Sunday, November 13, 2011

Early Season Skiing at Wolf Creek

This weekend we hit the road and headed up to Wolf Creek, a ski area really close to Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  From Santa Fe, it is only about a three hour drive.  Wolf Creek has been open for a couple of weeks now due to a huge quantity of autumn snow.  Right now, it has had over 100 inches of snow since September!  For comparison, Ski Santa Fe only has had 14 inches of snow since September and Crested Butte a mere 36.  What I'm getting at here is that the conditions up at Wolf Creek are amazing.

The drive from Santa Fe is pretty scenic; you wind your way through Espanola, Abiquiu, Chama, Chromo, and Pagosa.  Here's a photo of Cumbres Pass from El Vado, NM.

We arrived at the 1st ski lift of the season at 9:30am and skied until lunch and then a bit more.  There was plenty of snow to go around.  All lifts and runs were open.  The only catch was that some runs on the Alberta side of the ski area weren't fully groomed (and very few people had been over there) which made for some slow going.

(click for a larger trail map)

After some hours of rocking the steeps, K had the brilliant idea of checking out the cross country ski course.  Shockingly, we had had the foresight to pack our cross country gear so we made our way to the side parking lot for access.  The trail begins with a long downhill (whee!) and then flat/small uphilling around Alberta Lake, thickly iced over and picturesque, up through sylvan wonderland, around the Alberta ski lift, and then up a rather long hill back to the parking lot.  It took me 1.5 hours and a  couple of awkward falls with a goodly bit of flailing about, but it was really a lovely trail, especially with light snow flurries to cool me off.  About 1/2 of the trail was groomed.

Some non-skiing related highlights included the impressive array of local beers available in bomber sizes (25 fl. oz / 750 ML) at the cafeteria and dinner at Kip's in Pagosa.  Kip's has some serious tacos:

The ones pictured above are the Dos Diablos: corn tortilla inside of a flour tortilla (best of both worlds there), stuffed with a whole cheese-stuffed green chile pepper, beef, cabbage slaw, topped with avocado slices.I can also highly recommend the jalapeno poppers.  The bacon-wrapped jalapenos are grilled rather than breaded and deep fried which makes a world of difference.  Also, bacon.

This trip has gotten me pretty darn excited about this upcoming winter.  Please please please let it snow here in Santa Fe!

Our beloved High Desert Dude has also posted about our trip up to Wolf Creek and he has included a map of the cross country ski course & additional (way better) photos.  Check it out here.


  1. Hey, you were up in Pagosa too?! I like the picture of the food. Yum.

  2. @ Desert Dirt: What a coincidence! Who wudda thought?
    We should go up again soon and hit up those other xc trails.