Ski Santa Fe 1/14-1/15, Taos 1/16-1/18, Wolf Creek 1/19-1/22

Geoff

New member
Our first time ever to these three ski areas.

We had a blast at Ski Santa Fe. The upper mountain triple had virtually no traffic even on a Saturday. There were only 2 groomed ways down so the Texans on rental gear stuck to the lower mountain quad. The snow was a little stale but it still had some give to it if you skied in the trees or in spots where the sun didn't hit. The cut trail under the lift and the cut trail to skier's left of the lift had firm bumps. The rest of the place hadn't seen enough traffic to bump up very much.

We hit Taos on a Sunday and thought it completely sucked. Where Ski Santa Fe was totally deserted on a Saturday, Taos was mobbed the next day. Major hassle uploading on the quad. Anything groomed was rock-hard with a strange mix of hack intermediates and squadrons of warp factor 9 junior racers and their parents who were at the mountain for a race. The non-hike-to ungroomed was overskied and too firm to be enjoyable. We sampled a bit of the hike-to but we didn't think the skiing surface was worth all the gasping from two people who live at sea level. The people vanished by Tuesday but the damage had been done to the skiing surface. Too many quad chairs for too little snow. I don't plan to return.

Wolf Creek was amazing. As long as you skied on north-facing steeper terrain, it was like skiing on talcum powder at the top. The terrain in the sun softened every day around noon and was entertaining until it refroze again around 2:30. The first day was a locals discounted ticket day so it was "crowded". That meant that 2/3 of the chairs had somebody riding them and you might have a few people visible once in a while when you were skiing. Thursday and Friday, we had the place to ourselves. We only skied a few hours on Saturday morning before bailing out to do touron things the rest of the day but we had the place to ourselves in the morning.
 

Cannonball

New member
Great report. Give me Santa Fe over Taos any day.

a strange mix of hack intermediates and squadrons of warp factor 9 junior racers and their parents who were at the mountain for a race.

This is a typical day at Taos......but snowboarders would ruin the mountain?!?!?
 

ChrisC

Active member
Personally I would always take Taos over Wolf Creek.

Wolf Creek is a great little mountain --but a typical pass resort like Stevens Pass, Monarch and Loveland. Grat snow. But you wish there was more vertical.

Taos has really easily accessible hike-to terrain. Maybe it's 5-7 minutes (not hard) and then either left or right across a ridge. Some of the chutes on in the West Basin/hiker's right are so tight and so steep -- bring plenty of underwear. And nice open powder shots to the left.
 

gravityluv

New member
Three or four days without fresh snow and Taos is mostly a groomers and bump ski area, similar to Telluride and Crested Butte in that respect. The quality of the grooming at Taos is not stellar. TSV's attitude (Taos Ski Valley) is you should be a good enough skier to deal with eratic grooming.

To really enjoy Taos one needs to be not less than a very solid "advanced" skier. If TSV would spend some money thinning and glading much of the lower angle tree'd sections that would improve the skiing for advanced intermediates. Won't happen anytime soon.

Taos is a schizoprenic place. A powder day like today (1/28) and you can ski challenging terrain that is all you can ask for. When it hasn't snowed for awhile it gets extremely bumped out and can be icy boilerplate..
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Very nice analysis above. Taos, CB and Telluride all share the steep terrain, low water content snow in modest quantity, and thus fragile snowpack.

There are some expert mountains (Whistler, Mammoth, Snowbird, sometimes Squaw) that have consistent deep, stable and well preserved snowpacks that can handle lots of skier traffic and the snow remains pleasant.

That is rarely true at Taos, CB and Telluride. I would be interested in how Crested Butte is skiing these days. It had a VERY uncharacteristic 6-foot dump a couple of weeks ago. When that happens at Mammoth (this year in October :D ), it is generally "set for the season."
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I skiied CB on MLK weekend, after the 4 plus ft big dump.
It was "OK" . The snow was heavier than usual ~ 10-11%, per the ski patrol,maritime rather than continental.There were also 2 slides in bounds , one on the headwall, which still skied well. The other was on the west side , blocking the lower , less grueling traverse out of there.
In short, it didn't ski well, but should be very good base for the rest of the year. Today for example I noticed the CB web site reports Teocalli bowl is open for the first time in 11 years.
With reasonable amounts of snow in Feb , and March, CB should ski very well.

Jon
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
The next 2 months of skiers will be very glad that dump was 10-11%. That's one of the reasons why Mammoth's snowpack holds up so well. Let CB get a few 5% storms now with that base and there will be some very happy campers.
 
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