Archive for the ‘bavarian’ Tag

Taos weekend

I finally got to Taos mid-season, where everything was open. I chose a fine day to experience it. Last time I was there, the ridges were mostly closed, and it was still early season. Since then, a lot has happened, which has curtailed my snowboarding days by a lot.

At least on this day, it was sunny, the conditions were quite good, the snow was fine, and the winds relatively calm, so I spent most of the day hiking the ridges. The lifts take you to a top elevation of 11819 feet (3603 m), and to access the hard stuff, and a lot of the goods, you need to hike the ridges, accessed from the upper terminus of the top lift. One extends to the right towards the ‘front side’, mostly shorter stuff that involves hiking up about 30-40 feet vertical and about 5-10 minutes, the other ridge goes left towards Kachina Peak, which is the top of the resort, at 12481 feet (3805 m). After doing a few runs on the front side stuff, I decided around 12:30 to hike to Kachina Peak. This hike is a good 45 minutes, and involves the 662 foot vertical difference, and a few ups and downs, so it’s more like 800+ feet up in the process, and more than a mile of hiking. At elevation.

West view from the beginning of the hike

After plenty of huffing and puffing from this sea level dweller, passing a few people, and being passed by others, I made it to the top. I was tired and feeling like a swamp dweller by the time I got there. The views are magnificent, encompassing a wide swath of New Mexico and Colorado, from the Jemez Mountains to the San Juans and Sangre de Cristos.

Yours truly at the peak.

The view from 12500'

Luckily I was rewarded by a fantastic powder descent, and a well-deserved beer at the Bavarian at the bottom. Normally I don’t imbibe on the slopes, but I made an exception for this occasion.

A nice 18 oz. Oktoberfest beer waiting for me.

A note on the origins of the trail names at Taos Ski Valley: you’ll notice from the trail map a mix of German and Spanish names, reflecting the roots of the founder Ernie Blake, and the state of New Mexico. So a couple of the names stand out, Stauffenberg and Tresckow, who were among the people who died in the failed plot to assassinate Hitler in 1944.

About to drop in!

To cap it off, I witnessed a very nice sunset as I crossed into Colorado.

Advertisements

Colorado and New Mexico, December 2009

The start of a new season on the snow, Day 1-4. Here’s the lowdown:

13 December 2009, Eldora, Colorado. Never been here before, but as I was staying with my friend Mike and his family in the north suburbs of Denver, we figured that this was the best option. There was a full schedule planned for that Sunday, so we were out early, finished by around 2:30 PM or so, and then headed down to Denver for the Avalanche / Flames hockey game. The conditions were overall fine, with overcast skies, not-so-cold temperatures, and still early season coverage. So no tree stuff, limited runs were open, but the ski area is fun, a telemark magnet, and a short scenic drive up the canyon from Boulder. Mostly, it was bombing the pistes, and I got the chance to take a run on Mike’s new Lib Tech Skate Banana board. Having not ridden a new board in nearly 7 years, this was quite an experience, it felt initially less stable, but was very easy to maneuver and held an edge very well. No doubt, the reverse camber and the Magnetraction had something to do with it. But as I continue to look into a replacement board, I’ll certainly consider this board carefully.

Mike, first day of the season stoke

14 December 2009, Winter Park, Colorado. Now for some big resort action. Again, this was my first trip to Winter Park, and it involved a very slow drive over a snowed-in Berthoud Pass, with all the visibility issues, slick roads, and Denver rush hour traffic. So the 90 mile drive took nearly 2.5 hours to negotiate. I hooked up with WP local Jeff Harper of Adrenaline Garage Productions, who took a break from his busy filming schedule to show me around. Now it was a legitimate powder day, with a good 8 inches or so of snow, and still early season conditions. The runs were pretty bumped up, and being a novice to this place, it’s less-than-ideal for snowboards in places, with plenty of traverses that required me to unstrap and hike/skate to. But I got a good flavor of the area, and hopefully will return.

WP local Jeff of Adrenaline Garage Productions

Continental Divide from Tabernash, CO

North view from Berthoud Pass

Then it was down to New Mexico for business, but I managed to squeeze a couple of days in there.

18 December 2009, Taos, New Mexico. I wrote about Taos in the early life of this blog, and returned for a day trip. It was a more leisurely day than my usual, the slopes were a bit icy from the lack of recent snow, but we got in a good number of runs off of what was open, and also took in a quick trip to Bavaria during lunch. Yes, we had lunch at the Bavarian, an alpine-style house serving you guessed it, German Bavarian specialties. So I indulged in a beer at lunch, soaked in the warm sun, and had a typical sausage and potatoes lunch, under a Freistaat Bayern sign. No green chile sauce in this part of New Mexico, but the smell of pinyon smoke is an instant giveaway that it’s not Bavaria. The ski area is famous for its steep stuff, dry powder, and its long-standing ban on snowboards, lifted in 2008. It looks like the number of snowboarders has increased over last season, which is good news.

Beer, sausage, sauerkraut, and potatoes at the Bavarian, Taos, NM

23 December 2009, Pajarito Mountain, New Mexico. This is the local Los Alamos hill, owned by the lab, and what a nice surprise. The slopes are steep, and coverage was still spotty in places, so I took a few rock shots to my board, and found myself plowing through weeds, small trees, and random bushes, but there was a good helping of fresh dry New Mexico snow. In contrast to the 2005-2006 season, where the mountain didn’t even open due to poor snowfall, the season’s off to an excellent start. It’s about 20 minutes from downtown Los Alamos, so I was able to get a late-ish start, pick up a coffee at Starbucks, and then go through the security checkpoint en route to the base area.

More on the non-snow related stuff in another post.

My new food court gangster steeze

Jemez Mountains and Rio Grande Valley from Pajarito

SERIOUS business