Something about the location on Wolf Creek Pass and the way the dry air from the south meets the cold air creates big storms — and big powder. Last year, Sutton, who directs a health clinic on a reservation, skied fifty powder days. He follows storms and plans ahead, taking off work the day after a dump rather than waiting for the weekend. "It's becoming more crowded if we get a big dump on a weekend, but on weekdays it's still really great," he says.
But enough about the snow. Sutton also likes Wolf Creek because it's a small area that generally doesn't see large crowds. He prefers the ungroomed backcountry component, particularly the Waterfall area and Knife Ridge chutes — but the groomers are great. too. "There's vast intermediate terrain," he says. "Plenty for everybody. And now that they've installed the Raven lift, it gets you up a lot faster. My daughter loves the Raven."
Sutton says Wolf Creek was the perfect place for his now-eleven-year-old daughter to learn to ski. He's been taking her there since she was a baby. "It really has a mom-and-pop feel, a hometown feel as opposed to larger ski areas, where it's real corporate," he says. "You get to know who the folks are that run the ski area and their commitment to the ski area."
Over the summer, Wolf Creek finished a few projects that had been in the works since last season, such as a new patrol building, water-free bathrooms at the top of Raven and the new Divide Shuttle service for skiers who want to use the out-of-bounds area at the western boundary of the resort. "We're a small ski area and have a limited budget of what we can do," explains Wolf Creek's Rosanne Haidorfer-Pitcher. Last season, the new Raven lift, a detachable quad, didn't open until mid-season, so she's excited to start this season with the lift running. "That's been a great improvement," she says.
Let it snow!
General Information: www.wolfcreekski.com; 1-970-264-5639.
Location: 300 miles southwest of Denver in the Rio Grande National Forest, U.S. Hwy. 160 between Pagosa Springs and South Fork.
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Snow Report: 1-800-SKI-WOLF (754-9653).
Lift Rates: Adult day pass: $48; child (6-12) and senior 65 and over day pass: $26; kids 5 and under day pass: $5.
Terrain: 1,600 acres; 20 percent beginner, 35 percent intermediate, 25 percent advanced, 20 percent expert. Base is 10,300', with a 1,604' vertical rise; summit: 11,904'.