Wolf Creek Ski Area
Wolf Creek Ski Area
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A number of ski enthusiasts from the San Luis Valley got together in the late thirties to enjoy the snow that they knew fell in abundance on top of Wolf Creek Pass. Seventy-five years later, Wolf Creek Ski Area is still providing a service, which allows the public to use and enjoy the mountains in the winter season.
Kingsbury “Pitch” Pitcher, owner of Wolf Creek Ski Area and New Mexico Ski Hall of Famer, will be inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame on October 17th, 2014. Pitch will be honored for his role in the development of the ski industry in both Colorado and the United States. Pitch, who celebrated his 95th birthday in July, was one of the first certified instructors of the Rocky Mountain Ski Instructors Association. The life-long skier raced for the Stanford University Ski Team and was a ski school instructor, supervisor and ski area operator for many years. Pitch has been a ski industry consultant over the years and has played a role in the development of many ski resorts including Snowmass, Buttermilk Mountain, Arrowhead, Ski Apache, Santa Fe Ski Basin, Big Sky, Wolf Creek and ski properties near Telluride.
This 2014 – 2015 ski season, the Elma Lift will become a part of the mountain, adding more variety and character to the current Wolf Creek lift system. The Elma Lift is named after the Pitcher Family’s strong and faithful Black Labrador. The new fixed-grip triple chairlift is refurbished from the old Treasure chairlift and will be equipped with a new efficient electric motor and re-engineered parts that meet all current safety standards. Fifteen towers will span 460 vertical feet, with a capacity of 1,200 skiers per hour. Although this is one of Wolf Creek’s smaller lifts, it will provide access to an area of the mountain that is under utilized and establish an alternate route back to the base area from the Alberta Lift.
The new Race Hutch comes to life this season, with an observation area for the crew and storage area for the race equipment, banner, poles and safety fencing. The new building will be approximately 18 feet by 20 feet, located below the old race shack. The Wolf Creek Fun Race Series runs throughout the winter, which is an extremely popular program for guests of all ages and abilities. The races are free and the fastest racers in 28 brackets are awarded gold, silver and bronze medals. See wolfcreekski.com for a schedule of the races.
The Wolf Creek Ski School is introducing a new pilot snowboard program called the Wolf Riders for children age five to eight that teaches the basics and beyond of snowboarding. Tickets for the Wolf Riders can be purchased in the Ticket Office. Rentals for Wolf Riders are in the Boarder Dome. Kids will meet in the Wolf Pup Building designed specifically for that age group which offers easy access to the Magic Carpet and Nova Lift. The full day Wolf Rider ticket includes four hours of lessons, plus lunch and snacks; half day is also available. The ski school offers a variety of instruction for adults, seniors, women, juniors and the well-known Wolf Pup ski program.
Wolf Creek Pass is in the epicenter of the Spruce Bark Beatle epidemic and the ski area continues to identify and remove dead and dying hazard trees, while leaving many of the standing dead for the wildlife to live in. Summer projects include tree removal along lift corridors and other strategic areas.
Wolf Creek continues to do an excellent job of providing quality food service for the many eateries on the mountain. Specialties include: Santa Fe-style green chili stew, red chili, local organic grilled burgers, gourmet salad bar, homemade pizza, hot daily lunch specials, a number of delicious desserts and refreshing après-ski drinks.
As a part of Wolf Creek’s many services, Wolf Creek offers free paved parking and free parking shuttles. Wolf Creek Ski Area will continue to offer the complementary use of the Nordic track as it has in years past. The ski area maintains the grooming and track setting each season. A schedule of events and programs is available at wolfcreekski.com along with other detailed information and photos. A mobile friendly version of the website will be available so smart phones and electronic tablets will have easy access to the latest happenings on the mountain.
NEW PROJECTS AT WOLF CREEK FOR THE 2013 – 2014 SEASON!
Wolf Creek is looking forward to this season with an exciting upgrade to the lift system and other projects that will improve the base core of an already great mountain! Wolf Creek Ski Area had a good winter for the 2012 – 2013 season; the year-end count was 201,000 skiers. The season’s s start was slow, but true to the Wolf Creek style, the white flakes fell just as the Thanksgiving holidays approached. Conditions improved throughout the season although the weather was unseasonably dry in March.
Wolf Creek Ski Area is replacing the Treasure Lift, which is one of Wolf Creek’s main lifts connecting guests to a wide variety of terrain with a new, Doppelmayr, detachable, high-speed quad. The new Treasure Stoke Lift will provide guests with an easier and more pleasurable loading and unloading experience. The ride up will be a little over six minutes; the capacity will remain the same, providing that low- density on-mountain experience that Wolf Creek is known for. Treasure Stoke will be a great improvement to the core of the Wolf Creek lift system.
Maintenance of Wolf Creek’s existing buildings is another priority for this summer. The Administrative office and Ticket Office at Wolf Creek is undergoing several maintenance/improvement projects including new carpet, an updated kitchenette, wall preservation treatments, and new ticket windows. The Ticket Office is Wolf Creek’s central information center as well as the sales office for all ticket and ski school purchases.
Besides, the new Treasure Stoke, four other projects are in the line-up for improvements to Wolf Creek which include: The Elma Lift, the Sports Center Remodel, the Race Hutch and the Water Tank. All these projects have recent approval by the US Forest Service and will have a 2 t0 3 year completion time.
The Elma Lift will provide skiers a way to get back to the base area from the bottom of the Alberta lift and eliminate the long traverse across the mountain from Park Avenue to the base area. During times of avalanche hazard reduction when the Alberta Lift opens later than the other lifts, the Elma Lift will allow the public to return to the Treasure Lift and the lower Waterfall Area while waiting for the Alberta Lift to open. The Elma Lift will be a fixed-grip, triple chairlift that will use the re-engineered equipment from the Treasure Lift. The Elma lift will be approximately 2,400 feet in length, with the bottom terminal located near the existing bottom terminal of the Alberta Lift, and topping out where Flim Flam branches off Navajo Trail.
The Sports Center Upgrade/Remodel includes a tasteful expansion of the existing facility into a two-story building. The current Boarder Dome (roughly 650 square feet) will be eliminated, with its functions being incorporated into the remodel/enlargement of the Sports Center facility. The deck/barbeque area on the Upper/Main Lodge will be replaced, as well as the staircase. This project is to be completed in two phases. The first phase includes the construction of the foundation and lower storage area in the Sports Center, along with rebuilding the stairs and the east deck of the Upper/Main Lodge. The second phase includes building the second floor of the Sports Center.
Wolf Creek Ski Area hosts a number of "Fun Races" throughout the ski season. These popular races are free and open to skiers and boarders of all ages and abilities with a dual race format. The course is set up in a modified giant slalom, which begins at the top of the Charisma trail and ends at the Race Hutch. The existing Race Hutch, located near the bottom of the Charisma trail, will be replaced and upgraded to house the race equipment, fencing, signs and speaker system. The new building will be approximately 18 feet by 20 feet and located below the current Race Hutch location. Although slated for the 2012 -2013 ski season, final approval has only recently been granted.
While Wolf Creek Ski Area relies primarily on natural snowfall, there are times during the early season or years of light snowfall where snowmaking is used to supplement natural snowfall on select trails. These trails are generally well-covered but have areas of minimal snow coverage that prevent the trails to be opened. A new 500,000-gallon steel water tank will be built in the flat area near the intersection of Turnpike and Powder Puff trails. This tank will support the base area infrastructure and snowmaking operations, as well as fire fighting.
New in the Ski School:
Beginner Packages that are guaranteed for success! New skiers and boarders can purchase the Beginner Ski/Snowboard Special, which includes access to the Nova Lift (beginner lift) and four hours of group lessons. When a guest purchases this ticket and completes the instruction and is still not confident with stopping and riding the Nova lift, the Wolf Creek ski school will personalize the service. An instructor will take this guest and give additional personalized time (up to an hour) after the class or the next morning. The Wolf Creek Ski School is guaranteeing a successful experience to each new skier and boarder!
Rental Skis and Snowboard Fleet Upgrades:
Wolf Creek’s inventory of skis and boards remains the best of it’s kind! The rental department is known for it’s friendly staff and certified technicians to give the best- fit and comfortable experience that skiers and boarders of all levels are looking for. A variety of new “Demo” Skis and Snowboards will be added to the rental fleet as well as an entire new “Performance” Line.
A high technology infrared wax machine is making its debut in the rental shop; a full venue of hot wax packages will be offered.
Wolf Creek deals with the Spruce Bark Beetle:
The Spruce Bark Beetle has been devastating to Wolf Creek Pass. Wolf Creek identifies that this outbreak is a natural process, and accepts that a dramatic change to our existing landscape is unavoidable. The ski area anticipates that the infestation and its ensuing fires are inevitable. This summer, over 100,000 acres burned in the wildfire of the West Fork Complex, of which Wolf Creek Ski Area’s special use permit is adjacent to. Although there are no good solutions to this immense problem, Wolf Creek skiers and snowboarders should be aware of the beetle-kill issue and avoid running over saplings and smaller treetops.
Currently, Wolf Creek works with the US Forest Service by removing hazard trees and identifying trees for fire reduction, i.e. fire hazard reduction.
Wolf Creek continues to remove hazard trees at its own expense with hired aerial cranes; these helicopters ensure that the sensitive terrain is minimally disturbed. Tree removal is also done with snow-cats before the snow-melt is over. The most hazardous trees are identified and removed. Currently Wolf Creek estimates that 95 to 100 percent of all mature Engelmann Spruce will be lost during this natural process.
Wolf Creek Ski Area supports Colorado State Search and Rescue:
2012-2013 pilot program was a huge success and now it will be standard practice for Wolf Creek’s Season Pass holders to receive a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue Card with the purchase of their season pass. Supporting Search and Rescue is a need Wolf Creek Ski Area finds critical for skiers and snowboarders that frequent Wolf Creek as well as all outdoor enthusiasts that enjoy the many activities Colorado offers
Wolf Creek Ski Area will continue to offer the complimentary use of the Nordic Track as it has in years past. The ski area maintains the grooming and track setting each season. The cross-country track has been the focus of several Nordic and Skate Ski Clinics over the past few seasons. These clinics are free to skiers of all abilities and provide participants with helpful techniques to improve skill for a more efficient and enjoyable cross-country skiing experience.
- Winter Attraction
- Colorado 81147
- (970) 264-5639
- Web Address: