Wolf Creek, CO, Mar. 21, 2019

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Wolf Creek, CO, Mar. 21, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:25 am

The predicted Southwest storm was expected to arrive Thursday, but exact timing and locations were uncertain. It was raining when we left Durango about 8:15AM and continued intermittently on the drive to Pagosa Springs. To no surprise it soon turned to snow and was dumping when we arrived at Wolf Creek.

There had been very little traffic, but when we arrived at 10AM we were directed to a fairly distant lot so there were lots of people. When walking to the base area about half the license plates were from Oklahoma, so it wasn’t had to figure out who was on spring break. The prior week was Texas spring break, when Wolf Creek is notoriously crowded. Some locals said there were liftlines early this week but that our day was quieter. We never waited behind more than 10 people or so for the lifts, but we decided not to battle likely lunch crowds in the lodge.

The snow had only started about 6AM, so there was maybe an inch or two before the snow let up not long after we arrived. We took a warmup run on Thumper, which had a crunch at the bottom where it bent to a more east exposure. As it was still thick overcast I only knew this from my prior visit on a sunny day when the runs from Raven chair were more springlike.

We moved to the Bonanza chair and then Treasure, which serves the most vertical and more interesting terrain on Wolf Creek’s main area. Top of Treasure view to Alberta Peak:
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View down Treasure chair as the snow has stopped and fog has lifted:
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Looking back up at Alberta Face under the lift:
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This was steep enough to have all winter snow.

Here Liz is in the scattered trees between Alberta Face and Silver Streak.
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After three runs on Treasure we skied Scat into Glory Hole and eventually reached Waterfall gate #4. In 2001 some of the Waterfall runs were sketchy but within this year’s 160+ inch base I wasn’t too worried. We skied Big Drop here.
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It was well covered but partial east facing with a firm subsurface.

We spent most of the afternoon on the Alberta lift, where 90+% of the Texas and Oklahoma spring breakers never venture. On our first Alberta run we ventured far out the Coyote Park trail and skied a mellow section of trees.
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The next time we only traversed bit skier’s left from the lift into Shazam.
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The runs closer to the lift have steep drops near the top.

Next was Chute #1 just past Tsunami.
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The lower tree skiing is flatter and thus had some crunch under the new snow.
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But Wolf Creek in general has comfortable tree spacing all over, which I’ve found to be relatively rare in Colorado.

Since I was last at Wolf Creek the Charity Jane Express has been added to ease the exit from skiing far skier’s right from the Alberta lift. We also skied Pitch’s Gate skier’s left of Alberta.

Liz took the Erma chair to the base for a short break while I explored to Chute #7.
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The Numbered Chutes are steep enough that it’s best to follow the red diamond signs to the recommended paths.

I returned to the main area and skied a Holy Moses and Treasure Falls before we left around 4PM. I finished with 16,000 vertical and a few bits and pieces of powder.

As we descended the west side of Wolf Creek Pass the storm arrived in full force. We had another bout of intense snow around the Colorado/New Mexico border as we drove south.

Wolf Creek got a foot of snow overnight, which I’m sure resulted in a stellar Friday of skiing. But we did OK with only half as much at Pajarito.
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: Wolf Creek, CO, Mar. 21, 2019

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:38 am

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Re: Wolf Creek, CO, Mar. 21, 2019

Postby snowave » Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:07 pm

Shoulda told me you were coming, I would have at least joined you for a few runs and made you buy me a beer!

I hit the Waterfall area a couple weeks ago after a 4 ft storm (and also did Big Dropout), but thankfully the first 2.5 ft was wet and heavy, leaving the top 15" light and fluffy. It was probably the best day I've ever had at Wolf, and it was right before the spring break crowds arrived. I have not been up since, but may go Thursday and hike Alberta peak for the first time.
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Re: Wolf Creek, CO, Mar. 21, 2019

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:10 pm

Yes I thought about snowave a bit too late. I wasn't sure you were still there as you had noted the incompatibility of Wolf's benchy terrain with snowboards. I'm sure the Charity Jane lift has made skiing Alberta less tedious though.

We had a lot of driving that day, nearly 2 hours from Durango in the morning before skiing and three hours to Los Alamos after, some of it in heavy snow.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10093
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Wolf Creek, CO, Mar. 21, 2019

Postby snowave » Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:59 pm

no worries...I still go up there, but barely paid off my season pass this year. Will not be getting another one next year... in fact, we have been considering moving to McCall, Id. I got to ride brundage/tamarack this year and I enjoyed both of them a lot.
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