5 minute lift lines. While there are only five full-sized lifts, the ski area spreads out across the entire mountain. Like most small to medium-size ski resorts, the quaint mountain house and lunch choices are modest, yet adequate for those on a budget, just be sure to bring cash. Parking is also modest and somewhat hap-hazard, so best to arrive early. Along with the more quaint rustic feel, the signage (blue signs with carved green letters) mean that trails are not often well-defined in terms of either the clear-cut of trees or signage, yet for the most part, you will most likely end up safely at the base regardless of which ski run(s) that you take or end up skiing. Overall length of ski runs is on the small side. Wolf Creek is really two parts - the right side contains the groomed runs, where 90% of the skiers ski. This includes a vast array of short to medium sized bowls at the top above timberline, some which require hiking or moderate poling. While there is adequate beginner terrain, this is more of an advanced and intermediate terrain ski area. There are also many bush-sides trees on many of the groomed slopes which serve great for skiing gates. On the left side, serviced solely by the Alberta lift, is a wilderness of the best tree skiing imaginable. This is not skiing tree islands between groomed runs along a narrow carved out dog path, this is genuine backcountry glade skiing. This is like having the freedom of a backcountry experience, but still within the safety of being in-bounds. Far on the left side, a person can ski and not see another skier for many miles, abd lose yourself in the nature, silence and beauty of the wilderness, the only downside is that more hiking may be required. Ski run Serendipity opens intermediates up to glade skiing without large intimidating mogals, but instead with trees spaced the perfect distances apart. For the best tree skiing unlike any other resort that has supposed glades, Wolf Creek outdoes all. However be wary of the flat spots on Albert side Camino Del Monte Sol and Okey Dokey / A-Way trail/traverses.

For those looking for luxury and atmosphere, Wolf Creek is not the place for the pretentious, rather Wolf Creek is about skiing and a step back in time to a typical Colorado ski area in the early 1970s - while limiting to some, charming and more focused on just the innocent spirit of skiing to skiing purists.

Nearest lodging is 20+ miles away in Pagosa Springs, South Fork or Creede, with plenty of under $99 per night rooms and lift tickets are very reasonable compared to big name ski resorts.

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