When you’re the lucky owner of a flying, reindeer-powered sleigh and only work one month a year, you can take your pick of ski destinations around the world. So where does Santa Claus choose to go snowboarding? Wolf Creek Colorado. Recently I caught up with the jolly old elf to take a few runs and learn why Santa rides Colorado.
“What kind of person builds a workshop on the North Pole if they don’t love the snow?” quips Kris Kringle, the elf better known as Santa Claus. “I love the cold, but this time of year I need to get in a few days down here at Wolfie before we get too busy up at the shop.”
While folklore has painted a picture of a jolly old saint, Santa is no saint on a powder day. Wolf Creek employees describe a man who has no problem getting up early, and doesn’t understand why he should have to wait until the lifts open to ride. “He shows up when it’s still dark, all jacked-up on sugar cookies, and acts like he owns the place,” remarks a lift operator who wished not to be identified, “but we have to put up with him, because, well, nobody wants to be on the naughty list.”
As we lapped the Bonanza chair together, Santa shared that he loves groomers, powder and bumps equally, and keeps coming back to Wolf Creek because he says it’s exactly what he looks for in a ski area. The great snow is a huge factor, as is the sunshine. “We don’t get this kind of weather up at the Pole. I just love flying the ol’ red sled down here and ski bumming at Wolfie.” Santa said. Oh, and did I mention that Santa rips?
“There are no crowds here. Everyone is here to ski and have a good time, from the guys getting gnarly in the Waterfall Area to the little Wolf Pups just making their first runs. I really love kids, obviously.” beamed Santa, “You know, tagging along on a ski lesson at Wolf Creek is a great way for me to see the kiddos enjoying the toys I leave for them, and I get a huge kick out of seeing them smile.”
This elf does not mess around on the mountain. He’s a big guy, but I guess climbing all those chimneys keeps him in shape. It was all I could do to keep up as I chased him up Alberta Peak before he dropped in and shredded Montezuma bowl. Run after run, the tireless toymaker would disappear into the gladed trees, and was always waiting for me at the bottom. I found Kringle to be a natural entertainer, with a clever and somewhat risqu sense of humor. When I asked what’s the best part about being Santa, he paused thoughtfully before replying “Well, I do know where all the naughty girls live…”
Even when you can’t keep up with Santa, he’s easy to locate; just follow the smell of cookies and you’ll find him. I don’t recommend this for non-elves, but Santa swears by a 100% cookie diet. It certainly is a new twist on aprs ski:
This is Colorado. And there’s a mountain for everyone, even Santa. Thanks for checking out the story. Visit our website for more info on Colorado’s ski areas, and keep checking out the blog to see more of our adventures in Colorado Ski Country USA.
-John Trousdale, Mountain Correspondent, Colorado Ski Country USA