Wolf Creek takes plan to expand to the public

This week’s meetings not connected to any regulatory agencies

The Pitcher family that owns the Wolf Creek Ski Area east of Pagosa Springs wants to know what the public thinks about them expanding and upgrading operations.

“Wolf Creek is not a real estate zone and not a resort,” Davey Pitcher said Friday by telephone. “It’s about skiing.”

Ideas for improving amenities for skiers while being good stewards of the environment is what Pitcher and his wife, Roseanne, want to talk about with interested parties.

The first meeting will be Tuesday in Durango.

The meetings aren’t connected to any regulatory agency such as the U.S. Forest Service or the Environmental Protection Agency that would have some oversight of development, said Janet Wolf, a project manager at Durango-based Ecosphere Environmental Services.

“We’re helping the Pitchers with their vision-sharing,” Wolf said Friday. “We’ll also analyze the feedback.”

Pitcher said the round of public presentations is to share ideas.

“We’ve got ideas, just ideas,” Pitcher said. “We’ve invited stakeholders to hear about our plans.”

Pitcher expects to see snowmobilers, environmental groups and public agency representatives as well as skiers at the meetings. What comes out of the meetings could lay the foundation for what the ski area does during the next 20 years.

The Pitcher family has operated Wolf Creek Ski Area since 1976. The ski area, located in Rio Grande National Forest, has seen public skiing since the 1930s.

The meeting in Durango will be followed by similar gatherings Wednesday in Pagosa Springs and Thursday at the Wolf Creek Lodge and Creede. A meeting is planned at a later date in South Fork.

Among the Pitchers’ potential enhancements, as they’re called, are providing shuttle service from Pagosa Springs and South Fork to the ski area, developing rest-area chalets for ski patrol members and the public at the top three lifts, expanding terrain and upgrading all facilities.

The Wolf Creek Ski Area currently spreads over 1,581 acres atop Wolf Creek Pass. There will be no expansion of the on-site parking lot, which has 2,200 slots, Pitcher said.

Off-site shuttle service, Pitcher said, would not require extensive environmental studies and would reduce traffic on a highway that tests the nerves of many drivers.

Skiers could save time when they reach the ski area by buying tickets at the shuttle terminals.

Pitcher said the family has been talking to the Forest Service about expanding into about 1,000 acres in the San Juan National Forest.