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Early season at Taos???

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm headed to Albuquerque/Santa Fe next week (12/19) for 5 days, and am planning on taking a day trip to Taos with my wife.
I'm Intermediate/Adv. Interm, while she's mainly Beginner.
They open this coming Friday, and it seems like they got some snow this past weekend.

Thanks for the input!!!

post #2 of 20
It will be great, better than great.
post #3 of 20
Should be good timing on your part. Website claims they will have almost all the beginner and intermediate terrain open.
Been a bit frustrating for us to watch the snow totals pile up in the last couple weeks, but have to wait until the 14th for opening!
post #4 of 20
I think it is only going to get better. It has been raining off and on all day here in Santa Fe, so I hope Santa Fe Ski Resort is getting some snow. Die La Nina, Die!
post #5 of 20
With the 38" at 10 AM 12/10/07, a 55" base, Friday's openning will be one to remember! Some years, openning day was measured in 20" range which does not compute well.

If I may say, this openning will be epic for these epic forum members! Ski you in Taos!
post #6 of 20
We have snow on the ground in town, and they are now reporting a 24 base at Ski Santa Fe. Taos will be rockin this weekend. Things are looking pretty good in Northern New Mexico.
post #7 of 20
I really like Taos, but not early season and not for beginners.

It's a really rocky place, that needs about a 70" base for expert skiing.

They have some decent beginner terrain, but that long flat traverse back to the base is harsh.
post #8 of 20
Taos will be good enough for me right now, as my legs aren't yet up to speed. I agree, beginners should not go to Taos. It might be one of the worst places a beginner or even intermediate could go. Beginners visiting the Land of Enchantment should look to Ski Santa Fe, Angelfire or Red River.

I always get a chuckle when I watch some newbie carry their rental skis up to the first lift. The mountain is just really vertical, and you can't see anything easy in site. Usually said newbie stares for awhile in shock :, wondering how they are going to get down that mountain. (There are easier runs, but you can't see them from the frontside).
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well, you've all got me pretty excited about the conditions!
But, now I'm concerned about the terrain.
My wife's not a true beginner, but, hasn't skied in a couple years, and is a tentative skier anyway.

The Taos site says that lifts 1, 2, 3, and 7 will be open.
Looking at the trail map, it seems like there's some decent beginner stuff, e.g. White Feather on one side, accessible off Lift 1, and Honeysuckle and Lower Totemoff, on the other, accessible off Lift 2/Lift 7, for her. Not to mention some blues for me. Can you take Rubezahl back to the Al's Run base?

post #10 of 20
Taos - where the greens are blues, the blues are black, and the blacks are straight down. That's the reputation anyway. And they don't hide this fact. You should have been aware of the terrain because it is no secret.

Most of what you see as greens are roads that link one area of the mountain to another. There is very little in the way of terrain that is a green cruiser, if there is such a thing.

You can go from the base of the Kachina lift to the base area on Rubezahl. That's what it is there for. You wouldn't want to be on it otherwise as it is a flat, narrow road.

Get in ski school and ski the easy blues like Porcupine, Bambi, and most of the lower west basin and the Kachina side.
post #11 of 20
There is some very nice blue terrain on the lower west basin side. Problem is that the west basin lift #8 is not going to open, apparently.

Really, save yourself a drive and go to Ski Santa Fe. They do a great job of holding snow on the mountain and there are green and blue cruiser runs that will keep you occupied for a day.

Taos is getting a lot of snow, so if they open chair 8, it might be worth it. Otherwise, MJB is correct that the green runs you identified are mostly linking cat tracks and your timid wife will have people zooming past her to get from here to there. Honeysuckle for instance is a green cat track that becomes a bona fide run. But the first half of it has the ridge loomin above on the right and a fairly steep drop off on the left and can be very intimidating for a beginner. You can ski the easiest way down from the Kachina lift without going back to the base, but really only one way and that will get boring soon enough. The access road back to the base from Kachina lift is long, pretty and through the woods; but you have to take it really, really fast if you don't want a 15 minute walk.

Save the hour and 1/2 drive and go local. Ski Santa Fe.
post #12 of 20
I also recommend taking a lesson. It a great way to learn the mtn.

Other thing you to have to do at Taos:
Burgers on the St Bernard deck when it is sunny.
Long lunch at the Bravarian. Remember you at least have to ski the road home(Rubezahl run).
post #13 of 20
I'm going to disagree with Mom a little:

a) if you're traveling from NJ to NM, you'll kick yourself forever for not skiing TSV in these epic conditions; and

b) lift 8 will undoubtedly be open by the time you arrive.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Mom!
I agree with MJB, though. Even though I'm not coming to NM specifically to ski, since I am coming, I'm gonna ski the 'big boy'
As it stands, the wife may take a 'spa day', anyways.

Aside from taking a lesson, anyone know if TSV offers a 'mountain tour' for first-time visitors? I took one of these at Park City and it was a perfect way to start my week.

post #15 of 20
I'm not aware of a mountain tour, but it is an easy mountain to find your way around. If it's blues you seek, the runs off chair 8 are really pretty and fun. Lower stauffenberg et al. Then the whole Kachina lift area is a blast and you will enjoy exploring. blue and easier black runs to the Bavarian. (try the apple strudel or their great soups) there are little teeny bumps that form skier's right on the main trail down from the lift which are great practice bumps. The mountain is so beautiful over there too. You say adv intermediate, so you can do a <1 minute herringbone hike to Hunzinger bowl (if it's open) and get a little taste of off piste. You won't get lost and will enjoy the explore. If you were not exaggerating your ski skills, you should hike up the ridge and ski down Juarez. it's the easiest run off the ridge and is easily visible from the road over to the Kachina area. It's the open area right above. and it will give you bragging rights for having hiked the ridge. Taos has this reputation for being an expert only mountain, but, while it is lacking in beginner terrain, it has perfectly wonderul and plentiful choices for an advanced intermediate. Have fun!
post #16 of 20
I think it is good to give beginners fair warning about Taos. It is really not the best choice they could make if they want to have fun. To me, it is a lot of money to spend for beginners, and Mom is right, Ski Santa Fe, Angelfire or somewhere else would be a better time.

My friend just came back from Taos this morning, and reports that there is more snow up there than he has seen in a long time this early.

If you are a beginner and hellbent to see Taos, go ahead and do it. The scenery alone is worth the drive, and in addition, there is some brewfest going on up there this Saturday.

But all the comments here about Taos are true. Some of the blues would be blacks anywhere else. Many of the blacks would be double black elsewhere. I have seen too many intermediate skiiers at Taos attempting black runs, struggling, bending over their poles, gasping at the vertical, and finally just taking their skis off and stumbling down the mountain in resignation.
post #17 of 20
Originally Posted by Knute View Post
....gasping at the vertical....
Which is another good point to remember. Raprider, let yourself get accustomed to the moderate altitude of Santa Fe/ABQ before heading up to Taos. Drink plenty of water, all day, every day. Taos base is at 9200 feet, and lift-served peaks are just under 12K.
As a recent transplant from upstate NY to New Mexico, I know the altitude kicked my butt when I came out for my first visit!

Oh, and if you have good fitting ski boots, BRING THEM. Taos has plenty of shops that will let you rent mid & high end skis, but bring your own boots.
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
I do consider myself adv. intermediate, and also pretty conservative, so even on stuff that's a little too tough for me, I keep my speed down. I know 40-something yr old bones take time to heal

I may not have more than a day or so to acclimatize in ABQ before heading up to Taos, but, am familiar with the effects of the altitude.

I was pulling out my gear last night, and am not sure it's worth schlepping my boots all the way to Vegas and then to ABQ/SF/T for just one day on the slopes, but...I guess if I'm checking my stuff anyway...

How about the rental skis available at the mountain? or ? Recommendations for another shop in the area?
post #19 of 20
Very good rentals/demos can be found at the base. Le Ski Mastery carries Stocklis, Rossi, and I think, Volkls. The Boot Doctors also carries some very nice skis (Dynastar, Volkl). Both are near the base. There are a couple other places with decent ski inventory but I've had the best experiences with the two I mentioned.
post #20 of 20
The shop closest to Lift 1 is Taos Ski & Boot. You can get demos there. You can reserve your skis by giving them a call. You can call the main number for TSV and you'll be connected or you can probably find a number by searching for it. Sorry that I don't have it.
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