Sunny With A Chance Of Powder

Find giant snowfall, smaller crowds, and a dash of nostalgia during a weekend escape to Wolf Creek.

December 2013

Fortunately, as we pulled into the driveway we got the distinct impression we had made the right choice. The innkeeper, Fritz Allen, and his 12-year-old daughter, Sadi, were waiting to greet us. Allen has lived in a log cabin nestled along the banks of the Rio Grande River with his wife and daughter since 2001. They are three of the approximately 600 year-round South Fork residents who find the town’s lack of amenities—you have to drive 30 miles for a Safeway—appealing. Standing in front of the cabins, the river, and eight secluded acres, it’s easy to see why.

In 2006, Allen opened a bed-and-breakfast on the same property as his own log home,  and, last year, he transitioned the business to cabin rentals. The lodging has been popular with fly fishermen in the summer because of the gold medal waters it bumps up against. But the cabins—built in tribute to a Norwegian tradition in which kids grow up and build a house just steps from their parents’ place—are just as suitable for winter adventures.

With thick flakes falling, we hurriedly lugged our bags 40 paces to the Master Cabin. Unlike many mountain accommodations, which try too hard to be quaint and shabby-chic, the wooden bed, gas fireplace, oversize leather chairs, and blue-and-green tiled bathroom gave the structure a contemporary but lived-in vibe; it’s exactly the kind of place you wish you could just leave your gear because you’ll be back next week. We even found a switch to turn on the twinkle lights adorning the cabin’s roof.

After unpacking, we followed Allen’s recommendation for dinner: a visit to the Shaft Restaurant, a laid-back locals’ hangout, for salad and pizza and some beer-fueled foosball in the attached bar. With our bellies full and the snowfall diminishing, we grabbed a six-pack of Dale’s Pale Ale at the nearby liquor store and ended the night in Riverside’s outdoor hut tub, looking up at an expanse of stars so vast and so bright, a date with the slopes the next morning was the only reason good enough to draw me inside to sleep.