Why So Much Snow?

Why So Much Snow?

Photo: Michael Pierce Photography

The locals aren’t exaggerating— Pagosa Country really does have some of the best natural snow in Colorado, and the most of it! 

If you don’t believe the local lore, check the stats; nearly every winter, an average of 39 feet falls on the area’s 12,000-foot alpine summits surrounding Wolf Creek Pass. One year, the total snowfall exceeded 75 feet. 

There’s no question; this is the reason powder hounds love Wolf Creek Ski Area. No other Colorado ski mountain can predictably offer as much untracked powder and packed powder as Wolf Creek. 

Meteorologists attribute Wolf Creek’s consistent snow accumulation to the ski area’s location within the San Juan Mountains and to numerous high peaks around Pagosa Springs.

According to weather experts, as relatively warm, subtropical moisture from the Pacific pushes east over the southwestern deserts and eventually rises up to surmount the southern San Juan Mountains, it cools and further condenses, thus creating additional moisture. Because colder air holds less moisture, heavy winter precipitation falls in the form of light and powdery snow. The surrounding topography actually funnels this precipitation — referred to as “upslope weather” — to the ski area, thus producing some of the most and best snow anywhere in Colorado. 

For winter sports enthusiasts, this means world-class skiing on the runs at Wolf Creek Ski Area, and outstanding cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling throughout Pagosa Country. 

Retail Therapy