Skiing Wolf Creek Colorado

Skiing Wolf Creek Colorado

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded
Wolf Creek Trail Map
  • Vertical (ft)
    10,300 – 11,904 (1,604)
  • Average Snow Fall
    430 inches
  • Lifts (9)
  • Ski Season
  • early Nov to early Apr
  • Terrain Summary
    Acres – 1,600
    Trails – ?
    Longest run – 2mi
    Beginner – 20%
    Intermediate - 35%
    Advanced - 25%
    Expert - 20%

Wolf Creek Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Snowboarding or skiing at Wolf Creek Colorado is perfect for the astute powder hound, with an abundance of good powder snow, minimal crowds in the advanced and expert zones, and an assortment of great lines.

Some folks like to complain that the Wolf Creek ski area is too small. The skiable acreage is only 1,600 (647 hectares), which is small compared to some of the behemoth ski resorts in Colorado, but it’s still a very respectable size compared to the average ski resort (see our USA ski resort statistics for comparison information).

Wolf Creek Colorado may seem small to some of the Texan visitors that only ski the beginner and intermediate terrain in the main area. Locals and powder hounds that venture out to the Alberta lift have another 1,000 acres of powder fun and a seemingly infinite number of awesome lines in the trees, however what may make it feel modestly sized is that that 1,000 acres is primarily serviced by only one lift, and a good degree of hiking is required to utilise all the terrain.

The resort may also seem small because the lift served vertical is only 1,604 feet (489 metres), which is one of the shortest in Colorado, but is vertical all it’s cracked up to be?

The skiing at Wolf Creek Colorado is well suited to all levels of skiers, except those that want an abundance of extreme terrain. Beginner and low-end intermediate snowboarders should enjoy Wolf Creek, whilst some advanced snowboarders may get frustrated with the amount of skating required around the Alberta bowl area, as well as the traversing required off the Treasure chair.

Wolf Creek Lift Tickets

Lift tickets are fabulously cheap at Wolf Creek Colorado, and beginner lift tickets to just ride the Nova Chair are particularly economical.

Keep an eye out for “local appreciation days” where lift tickets are ever cheaper. And best of all, you don’t have to be a local as no ID is required.


With cheap lift tickets, it would seem wrong to have high expectations for the lift infrastructure, so it’s no great surprise that the lifts are reasonable without being amazing.

The main area is well serviced with a couple of magic carpets, 2 detachable quads, 2 fixed grip chairs, and a poma that runs parallel to the Treasure Stoke chair, so it remains superfluous for much of the season.

In the Alberta bowl the Alberta lift goes the full vertical and is a long slow chair lift. Meanwhile the Charity Jane Express is a very short detachable quad chair that mostly functions for egress. Short and fast versus long and slow may seem ridiculous on the face of it, but it seems that there are plans for the future when the fast quad chair may make more sense. This zone also has a slow triple mainly for egress, which was repurposed from the front side.

During peak vacation periods the lift queues in the main area can be bad, whilst in stark contrast the ski area and lifts are almost deserted during the regular season.

Wolf Creek Snow

Wolf Creek is well known for getting the most snow in Colorado, and renowned for having great snowfall early in the season. The Wolf Creek powder isn't as dry as some other Colorado ski resorts such as Steamboat, but occasionally it's super dry (we were lucky enough to score it on a really dry day). With a north facing aspect and high elevation (1,079ft/329 metres higher than neighbouring Purgatory), the Wolf Creek snow quality is generally well maintained.

There are lots of rumours amongst the locals that Wolf Creek understate their snow report. The snow report may state that 4” fell overnight, yet when you get there it is apparent that there’s a foot of new snow. This may seem incredibly strange considering the marketing ploys of other USA ski resorts, but the talk on the street is that Wolf Creek don’t want to encourage any more visitors. They must want to keep all the powder to themselves!

Skiing Wolf Creek for the Beginner

Wolf Creek is a decent ski area for beginners. Complete novices have the magic carpets at the base area. They can then progress to the Nova chair, an area dedicated to beginners and free of fast skiers zooming past. From here there are great progression runs off two other chair lifts, and the short vertical is an advantage for beginners who tire easily.

There are also a few beginners runs off the Charity Jane Express, although these are currently a bit of a waste until other lifts are installed due to access difficulty.

Ski Wolf Creek - Intermediates

The intermediate terrain at Wolf Creek is mostly OK and it’s good that the trail map differentiates between easy and harder blues to assist with progression. There are enough runs in the main area for just a day or two of entertainment, and mid-level intermediates can venture further afield to the Alberta bowl, although you may get stuck on cat track trails that require some skating unless you lap the short runs off the Elma and Charity Jane lifts.

For more confident intermediates, Wolf Creek offers a fantastic playground in which to gain some powder experience. In the main area there are lots of spots to whizz off the trails into the powder, knowing that the comfort of a groomed run is not too far away. Experienced powder riders can play in the Alberta area on blue tree runs such as Serendipity and Pitch’s Gate.

Terrain Parks & Pipes

Shredders will have to rely on natural features in the Waterfall area as there is no terrain park or halfpipe at Wolf Creek.

Advanced Skiing Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek is absolutely perfect for advanced skiers who love powder, and competition for powder in the advanced zones is relatively low. There are no steep groomed runs whatsoever, so it could be a bit boring if it hasn’t snowed in a while, but with recent snowfall there is an abundance of awesome tree skiing as well as open bowls in which to play. Good mellow tree runs can be found to the left of the Raven chair between Gun Barrel and Thumper, and between Thumper and Bunny Hop. The trees are not widely spaced but they are very rideable, especially if there’s fresh snow.

Moving east, amazing lines can be found in Bonanza bowl which can be accessed with a short slide/walk from the Treasure chair. The bowl collects a load of powder and the steep pitch is very sweet indeed, albeit somewhat short. Similarly the Glory Hole and Boundary Bowl offer amazing powder skiing.

The showpiece of Wolf Creek for advanced riders is the area serviced by the Alberta lift. Drop in (almost) anywhere that takes your fancy for fabulous tree skiing. The Abracadabra tree run is particularly magical. Much of the terrain is not super steep, but if there’s powder you won’t care. The exception is the Waterfall area (marked as double black) and strong advanced skiers will have an absolute ball in here, but keep an eye out for the cliffs and drop-offs if hucking is not your thing.

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

With the exception of the Waterfall area and the Numbered Chutes, all the double blacks require a degree of hiking, and the steep pitches are fairly short. Wolf Creek calls their double black runs “extreme”. Some of the runs are extreme for a few turns, but otherwise they are just your average double black diamond expert runs.

To the lookers left of the Alberta chair there are a whole series of lines off the Knife Ridge. Access starts with a steep 100ft walk up to the patrollers’ hut which puts most people off. Some of the locals call this pitch the “Texan filter”. From here it’s a reasonably easy hike up a staircase amongst the rocks, and then a relatively gentle walk along the ridge. It can be hairy if it’s icy; otherwise it’s a piece of cake (unless you live at sea level!). It’s up to you how far you want to hike along the ridge. Closest in are the Knife Ridge Chutes which include good rock features to huck off, whilst further along are the Dog Chutes where the entries aren’t quite so scary.

Hiking much further east along the ridge will take you to Horseshoe Bowl where you’ll likely be rewarded with fresh powder in a delightfully steep open bowl. After big snow storms the resort often runs a snowcat shuttle from the Dog Chutes to minimise part of the hike. Hiking to the lookers’ right of the patrollers hut takes you to Alberta Peak. Drop in early into Step Bowl for a mellow pitch, or continue hiking to get to gnarlier lines.

The Bonanza cliffs off the Treasure Chair can be another spot for experts to play. The degree of difficulty depends largely on the amount of snow cover. With thin cover, they are so technically difficult they are almost suicidal.

For the Powder Hound

Due to the relatively low traffic of expert riders at Wolf Creek, usually fresh lines remain for quite a while, especially in the hike-to-terrain. Wolf Creek is also a great gateway to the backcountry with various access gates at the top of the ski area. This is backcountry, not slack-country, so there’s no easy access back to the lifts.

With so much snow at Wolf Creek, avalanche control is a big job for the patrollers, particularly at the top where there are steep pitches. To assist with control there are avalanche gates into many of the expert zones. It is also recommended that riders wear an avalanche beacon in these areas and take the other usual precautions.