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Ski Santa Fe, NM, Mar. 23, 2019

Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:24 pm

We spent the weekend in Santa Fe, planning one ski day and one day off for other attractions. With the weather it was obvious to take the ski day first. The Taos and Santa Fe ski areas got only 3 inches Thursday night vs. the 5 at Pajarito, but the storm lingered more over the large New Mexico mountains Friday, adding 5 more inches at Taos and 2 at Santa Fe.

Santa Fe is home to Michael Zeiler, a geographer who founded this much visited eclipse site: I met Michael on the Costa Classica in 2009, and the 36x24 map of that eclipse cruise path (framed in my living room) was his first commercial eclipse venture. He uses his geographic skills and computer power to make very detailed maps of eclipse paths taking into account altitude variations and the lunar limb profile.

Zeiler is also a skier, and with current excellent conditions we set up a car shuttle for the sidecountry Big Tesuque run of 2,200 vertical.

Note the license plate on his Tesla Model 3. Michael was a first day order from 2016 and got his car in April 2018.

Santa Fe tops out over 12,000 feet and its base of 10,350 is within 100 feet of the top of Pajarito. So even though the 5 inches new came more gradually than at Pajarito, Saturday started out all packed powder on the predominant north facing runs.

Upper Big Tesuque is partially inbounds, marked Cornice on the map, and is west facing.


This open terrain which was our warmup run did have some crust under the new snow.

Michael explained that the denser trees beyond the boundary would shade the snow more effectively.

We went beyond the boundary rope the next time.

Liz dropped in first.

The upper quarter was outstanding, as good as my final pristine run at Pajarito on Friday. I found the tree spacing nearly ideal and the snow was excellent as Michael had expected. So I was soon leading the way. Lower down the trees closed out so I stopped.

I had motioned Michael and Liz to stop and look around for better openings than where I was, so Michael’s fall here was at least partially my doing.

We had bits and pieces of good skiing through the lower denser evergreens and eventually crossed into aspens.



Eventually we crossed this creek.

From here on down we followed a gradual hiking trail to the 9,600 foot trailhead where we had left Michael’s Tesla.

On a Saturday with excellent snow and nice weather, Michael had to park in a remote lot where we caught a shuttle back to the base La Casa lodge about noon and had lunch.

We had a leisurely afternoon with stops at a beer tasting event next to the mid-mountain Totemoff restaurant. Roadrunner under the #3 lift:

Moguls on Avalanche Bowl:

Here’s the panoramic view west as we are heading for the North Burn.

Clouds were coming in by now, past 3PM, but this view is often clear for 150+ miles to the Continental Divide not far from the Arizona border.

North Burn has scattered trees, a good area on a powder day.

We skied a few more runs, Parachute, Molly Hogan, Columbine, and Sunrise Glade. West facing runs softened to good spring conditions while the north facing remained packed powder to the end of the day. We caught our last upper lift chair just before 4:15 closing.

I skied 13,200 vertical including about 2K of powder on those first two runs.

Michael’s wife Polly prepared chili stew for dinner, which we ate after viewing the New Mexico sunset from their hot tub.

Re: Ski Santa Fe, NM, Mar. 23, 2019

Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:50 am

Great that you got to ski Big Tesuque. I've never had the opportunity to spot a car at the bottom and take advantage of it.

Santa Fe is definitely in my Top 5 of local's ski areas in the U.S. Very pleasant terrain and you certainly got the full long-distance visuals.

Re: Ski Santa Fe, NM, Mar. 23, 2019

Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:46 am

that looks like a lot of fun. you sure live the life Tony. i like the long views (second to last pic). it looks like the sandia mtn range in the background (upper left)?

Re: Ski Santa Fe, NM, Mar. 23, 2019

Sat Mar 30, 2019 9:25 pm

View of Santa Fe ski area driving south of Espanola Wednesday:

As for the long distance views, I just took that one picture. From our drive Wednesday I'm inclined to agree the mountains at distant left are the Sandias.

I wasn't paying a lot of attention in the afternoon, just following local guidance and being mellowed out some from the beer tasting.

I took more scenic pics on my first visit in 2007:
Of course FTO restricted resolution a lot back then.
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