Another big storm moved into Colorado early Feb, so it was time to head north and sample more Wolf Creek powder.
I headed up the San Luis valley on 285, staying on the east side of Wolf Creek pass, in South Fork. This is the side that tends to stay open longest on heavy snow days. The Pagosa Springs side of the pass has more avalanche problems.
It snowed all day before I arrived, that night, and all day I was there. The powder was the lightest I've seen this season...I needed my fattest skis (K2 Pontoons) to float...and even they were barely up to the task.
Coming in for lunch...I was warm, but tired...and my beard was loaded with ice from the blowing snow and all the face shots I was bagging on every run. I've never had so many face shots on super fat skis. Unbelievable deep and light powder.
The top of the Alberta chair, skier's right, 50 yards. I was skiing powder that had been tracked up because the untracked stuff was so deep that you would come to a stop on all but the steepest pitch.
At the end of the day I skied to the parking lot and found my truck buried with new snow after only eight hours. It was a battle getting out of the parking lot. It was a welcome relief to reach the motel.
The next morning had the truck buried once again! I had a sinking feeling that the enormous snow fall was going to be too much for the Colorado DOT and Wolf Creek ski resort.
I left the motel and headed up to the pass. Here's the view of highway 160 just past the motel. One very narrow lane in each direction had been plowed, with a 1-2 foot deep central 'berm' separating the lanes. One false move and you left the plowed lane...buried deep and waiting for help. 10 miles from the pass the gate was down: road closed...and unplowed. I could read the writing in the snow bank: abort the ski day. (It was obvious that it would be many hours before the first plow reached Wolf Creek ski resort. Nothing left but to head home after only one day of skiing!)
But returning home was not going to be easy. Hwy 285 is notoriously wind blown...a couple inches of new snow creates very large drifts. We got as far as the New Mexico state line...and waited....
At least the Sangre De Cristos looked pretty on the east side of the San Luis valley...but they were forecast to get more snow in the afternoon.
The New Mexico portion of 285 opened around 2PM. To the south was more snow falling across the state. It took 14 hours to get home.