Taos, NM 2/21-23/02

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Taos, NM 2/21-23/02

Postby Anonymous » Sun Feb 24, 2002 11:32 pm

Well my bro, Jon, and I got off to a late start on Thursday and were only able to hit the last hour at Taos ($10). Enough time to get a tour of the Valley's layout. <BR> <BR>If you ski Taos Ski Valley, stay at the Abominable Snow Mansion in Arruyo Seco. While you don't get eggs for breakfast (cereal will have to do), it is hard to beat $20/nite for almost slope-side lodging. <BR> <BR>After a steak (1 1/2 pounds/person) dinner, Jon and I headed to Abe's, just across the street. The place is a hoot, a real local's bar, not to be missed. Behind the bar is a bumpersticker that reads, and I quote, "If your spouse drives you to drink, have her drive you to Abe's." <BR> <BR>Friday morning we hit the Highline ridge first thing. We traversed all the way to Twin Trees Chute, which was the furthest open chute on that side of the ridge. While quite steep, it was also very tracked up. <IMG SRC="http://www.firsttracksonline.com/discus2/clipart/sad.gif" ALT=":("> Towards the bottom, I tried to launch a ledge. Quite quickly, I discovered a big difference between Taos snow and Eastern snow. At Taos just because you have knee deep powder, does not mean you are protected from lurking rocks. I discovered when I pushed off directly on top of a rock, losing all momentum (and falling over the ledge) and putting one of many core shots in my phatties. Yes, those wonderful, beatifully yellow phatties took a beating this week, roughly four or five core shots, one right along an edge. <BR> <BR>Taos, like the rest of the world (Utah does not count), is in dire need of snow. <BR> <BR>Also skied Lorelei, Longhorn, another run off of the Highline ridge. Treat of the afternoon was Staufenberg on the West Ridge. A nice corniced entrance led to a somewhat wide, very steep and somewhat rocky chute. I would say that the pitch was comprable to Tuck's Chute. About halfway down we traversed left and skied down a substantially steeper and narrower chute. After twenty turns or so, we discovered that it narrowed down to slightly less than two meters for thirty yards and emptied out above a cliff of unknown height (with hindsight about twenty or so feet and one could traverse left and ski around it) further below. Feeling unsure of the line we traversed back out to Staufenberg with much difficulty, trying to avoid the rocks and fallen logs that treacherously lay hidden under the untracked snow. Frankly, it spooked me a little, being above a drop of unknown height, with very little room for alternatives on a darn steep pitch. A slide would certainly been "for-life." It was a far more intimidating line than skiing Dodge's Drop. <BR> <BR>That evening we returned to Abe's for more Pacifico (Mejican beer). Met a funny old local who would be telling a story and then forget what he was telling a story about. We would see him again the next night. A wealthy Tejicano walked in asking for water for his radiator, he bought a round, nice guy. <BR> <BR>Saturday we skied the Highline ridge all morning (Patrol closes it somewhere between noon and 1 p.m., we found out on Friday). First run was Two Bucks. Nice. Steep. Trees. Actually found fresh powder. Next run we went to the line just beyond Two Bucks. Same. Next run we skied in trees just right of Bill y Sol. Sweet. Steep. Lots of untracked powder. As others have pointed out, when in the West and when the powder is scarce head for the "tight" trees. In my mind it was the best run of the trip. <BR> <BR>In the afternoon we logged the essential run down Al's Run. Nice. Also hit Spencer Bowl -> Edelweiss Glade. Very Nice. And Jean's Glade. Steep. All of these runs were much like Mad River, with plenty of bare spots, but longer and steeper.

Taos, NM 2/21-23/02

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Feb 26, 2002 1:01 pm

About 3 years ago Marc chastised me for saying Taos conditions were good with an 80-inch base. It's 42-57 now and season snowfall is only 70% of normal. Taos is a great mountain but extremely rocky. Use old skis until the base gets up to 90 inches or so. For the same reason, avoid early season and go mid-February or later.
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Tony Crocker
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