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Taos 2/5/06

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Unable to convince any of my slug-like friends to make a trip north this weekend, I decided to go explore the mountain conditions at Taos Ski Valley. I had heard that it was pretty sketchy, but wanted to take my new boots in for a little tweaking and demo some Karmas to evaluate how well they perform on the hard packed conditions I anticipated. Taos was reporting a man made snow depth of 33-37 inches and a natural depth of 23-28 inches midway. They had received 2” of new in the last five days.

When I rolled into the parking lot at about 9:30, many folks were leaving. It was windy and none of the lifts were running yet. The attendant on the parking lot shuttle told me the winds were 60-70 mph on the mountain. I needed to hit the Boot Doctor anyway, so I decided to head to the base and see if the wind subsided while I was getting my boots stretched. While magic was worked on my boots, the winds died down and the lifts fired up. I snagged a pair of Karmas 177cm and opted in on the $4.00 core shot insurance before hitting the mountain.

On the ride up the Number 1 chair I gazed down at a closed, rock and stump pocked Al’s Run. The wind was still blowing strongly as I got off the chair and I headed down Porcupine and back to the base for a warm up run. It had been warm on Saturday. The snow had refrozen into boilerplate overnight. The wind had scoured anything loose off the slopes. At the base I traded off my Public Enemies for the Karmas and headed back up.

I found the best conditions off of Lifts 7 and 4 where snowmaking operations have been focused lately. There were some spots with a nice dose of wind blown fluff on the edges by the trees. As the day progressed the wind died and temperatures warmed up. It turned into a beautiful bluebird day. There were some nice but hard bumps to enjoy on Upper Totemoff and the bottom of Moe’s above the terrain park as well as on Firlefanz and Tell Glade off Chair 8. Most of the day was spent cruising the boilerplate blues. Highline Ridge is open on a limited basis but it looks very thin. I skiped it. Looking up at Highline you can see that many of the lines have been ski packed to help them hold the snow in preparation for a good dump and more openings. There has bee a lot of dedicated hard work going on up at Taos to make things as acceptable as they are.

A couple of modest snowstorms will greatly improve matters. I did put a nice core shot into one of the Karmas while I was skiing the bumps, but overall the coverage was not bad. It turned out to be a gorgeous day, I got my boots stretched a hair and learned that the Karmas ski ok on the hard pack. It was much more enjoyable than watching three hours of Super Bowl pre-game show and I still made it home before the first period was half over.

Al's Run Anyone?

Thin coverage on Kachina Peak

A look at Highline Ridge
post #2 of 8
Never seen a place offer core shot insurance, what a great idea! And what a bargain for you since you did end up putting a shot in the skis. Too bad it's so thin there, but hopefully they can end the year strong.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Most ski shops that do demos offer damage protection insurance. If the conditions are bad it's always a good idea get it.
post #4 of 8
Wow, some of my favorite terrain on the planet, it is sad to see snow so scarce when Summit county is wallowing in the stuff. While the pueblo is fun it is even more so after a great day in the valley.

Let's scatter some sacred corn pollen and hope the powder kachina blesses the peaks soon.

post #5 of 8
I second that. What ever it takes. Why?
post #6 of 8
I have plans to go to Taos from March 18-22.
I can't decided whether to cancel the trip or not???

I have been told that the way the jetstream is New Mexico will continue to not get any snow really.
Are the conditions still pretty much like they were in the beginning of February like in the above pics???

The taos trail report says that all of the greens/blues open but only some blacks.
I have never been before.
Is it worth it to come from the east coast or just wait for next season???
post #7 of 8
Actually, snowforecast.com says that we are finally going to be due for some southerly storms which could put you in some great snow. But so far it's been a terrible drought. my humble advice is to get refundable tickets and decide closer to the date. Keep in mind that March is the biggest snow month typically. Also, it depends on what kind of skiing you're looking for. Even though they've opened a couple of runs off highline, it still takes a lot more coverage for the steeper, hike-to off the ridge to be decent imo.
post #8 of 8
I'll just remind everyone that a couple of big dumps in March kept things open at Taos until mid April last year. I was there closing week and we even had 6 inches of fresh one day, conditions were excellent.

Then I went up to close Vail (which was basically out of snow when I had skiied there in March) and got a few feet of fresh powder 3 out of 6 days in April.

Keep checking the forecasts, you never know what is going to happen with the late spring storms.

And don't forget the sacred corn pollen...
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