As a resident Coloradan and loyal Purgatory skier, it’s not often that I break away from the luxury of resort riding at Durango Mountain Resort. Guilty. But with spring skiing right around the corner, I was on the hunt for the last of the untouched winter pow. And with boasts of the “Most Snow in Colorado,” you best believe the first place I looked was Wolf Creek Ski Area.
After a few days of exploration and expedition, this is what I learned.
- Hike the Ridges. It’s worth it.
Though not for the faint of heart, the 45 minute hike from Alberta Peak to Horseshoe Bowl can be totally worth it. Even if you don’t make it all the way to the covetous bowls, the ridge line offers endless opportunities for fresh pow, chutes and tree runs along the way. Drop in wherever your heart desires.
NOTE: the bowls and chutes found on this side of the mountain are Expert Only, and extreme caution should be used at all times.
- Love and embrace riding the Alberta Lift
My crew and I made one of those “laugh and embrace it” mistakes in which we hiked all the way from the Boundary Bowl to the Knife Ridge Staircase before we realized that riding the Alberta Lift could have cut our journey time in half. Whoops. Don’t kill yourself; save your energy and take a ride before hitching up those ski pants. I promise you’ll still get plenty of hiking in!
- Summit Alberta peak, if only for the views
On our journey from Boundary Bowl to Knife Ridge, we got the awesome opportunity to summit Alberta peak at 11,900′. Although totally unnecessary for our plans, the views made the lung burner worth it! And when there is fresh pow on the ground, the Alberta Peak provides awesome access to both Step and Montezuma Bowl. Experts Only!
- Get lost in Area 54
Like I said earlier, if you’re not hiking all the way to Horseshoe Bowl on the far left side of the mountain, a hike on Knife Ridge provides access to some insane terrain. The tree runs through Area 54 go on for miles and you can hit the same run all day without ever seeing the same tree twice.
And as always:
- Ski or board with a partner at all times
Narrow ridge lines, tree wells and steep chutes in avalanche territory are serious stuff to consider when skiing or boarding anywhere. Play it safe. Bring friends; it’s more fun anyway!
- BONUS: Make plans to soak in the healing mineral waters of Pagosa Hot Spring at the end of the day.
After all the achey, breaky spills, flips and carves you made through the powder today, allow yourself time to heal so you can do it all again tomorrow.