Wolf Creek Ski Area, East of Pagosa Springs in Southwest Colorado recently presented a proposal for the expansion and upgrade of their operations. The Pitcher family, owners and operators of the ski area since 1986 started a campaign to generate a discussion of the project and receive some feedback from the public. Wolf Creek Expansion Plan | Minimalist Approach to “Ski Area” Management in Colorado? | Unofficial Networks

Wolf Creek Expansion Plan | Minimalist Approach to "Ski Area" Management in Colorado?

Wolf Creek Expansion Plan | Minimalist Approach to "Ski Area" Management in Colorado?

ALL

Wolf Creek Expansion Plan | Minimalist Approach to "Ski Area" Management in Colorado?

By

Wolf Creek Ski Area, East of Pagosa Springs in Southwest Colorado recently presented a proposal for the expansion and upgrade of their operations. The Pitcher family, owners and operators of the ski area since 1986 started a campaign to generate a discussion of the project and receive some feedback from the public.

The plan includes 1 low capacity tram, 5 new lifts, 1 lift upgrade and realignment, and 4 multi-use on mountain facilities.

Here is a complete description of the proposal:

New Lifts:

  • Matchless Low Capacity Tram
  • Pass Lift
  • Storm Lift
  • Elma Lift
  • Meadow Lift
  • Sunset Lift
  • Upgrade to detachable & realignment of Bonanza Lift

New Buildings:

  • Patrol facility at top of Matchless Tram
  • Multi-use facility at base of Pass Lift
  • Guest services and patrol facility at top of Sunset lift
  • New guest services facility at top of existing Alberta Lift

The Matchless Pod area looks like it will bring a lot of rad terrain inside of Wolf Creek’s boundaries. The Storm Lift access to Knife ridge which will only operate during storm cycles also looks like it will open up the steeper areas of the mountain during times when hiking might be more difficult. The other new lifts including the Pass, Elma, Meadow, and Sunset lifts look like they will improve flow and provide more terrain for beginner and intermediate riders.

Matchless Low Capacity Tram

Matchless Pod & Low Capacity Tram (2300 ft. vertical)

The Matchless low capacity tram really looks like it could add a lot of terrain to Wolf Creek.

Storm Lift

Storm Lift (to operate during storm cycles then shut down or normal operations)

Wolf Creek receives some of the best snow in the San Juans and is one of those much loved and treasured ski areas that hosts a dedicated and vocal group of “core” skiers and riders. The video presentation sure seems to go out of its way to emphasize the non-commercial and minimal impact nature of the proposal. No new parking,  no real discussion of “lodges” or other amenities. Just more skiing terrain.

“Wolf Creek is not a real estate development, it’s a ski area” is the first statement made in the video trailer above.

There is a bit of a twist with this scenario however. A Texas developer by the name of Red McComb has been pushing a full scale village development at Wolf Creek. The project is unaffiliated with the ski area and has not been publicly endorsed by the Wolf Creek Ski Area, but McComb has been working with the Forest Service on a land swap deal where he would trade an area of wetlands that is not permitted for development in exchange for a plot of land on which he plans to build a resort village.

land swap map Durango Herald

Land swap map (image: Durango Herald)

So, in spite of the emphasis by the Wolf Creek Ski Area that they are not a real estate development and the resort expansion is focused solely on improving the skiing access and operations with a minimal impact approach, it can’t be lost on Wolf Creek management the potential for increased skier visits as a result of the McComb development if it goes through.

There has been strong push back against the McComb real estate development on the part of area residents and it would appear that Wolf Creek is doing everything it can to distance itself from the village proposal, but the whole scenario does beg the question: Is it possible for a “ski area” to grow without the trappings of a modern “destination resort?” Does it make a difference if the mountain operations remain separate from other development plans in the region?

What’s your take? Are you stoked to see Wolf Creek Grow? Or do you worry that it might grow too fast? 

For more info on the village plans check out freindsofwolfcreek.org

More Unofficial Networks