Someone asked me, Why are you so happy? Because I skied today and it was good. Overheard in the ski lodge, May 1, 2016
By R. Scott Rappold
All good things must come to an end.
In that spirit, Wolf Creek Ski Area in southern Colorado called it a season May 1, nearly a month after the original closing date. It was the latest closing in recent memory for Wolf Creek, thanks to a snowy April that just would not quit.
Its been a while since we stayed open this long and it was strictly for the El Nino forecast that seemed to be holding true at the end of March, said Rosanne Haidorfer-Pitcher, vice president for marketing and sales. Once upon a time Wolf Creek would reopen for Memorial Day weekend, but she said those days are long gone.
The ski area reopened the weekends of April 16-17 and April 30-May 1, skipping the intervening weekends because of warm temperatures and poor snow conditions. Haidorfer-Pitcher said 1,800 skiers came out for the first bonus weekend and 1,300 for the finale.
And the snow at Wolf Creek’s powdery grand finale did not disappoint. The first bonus weekend was timed so impeccably with a major snowstorm youd think Ullr himself (the Norse god of snow) had set things in motion. A dry period followed and then in the last week of April the snow came back, 6 inches here, 7 inches there. The April 30 reopening offered limitless fresh tracks in smooth buttery snow. And on the afternoon of May 1, snow came down in buckets, even as the lifts went silent.
True to form for the ski area that claims the most snow in Colorado, they finished the year with a whopping 446 inches, just 4 shy of their seasonal average. It was a strong turnaround after going six weeks in February and March with hardly a flake of snow. Skier visitation finished 8 percent above last year.
Were pretty happy about the year. That dry spell was painful. Everybody around here is a powder hound. It stops snowing for a few days and everyone gets cranky, said Haidorfer-Pitcher.
The bonus days were a thank you to pass holders and others who endured the dry times and local businesses that benefit from the traffic. She said Wolf Creek broke even financially, which was only possible because seasonal employees were gone and year-round employees ran the resort.
Everybody loves it. They have a good time. So many people have thanked us and were excited about it. But we really do it for people who love to ski, she said.
She glanced up at the hill. The amount of people who are here are really good skiers. You can see everything got skied out.
The flakes were falling heavily during the interview. What if it keeps snowing until June? Will they reopen again?
We cant do it anymore. It was good while it lasted but it does need to come to an end for us.