PAGOSA SPRINGS — The snow gods have not blessed the Four Corners. Wolf Creek Ski Area reports that they are 50 percent behind in snowfall. As of press time, base depth at the summit was only 37 inches — this for the ski area that boasts “the most snow in Colorado,” and accumulated 535 inches of snow for the 2004-05-ski season.
December skier visits are down for Wolf Creek Ski Area. Nearly 51,000 skiers hit the slopes last month, down 3,500 from December 2004 — a 6 percent decrease.
“Lack of snow hurt us in the beginning,” Rosanne Haidorfer-Pitcher, director of marketing and sales, said. “We lost three weeks of the season and probably a little more.”
Last year, Wolf Creek opened Oct. 29, thanks to several early sea- son snowstorms. This year, the ski area didn’t open until Nov. 12. Only 6,740 skiers visited Wolf Creek in November, compared to 31,983 last year and an additional 1,764 in October, which is an 80 percent decrease.
“We did really well over Christmas and we are doing really well now,” Pitcher added. “I think we are getting New Mexico skiers because we have more snow than New Mexico. That’s what’s keeping our numbers healthy.”
Overall skier visits year-to-date are down 34 percent from last year.
In spite of the limited snow, Pitcher says that conditions are good. “The snow quality is really good, but there are more obstacles, bushes and the tops of trees that are usually covered with snow.”
There are three months left in the ski season and nearly 60 percent of skier visits happened last year during the last three months of the season. The 2004-05-ski season was an exceptional, record-breaking year for Wolf Creek ski area, which saw a total of 215,821 skiers enjoy the 535 inches of natural snowfall. Skier numbers at the ski area have steadily increased since the record low ski season of 1999-00 that saw only 114,802 skiers and a dismal 188 inches of total snowfall.
With a year-to-date total snowfall of 82 inches, many are wondering what will appease the snow gods? What sort of offering can we make to muster up a blizzard of wet snow?
“We’re just hoping that things change around,” Pitcher said.