Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Santa Fe's New Ski Shuttle - 2015

courtesy of The Santa Fe Reporter
Although the season's first snow arrived in the mountains three weeks back, this year's much hyped El-Nino-fueled ski season is only now at our doorstep. Can't say I was the only one roaming REI this weekend looking to upgrade gear and compare lift pass deals.

Right, so this winter also marks the rollout of the city's first mountain ski shuttle. Often discussed through the years, never seriously planned or proposed due to the problem of funding. In a continuing effort to promote Santa Fe as more of an outdoor destination the funding problem has been overcome via a patchwork of dollars sourced from the city, county, RTD, and Ski Santa Fe itself. Planners are expecting 11,000 trips during the winter season and hoping demand for the shuttle can support it's viablity for future seasons.

So I ask myself, would I use the shuttle? I think so particularly if I wanted to ski a few more runs and Mrs. Dirt wanted to head home early. I could also see myself riding up with the nino who could appreciate the whole thing as an adventure. As a kid of the '80s we would have loved this shuttle. Many of us would be dropped off by our parents on lower Artist Rd on weekends where we'd hitch to the top. At the end of the day we'd often ski Big Tesuque down to the campground, throw snowballs at the fleets of Baptist Church group vans, then hitch down to Ft. Marcy where we'd lineup and call our parents on the pay phone. My guess is that this shuttle will be used heavily by those who can't drive (kids) and those visiting from out of town. I'm optimistic it will work.

The Mountain Trail Shuttle, as it is officially named, has planned stops in town and all along Hyde Park road including most trailheads (w/ the exception of Borrego and NORSKI), and including Ten Thousand Waves. The RTD website shows there's an app to track shuttle location, here, however I'm seeing that the 255 Mountain Shuttle hasn't yet been added (as of Nov 17) and I have no idea how well this might work. The ride schedule shows three planned weekday trips, and seven on weekends. Best parking options are Fort Marcy at Murales Rd (next to the Zozobra kick-stand), and Dale Ball at Sierra del Norte. Bikes won't be accommodated for the time being which people are griping about, but I mean it's winter - there's a lot of snow about, so if that's your thing than Winsor MTB ascents will remain part of the deal.

Cost looks to be $5 per trip (each way), with corresponding discounts provided by both Ski Santa Fe and Ten Thousand Waves. Meaning that lift passes for shuttle riders will be discounted $5 at the top with proof of ridership, and stops at the Waves on the way down appear to have the same benefit. Apres ski for the win (I'm looking at you Izanami).

Mountain Trail Shuttle stops_.pdf
Schedule and pickup map
Mountain Trail Shuttle Details
Shuttle Tracker app

Update (6.30.16):
Winter ridership in the mountain shuttle's pilot program totaled approx. 5,000. Considered 'very successful' per the SFCounty Economic Development Director. Funding and operation of the shuttle will continue in the 16-17 winter season, and bike racks will be installed for the summer season July 1 - Aug 31. SFNewMexican Article (6.30.16)

Related Posts:
 - Santa Fe's First Snow - 2015
 - Trading the Downhill Skis for Nordic
 - French Alps Freeskiing - Candide Thovex

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