Friday, November 21, 2014

Trading the Downhill Skis for Nordic

Setting down tracks in Pagosa
The nordic/cross-country ski scene in New Mexico is not well established. Trails are sparse, the knowledge base is sparse, ski partners are few. For these reasons there's a frustrating dynamic in that decent and affordable used gear is simply not available for a newbie looking for an inexpensive entry to the trails. Alpine Sports or NM Bike N' Sport are great places to pickup a nice starter nordic setup for $400 and up, but there aren't many that will make this leap when you can flip that same coin for a seasons pass at the local mountain. A serious economic barrier to entry.

There is however one fine resource in town to bridge this cost/knowledge gap - Mr. Kelly Kellstedt. A one man outdoors shop with loads of used gear, personal tech services to swap out bindings or boot pairings, and the occasional buyer for un-used equipment laying around in storage. If you've ever browsed the nordic selection at the annual Santa Fe Ski Swap, Kelly's the guy selling 90% of what's available. He's an annual fixture there and he'll gladly talk you up and give you one of his cards because selling directly is better business than working the Swap. The man's also got a wealth of stories about river trips and general adventuring. I've prodded him in hopes of learning of unknown 'secret spots' in the backcountry. He offered several superlatives for the Colorado River. Not so secret, but hard to disagree with.

I think this season is going to have solid snow cover up here in the sierra norte, and I think I'll be out on my skinny boards quite a bit. I think other outdoorsy types want to be out there too if only they had the beta to make it work. I think this will help.

Related Posts:
 - Cross Country Skiing Santa Fe
 - Enchanted Forest Ski Trails
 - Ski Season Cometh - Santa Fe Ski Swap
 - Area Nordic Trails Listing

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Ski Season Cometh - Santa Fe Ski Swap

New terrain at Taos Ski Valley
Stopped by the ski swap this morning. I love the swap if only just to get fired-up for the coming winter wonderland. Chatted with friends, mostly loads of unsupported speculation on this season’s snow estimates; quick conversations about yurt trips and Colorado trips that may not happen and general super-psychedness… Good stuff. Picked up a helmet for the two year old. He now looks like a two year old astronaut. His helmet already flashing a fresh new decal for Crested Butte. The ambition appears to be high with that one.

Lots of New Mexico ski news this off-season including new lifts at Wolf Creek and Taos (Kachina Ridge!), and the change of ownership at Purgatory which was bought by the ownership group that owns/manages Sipapu, Pajarito, and Sunbowl in AZ. Their marketing team was at the swap giving out vouchers for a free day at Sipapu in exchange for email and contact info. SOLD! Worth the price of admission.

Also scooped up something called the New Mexico Extreme Ski Card. It offers buy-one-get-one lift passes at Taos, Pajarito, Sipapu, Angel Fire, Purg, Crested Butte, and a free pass at Enchanted Forest, all for $89. A spot-on deal for a guy that can only get out for a few days of downhill each season and likes to hit the xc trails. Plus, the card’s transferable to my dirtbag friends. SOLD!

Related Posts:
- Taos Ski Valley Bought up by Wall St. Financier
- Colorado Yurt Trip - Neff Mountain
- New Mexico Ski Season Arrives Early (2013)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Something Wicked This Way Comes


Best holiday of the year, on a Friday no less. Free frights and restless sleep provided via this list of scary-as-hell stories from reader submissions over at (h/t to the Desert Babe). Happy spooky reading...

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Arroyo Washout

Two foot+ drop in the arroyo floor at the St Francis Dr. crossing
My weekend run was along the Arroyo Chamiso. I'd seen in passing that the arroyo channel was destroyed near the house and I wanted to tour the rest of the carnage. Storms like the one that produced this flood happen every couple years but they're always a source of awe and excitement.

Massive scouring and drops in some areas; other areas collecting the tons of displaced sand resulting in rises of several feet. Debris in trees at levels above shoulder-height. Amazing stuff.

On the return trip I stumbled on two young graffiti artists in the culvert of the Old Pecos Trail crossing. They called me sir. I critiqued their work and ran on. Good kids.

Storm debris at the bridge along Gail Ryba suggests the flood level was above the bridge deck

Heavy debris (entire chamisa bushes) wrapped on railroad pylons up to 6ft in height

Helpful sign along Gail Ryba:  Don't enter the arroyo when flooding
An up-arroyo property armored with willow and cottonwood plantings. Erosion minimal.
A recent Dia de los Muertos themed piece near the museums

Related Posts:
 - RAIN! - NM River Levels Spike 30x Avg Flows (2013)
 - Come Hell or High Water - Monsoon Season (2013)
 - Floods Ravage Bandelier and Cochiti Canyons (2011)
 - Santa Fe's Arroyo Systems

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Santa Fe's First Snow of the Season - 2014

Aspen Vista Trail Oct 13, 2014 - courtesy of NM Bike N Sport
This year's first snow fell lightly on the high peaks along during Friday and Saturday's storm. Perhaps only just cold enough in the high-country for snow though nearly as cold here in town.

Accumulation was not obvious from lower elevations other than early morning views of Santa Fe Baldy. As always, the excitement of first winter marks the abrupt end for peak aspen colors. As such, the bad tempers the good, or good tempers good if you're a snow-hound.

We've been making note of the first fall for the last few years. In some cases I've noted the first fall in town rather than at 12,000 feet. If you're mobile it's all the same - pre-winter has made its mark. One added mark that parallels the snow gauges - HDD notched its four year anniversary on Oct. 1.

Yay snow!

Related Posts:
 - Santa Fe's First Snow 2013 - Oct. 12th
 - Santa Fe's First Snow 2012 - Nov. 16th
 - Santa Fe's First Snow 2011 - Sep. 10th
 - Santa Fe's First Snow 2010 - Nov. 10th
 - High Desert Dirt Turns Three


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