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Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding
Wolf Creek Ski Area. With more than 430 average inches of snow annually, Wolf Creek Ski Area is Colorado's best-kept secret. The trails accommodate all ability levels and traverse every kind of terrain, from wide-open bowls to steep glades, with commanding views of remote valleys and towering peaks. Because there are no slope-side accommodations, Wolf Creek has a reputation as a laid-back place for those with an aversion to the long lift lines and the other hassles of faster-paced, better-known ski areas.
At 2 miles, the longest run at Wolf Creek is Navajo Trail. Beginners can start on the Raven chairlift to the Snow Shoe or the Kelly Boyce Trail; both hook up with the Bunny Hop back down the hill.
The best area for advanced skiers stretches back to Horseshoe Bowl from the Waterfall area, serviced by the Alberta lift. The more intrepid will want to climb the Knife Ridge Staircase to the more-demanding Knife Ridge Chutes. Just below is the groomed Sympatico, which runs down a gentler ridge and through dense forest below the Alberta lift. U.S. 160, Pagosa Springs, CO. 970/264–5639. www.wolfcreekski.com. Early Nov.–mid-Apr., daily 8:30–4.
1,604-foot vertical drop; 1,600 skiable acres; 20% beginner, 35% intermediate, 25% advanced, 20% expert; 1 quad, 2 triples, 2 doubles, 2 surface lifts.
Lessons and Programs
Wolf Creek Ski School. Group lessons are a good bet here—they're $42 for two hours and $62 for four hours. Beginner packages are $58, and private one-hour lessons are $70. Children older than 4 can join the Wolf Pups program, which includes lift tickets and lunch. Kids ages 9 to 12 can join the Hot Shots program, which takes both skiers and boarders. Wolf Creek Ski Area, Pagosa Springs, CO. 970/264–5639.
The walk-up rate is $52 for adults, $40 for half day, with three-day lift passes for $153.
Wolf Creek Ski Rental, in the Sports Center Building across from the ticket office, rents skis and boards. Adult sets (skis, boots, poles) are $14-$31 and $18 for telemark. Boards are $26 with or without boots; boot rentals are $10.
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