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Taos Advice - Page 2

post #31 of 37

Well if you like steep moguls then you should hike the ridge.

Since you only have one day I'd probably skip hiking Kachina but that depends on you. Someone to show you around is a good idea to mazimize the short time.

post #32 of 37
Thread Starter 

Just back from an interesting week in New Mexico. 

Flew into Albuquerque on Sunday the 23rd and drove The Turquoise Highway into Santa Fe.  Really enjoyed puttering around in Madrid.

 

Monday we spent the day in Santa Fe playing tourist and letting our bodies acclimate.  It was HOT!  Drove up to Taos Ski Village that evening with a stop at the Black Mesa Winery.  Wines so good we joined their wine club and will be having two cases a year sent to us going forward.  Had dinner in Taos at El Monte Sacrado.  nom, nom.

 

Tuesday was our first ski day.  Would have loved to participated in a ski week, but were not planning on being there for 6 days.  Instead we did the buy 2 get one free deal.

Tuesday's lesson, to put it bluntly SUCKED.  My two girlfriends and I ski at very different levels and were put in a class with a guy who hadn't been on skis in 7 years.  The instructor talked too much and had us doing the same old tired drills.    I should have gone with my first instinct and dumped the instructor to ski with the 2 teenaged boys I met on the lift.  Our afternoon was MUCH better as we met up with a local (Hi Jess ~waving) who slowed her speed down drastically to let us tag along.  We did a hike up the ridge... just a bit to get a taste, and skied Juaraz (sp?) and then pretty much just followed Jess around the mountain.  It was a good first day, even if conditions were a bit thin.

 

Wednesday I complained to ski school and they hooked us up with Oscar who did all his talking on the lift, gave an excellent lesson, while making us feel like we were just skiing, was an excellent tour guide and smoothed out my bump skiing in very noticeable ways.  He knew where to find the snow.   Ski school gave us a voucher to replace the sucky lesson from the day before, and Oscar was so much fun to ski with I actually purchased an additional lift ticket at full price just to be able to use it.  He was THAT good.  We did a bit more hiking with him, enjoyed a powder day, and had a drink at the Martini Tree.  He made our vacation.

 

Had to go home after what looked like a 12 inch dump.  ~pout

 

Stayed at the Alpine Inn.  Wouldn't necessarily recommend it.  I've stayed in much nicer places for less money, although the location was convenient.

On a recommendation we drove to Ojo Caleinte (sp?) to check out the hot springs and get a massage.  The massage was excellent, as was dinner in their restaurant, but the hot springs?  meh.... I've been to better, more natural ones.  Although driving there allowed us to view the Rio Grande Bridge which was AMAZING, and to experience the fast darkness that is New Mexico at night.  So.many.stars.

 

All in all, it was a good trip, in spite of the thin cover (blue sky's and warm days made up for it), the injury my poor friend had to deal with after pretending to be a pin ball on lower Pollack's, and a bit of heavy breathing and tingly extremities from the altitude.  I am glad we got to experience Taos before all the changes that are sure to come with the new ownership.  Might be fun to travel back to see the changes in the futre.

post #33 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggie View Post

 

On a recommendation we drove to Ojo Caleinte (sp?) to check out the hot springs and get a massage.  The massage was excellent, as was dinner in their restaurant, but the hot springs?  meh.... I've been to better, more natural ones.  Although driving there allowed us to view the Rio Grande Bridge which was AMAZING, and to experience the fast darkness that is New Mexico at night.  So.many.stars.

 

 

I've never been myself, but I've talked to a local once who said you can hike down into the rio grande gorge (mile or so hike) and sit in 100% free, public, HOT, and natural springs right beside the Rio Grande. Just something to keep in mind if you ever decide to return!

post #34 of 37

We returned from our week in Taos on Sunday. Conditions early in the week were OK but pretty thin in spots....to be expected with no recent snows. My son and I hiked to the top of Kachina on Monday and it skied pretty good as the sun was softening up the hard pack. I hesitate to call it boiler plate as I've skied Whiteface quite a bit and used to see the sun glinting off the upper mountain from across Lake Champlain. It's really not a fair comparison....we'll just call it loud powder. We just skied Main St and the cut left into a little gully and out the bottom. Lotta rock showing, you really want to choose where to turn. Quite a bit of the mountain was closed when we got there. Kachina was closed on Sunday for the Jr Freeride Comp and West Basin Ridge was closed for the Salomon Free Skiing Comp, which was cancelled due to lack of snow, but they kept West Basin closed regardless. FWIW, the hike to the top of Kachina is described as a 45 minute hike. My hat's off to anyone that does it in 45 minutes. My 16 yr old son, who runs D1 winter and spring track and runs D1 cross country did it in 50-55 minutes. My best was right at an hour. We were both passing people pretty regularly. Other people were taking a lot longer....like almost 2 hours (which is ridiculously slow). If you're not a billy goat, plan on an hour to hour and a half. I believe they close the gate for Kachina at 1:30 PM.

 

I think it was Wednesday night we got maybe 6" of warmer consolidated pow and we hiked Kachina again the following morning. We did Main St again and it skied fantastic. 6" of dense powder skied as well as a foot of fluff. Buttery turns the whole way down and plenty of untracked. You won't see it like that for that long after the lift goes in. We were going to do another lap and do K3 or K4 but ran out of time. We headed over to West Basin Ridge and were thinking about running out the ridge a ways to the Tequila's or Meatball but went down 5th Chute at the advice of two local ladies who were nice enough to lead the way. They both described the top of the chutes further out as "sharky". I can take a hint. I'm not positive but I believe 5th Chute is Zdardsky. Maybe one of you guys knows. I suspect the wind direction was right during the snow because it skied pretty darn good. We did two runs on 5th Chute before they closed access.

 

During the week we skied off the Highline Ridge once down Billy Sol/Two Bucks. Pretty good but short.

 

We finally got some real snow Friday night into Saturday afternoon. Piled up pretty good. Still warm snow but that's what they really need to cover up the rocks. Kachina was closed due to the weather so we skied West Basin again. It was open to St. Bernard so we skied it twice, once down the right side and once down the left side. The snow was granular so it was a little touchy and not well consolidated. My son was on his 156 cm Nomads and I was on 186 6th Sense Big's. He was killing it the whole way down. He's really come a long way on the steeper stuff. I was struggling to get the Big's turned around in the narrow chute, especially at the choke as my skis were darn near as long as the chute was wide.....I know, I know .....go straight. Not this kid. I did my best to do gorilla jump turns where it got narrow. It turned into a lesson in sluff management and I failed. Didn't fall but it couldn't get much uglier. Once we got past the boulder in the middle of the chute it opens up and I finally had some room to play. Good fun.

 

Throughout the week we had fun playing on Castor, Pollux and the trees (and rocks...watch out) in between. Reforma and Blitz were fun. We could take the uppermost cat track under Lift 2 and run it to the rope and turn right down the hill. There were some nice turns under Spitfire in the West Basin.

 

Lorelei was closed most of the week until the Saturday snow. Skied pretty well after that snowfall. Even though we had to leave Saturday afternoon during the storm, we had a good week and I'm really glad the storm blew in. Hopefully there will be a couple more because they really need the snow.

 

Had a great week. Ate plenty of New Mexican food (try the Taos Taco in the area cafeteria, it's awesome and there aren't too many ski resorts where a $9 lunch will leave you stuffed), drank a few local beers, caught a few rays (no sunburn) and made a few turns. It doesn't get much better. For restaurants we ate at Michael's Kitchen (for breakfast), The Gorge, Eske's, Guadalajara Grille, The Bavarian (in TSV), Five Star Burger, Outback Pizza. All pretty good. We tried two times to eat at Taos Mesa Brewing.....no dice. First night there was a fund raiser benefit and the second night there was a band and no seating available. My advice would be if you want to eat there, go early, call ahead and make sure there's nothing goin on. There's not a lot of seating there. Or just pick somewhere else to go......

 

Had a great week in Taos. We'll be back.

post #35 of 37
Glad to hear your experience of Taos was great despite a tough season.
post #36 of 37

I have a guide lined up... figured it's probably a 1x/lifetime thing and a worthwhile investment.

post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maggie View Post
 

Wednesday I complained to ski school and they hooked us up with Oscar who did all his talking on the lift, gave an excellent lesson, while making us feel like we were just skiing, was an excellent tour guide and smoothed out my bump skiing in very noticeable ways.  He knew where to find the snow.   Ski school gave us a voucher to replace the sucky lesson from the day before, and Oscar was so much fun to ski with I actually purchased an additional lift ticket at full price just to be able to use it.  He was THAT good.  We did a bit more hiking with him, enjoyed a powder day, and had a drink at the Martini Tree.  He made our vacation.

 

 

 

Glad you had a chance to ski with Oscar. He is one of the best young instructor in the ski school. One of my favorite people at Taos.

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