Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Ski Season Gets an Early Start - Santa Fe, NM

Quad Chair and Tesuque Peak with a 40' base of early season snow
Most New Mexico ski areas will open for Thanksgiving thanks to last week's giant storm. I got up to check conditions last Saturday and found them to be rather good. Good not just for mid-November but for mid-season. I'd found a sweet deal on climbing skins to use with an old pair of tele-mark skis I've had stored in the garage, and I got it all working and stomped my way up Open Slope to try them out. Worked like a charm though descending (as always) was a bit more trying. Though the snow coverage was great the ski trails were un-groomed (packed but chunky) and I flailed all the way down. Very enjoyable flailing though, and I was happy to see how easy it is to skin up a trail. In past years I've used my beefy nordic skis to track up the catwalks then tele-mark down. Climbing time with skins was nearly identical, ~25min from the base to the top-of-the-quad. A helmet is recommended for either option. Free-heeled skis can result in some fairly violent and uncontrolled crashes.

Conditions at NORSKI were hard to beat
There was a fair number of folks like myself climbing to ski. As I was heading down the mountain around 830ish, I saw what looked like dozens more skiers on their way up. People are excited.

I brought along my nordic setup just in case I'd failed sizing my skins or some other overlooked gear problem, and ended up skiing a loop at NORSKI where the snow was fantastic. I found three downed trees that have since been removed by the More-ski NORSKI organization. Had never heard of these guys but sounds like they're on top of things up there.

Hoping for a bit more snow to come along and really establish a lasting base of snowpack. Sounds like the northern areas may get a bit this weekend so we'll see if any of it carries south to our end of the Sangres.

Related Posts:
 - Santa Fe's New Ski Shuttle
 - Cross Country Skiing NORSKI trail
 - Santa Fe's First Snow of the Season - 2015
 - Ski Touring Deception Peak

View Norski Trail - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

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