• Women skiers, this is the place for you -- an online community without the male-orientation you'll find in conventional ski magazines and internet ski forums. At TheSkiDiva.com, you can connect with other women to talk about skiing in a way that you can relate to, about things that you find of interest. Be sure to join our community to participate (women only, please!). Registration is fast and simple. Just be sure to add webmaster@theskidiva.com to your address book so your registration activation emails won't be routed as spam. And please give careful consideration to your user name -- it will not be changed once your registration is confirmed.

TR Taos March 21-26, 2021, including two advanced Ski Week groups

marzNC

Angel Diva
Having a good time at Taos Ski Valley (TSV) this week. Doing too much skiing to spend much time on trip report info. Fair to say that while things are different at the base, the mountain is the same as always. We lucked out and are catching the last powder storms of the season.

We have a group of seven people from six states in two Private Ski Weeks. We set them up with instructors we've enjoyed working with before. One group skied off the Kachina lift on Day 1 and has already hiked the Ridge once. Then other is working on technique more on blue terrain.

For those unfamiliar with a Taos Ski Week, here's a trip report from last season:
https://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/tr-taos-feb-1-7-2020.24581/

View of Lift 1 first thing in the morning with fresh snow and sunshine, Tuesday, March 23
TSV 23Mar - 1.jpg
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
After the weekend, there haven't been too many people around. The locals are all pretty excited about the fresh powder. People were hiking the Ridge first thing in the morning.

Powder tracks on the terrain park (no features this season)
TSV 23Mar - 2.jpg

Getting ready for a run down Kachina Main Street around 12:45, just before the snow started.
TSV 23Mar - 3.jpg

The base pretty empty at 5pm, snowing steadily with no wind (walkway is heated)
TSV 23Mar - 4.jpg
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
LOL. I’m still a “timid” skier, and I saw that slope under the lift and was like, “well, can’t go there! I’ll never get off the mountain!” ... but then I went and looked at the trail map and realized it’s perfect...the black diamond runs near the lift so you can get style points, and the blues and greens are tucked away.

whew!

PS: our whole family are map lovers, so looking at trail maps is how the kids and I daydream
 

nopoleskier

Angel Diva
On
LOL. I’m still a “timid” skier, and I saw that slope under the lift and was like, “well, can’t go there! I’ll never get off the mountain!” ... but then I went and looked at the trail map and realized it’s perfect...the black diamond runs near the lift so you can get style points, and the blues and greens are tucked away.

whew!

PS: our whole family are map lovers, so looking at trail maps is how the kids and I daydream

It's a great trail- my last Taos trip I bailed on the lesson and must have skied that 10X- it had about 10" of Fresh light powder it was snowing and a tad breezy so every run was fresh tracks.

Taos is a very special place- there are plenty of blue trails and it's perfect place to get familiar with steep terrain if one wants too.

I'm living Vicariously thru you Divas! Keep the photos coming- Spring has Sprung in the ADKS- 55 today and I'm watching the snow melt :-(
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
On


It's a great trail- my last Taos trip I bailed on the lesson and must have skied that 10X- it had about 10" of Fresh light powder it was snowing and a tad breezy so every run was fresh tracks.

Taos is a very special place- there are plenty of blue trails and it's perfect place to get familiar with steep terrain if one wants too.

I'm living Vicariously thru you Divas! Keep the photos coming- Spring has Sprung in the ADKS- 55 today and I'm watching the snow melt :-(

55 sounds good to me right now! It's 70 in MA today and 63 in Newry where Sunday River is! Ugh, it's been a really warm week..
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Compared to yesterday, today was a true "powder day." Most of the fresh snow yesterday was pretty heavy. If you ended up with a ski under a foot of snow, it was very hard to get out. Not sure what the official total was overnight, but we had a great time off Lift 4 (Kachina side of TSV, farther away from the main base. The fact that there are very few people around due the combination of late season and COVID-19 means that in some places the bumps are smaller under the fresh snow. Snow was light enough that skiing cut-up terrain wasn't really that much more difficult than making fresh tracks. At least not by the latter part of the morning after our instructor had found powder on the edges of groomers.

We finished with Hunzinger, which is below the base the the Kachina lift. Jason and I did the short side-step by the Kachina lift base (lift wasn't running) to do the Upper Section. Snow was deep! Knee deep on me at times. The other folks did Lower Hunzinger. Then we all did Lower Hunzinger again.

Upper Hunzinger, two skiers who are closer were not in our Ski Week group
TSV 25Mar Hunzinger.jpg
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
OpenSnow forecasts from the past few days for the week of March 21-26. We only had spring conditions on Sunday and Monday. By Wednesday, all of us were using powder skis, either our own or demo rentals. Still need them tomorrow. After that spring conditions return.

We were lucky to ski with a friend who is a long-time instructor at TSV this afternoon. He was saying it felt like February, which is when we usually do the Ski Week trip. There are relatively few instructors working this season, less than 20%. He opted to do other things on the slopes and not work for TSV ski school. That's part of the reason he had time to spend with us. Learned a couple new powder stashes. :snow:

As of March 25, 7pm MDT
Screen Shot 2021-03-25 at 9.31.23 PM.png

As of March 21, 7pm MDT
Screen Shot 2021-03-21 at 9.45.02 PM.png
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
There was plenty of fresh snow to play in today. Not much open on the Kachina side because of avalanche danger. The Kachina lift and Hunzinger was closed all day.

However, my instructor found plenty of snow for my group in and around Maxie's, which is normally a terrain park with large features. TSV didn't build any features this season, perhaps to limit the need for staff to build and maintain them. The snow in the trees (short shots, steep) was untracked and at least boot deep. Was a little hard to tell since I was following the instructors track. The fresh snow on top of the groomed surface of Maxie's made for a great introduction for my DC friend who hasn't had much experience in powder. We definitely learned a lot about how to ski steeper terrain with 8+ inches of fresh snow, or bumps with lots of fresh snow.

The more adventurous group hiked the Ridge and headed out to the Wild West Glades. That pretty much took them all morning.

The runs of the day for me was Pipeline (short, double-black pitch, trees, not on trail map) and Al's Run. The teen who came with me from NC wanted to ski Al's Run. Since it's hard to know when he'll make it back to Taos, all the adventurous advanced skiers in our group when with him. The snow conditions were excellent. The teen, Bill, and I ended up skiing the entire length. With plenty of stops as needed to catch our breath. Al's isn't super steep (black, not double-black), the bumps are relatively round, but it's quite long, and right under Lift 1 (only lift from the main base).

Screen Shot 2021-03-26 at 10.38.51 PM.png
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Turned out that the most complicated part of the trip was flying out of ABQ. Southwest had mechanical issues with the plane that a friend needed to get back to DC. Ultimately he could make his connection. I had to stay an extra night (free hotel room) because my flight on Sun was delayed too much to make the connection to get to RDU on the same day. Jason opted to fly on the delayed flight to Chicago yesterday and stay there with his sister before heading to OH this morning. There is more to the story but I'll spare you those details.

Certainly hope SW flight schedules are back to normal next winter.
 

TNtoTaos

Angel Diva
LOL. I’m still a “timid” skier, and I saw that slope under the lift and was like, “well, can’t go there! I’ll never get off the mountain!” ... but then I went and looked at the trail map and realized it’s perfect...the black diamond runs near the lift so you can get style points, and the blues and greens are tucked away.
LOL -- this is the sign that USED to be right in front of that trail ("Al's Run") -- they still have the sign, but they've moved it to a much less visible spot -- (this photo is from 2006)...
IMG_0266.JPG.jpeg
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
There is a sign at the base now that says something like "Beginners please start on Pioneer." That's the chairlift that can be seen from the main base that serves the short green. Also where the magic carpets (end to end) are located.

Photos are from Feb 2019 so the base profile is a little different now that the Blake Residences building has been built. Should be completely finished by next season. They are definitely behind schedule. The retail shops on the ground floor were supposed to be done by Dec 2020. The Cold Smoke Photography and ice cream/smoothie shop only opened in early March. Still didn't have Internet access so they were using a hot spot for the credit card payments.

The Children's ski school and separate teaching area is on the other side of the base. It's connected by the gondolita. The second morning @TNtoTaos parked there. I and AY were staying in town with her for a couple nights at the Hampton Inn to help with altitude adjustment. While the walk from the small parking lot to the gondolita is short, it involves stairs (up in the morning, down in the afternoon). Although the main reason we parked in Coyote (short relatively flat walk) the rest of the week was that we wanted ice cream and/or a smoothie after we were done skiing for the day. There is a big tent set up on the new small ice skating rink. That was the only place at the base to sit and eat with a roof. Also had heaters but most were out of fuel.

Magic carpets on skier's left, Pioneer chairlift on the right
TR for beginners 3.jpg
TR for beginners 1.jpg
 
Last edited:

marzNC

Angel Diva
It's a darn good thing the sign is there - but my first time at Taos I wasn't sure I really believed them, and was wondering what their idea of an easy run was, too.
As I remember, Al's Run and the blacks to lookers' right were the only trails when TSV opened in the 1950s. One reason it was so important that Jean Mayer set up the Taos Ski Week concept for the ski school was that most people really needed lessons to be able to enjoy the terrain available. In the very beginning, one ski lesson was included for free.

Many of the early adopters who enjoyed TSV in the early years were from the midwest. There was a direct train from Chicago tied into a Ski Week and stay at the St. Bernard. There are still large ski clubs from that region who have trips to Taos annually, with Ski Week as an option.

Since the St. B. provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there was no need to go anywhere else after the shuttle ride from the train station before people started flying to the Rockies for ski trips. All lifts closed for an hour at lunch time. Ernie Blake was from Europe. The traditional approach to a ski day in the Alps included a nice, leisurely, hot lunch indoors.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
That's fascinating info that I had not known about!
The book Ski Pioneers: Ernie Blake, His Friends, & The Making of Taos Ski Valley, written by Rick Richards is a fascinating read. Rick grew up in TSV and was an instructor for a while. I made Bill buy a copy after I learned about it. It's a huge coffee table book and very heavy. I asked him to bring it to Alta Lodge that season and managed to read all of it.

Blurb on Amazon:
"A kaleidoscope of voices, Ski Pioneers focuses on the most dynamic and colorful characters in the history of American skiing. Tracing the lives of Taos Ski Valley founder Ernie Blake and his early skiing friends, this book goes beyond biography to tell the origins of the downhill sport in the West. Assembling interviews with some of the greatest names in skiing, Rick Richards describes the making of Ernie Blake, the man who envisioned a world-class resort in Taos Ski Valley. He follows Ernie from Europe to New Mexico, recounting events that shaped Blake's life and changed American skiing. From the first runs at Sun Valley to the steeps of Taos today, Richards recreates the pioneering journeys of the first, innovative skiers in the nation. With twenty-two chapters of reminiscences, humorous anecdotes, and commentary, and more than 250 historic and personal photos, Ski Pioneers is the most detailed look at ski history to be published in recent decades."
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I took @diymom on a tour of TSV groomed blues the Saturday before her first Ski Week in Jan 2019. We rode all the main lifts (1, 8, 2, 4) and the connector lifts from the Kachina side back to the main base (7, 7A). She skis mainly blues in the northeast. She didn't have any problem with the trails.

What's nice about regular Taos Ski Weeks is that they are for any ability level from advanced beginner to expert (TSV double-blacks all week). Everyone one learns something that sticks by the 2nd or 3rd morning lesson. At least that's been the experience for me, my friends, and people I know of from other ski forums.

The bonus of putting together a Private Ski Week is that with 4 people the price is about the same as a regular Ski Week. The max for a regular Ski Week is 7 students (2 quad chairs). Normally the limit for a Private Ski Week is 5 students, so an even better deal. With only 3 students, the advantage is that can always ridge the quad lifts with the instructor, which makes it take much easier to ask questions.

TSV didn't require that instructors could only ride with one student on a quad. Of course, if any of our group had been uncomfortable riding with an instructor on a double they would've respected that. Since we were working with instructors we knew, we were comfortable riding up together on any lift. Everyone was fully masked around the lifts and the base, as required.

My group of four worked with Trey. Three of us had done a Ski Week with him before so we knew his style of teaching. There was a wider range of ski ability than a regular Ski Week. However, we knew that in advance. Everyone was prepared to be patient and split up as appropriate. For instance, on a powder day later in the week Trey suggested that Jason and I go hike (5-10 min with skis on) to ski Upper Hunzinger while he took Chris (ski buddy at Massanutten) and @TNtoTaos to Lower Hunzinger. The next run we all did Lower Hunzinger.

I started doing mixed-ability semi-private lessons with friends six years ago. I find that I can learn a lot observing how an instructor teaches others, both when the skier is better than I am and when I'm better than a friend.

The more adventurous group of 3 working with Stephanie hiked the Ridge twice. While I could have joined that group either for the whole week or for just a day when they were hiking, I opted to not work that hard. I've hiked the Ridge twice with Stephanie (Feb 2019, Feb 2020). While locals consider it a short 10-min hike, it takes a lot longer for me. Partially because the hike starts at around 11,000 ft.
 

TNtoTaos

Angel Diva
The book Ski Pioneers: Ernie Blake, His Friends, & The Making of Taos Ski Valley, written by Rick Richards is a fascinating read. Rick grew up in TSV and was an instructor for a while. I made Bill buy a copy after I learned about it. It's a huge coffee table book and very heavy. I asked him to bring it to Alta Lodge that season and managed to read all of it.

Blurb on Amazon:
"A kaleidoscope of voices, Ski Pioneers focuses on the most dynamic and colorful characters in the history of American skiing. Tracing the lives of Taos Ski Valley founder Ernie Blake and his early skiing friends, this book goes beyond biography to tell the origins of the downhill sport in the West. Assembling interviews with some of the greatest names in skiing, Rick Richards describes the making of Ernie Blake, the man who envisioned a world-class resort in Taos Ski Valley. He follows Ernie from Europe to New Mexico, recounting events that shaped Blake's life and changed American skiing. From the first runs at Sun Valley to the steeps of Taos today, Richards recreates the pioneering journeys of the first, innovative skiers in the nation. With twenty-two chapters of reminiscences, humorous anecdotes, and commentary, and more than 250 historic and personal photos, Ski Pioneers is the most detailed look at ski history to be published in recent decades."
Yes, I've skimmed through it, but never had a chance to read the entire book. Maybe someday...
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Walking the most common route from the parking lot is very different now that the Blake Residences building exterior construction is done. Get a much better first view of Al's Run. Plus the stairs are gone. Walking across the bridge that was built across the stream is MUCH easier.

Although we didn't ride much, the open shuttle was running. A big advantage of being part of a small group is that a driver can provide drop off/pick up so there is no need to carry skis & poles from/to the parking spot. Still have to carry to the base of the lift. Although leaving skis to be waxed or tuned, or renting demo skis can make the carry distance shorter.

Most of us used Le Sky Mastery for ski rental and tuning. Jason rented from Boot Doctors because they had the brand/model he was most interested in checking out. He's been hunting for new all-mountain skis for a couple seasons. After trying two lengths of the Brahma 88 in assorted snow conditions, he bought them. Managed to squeeze two pairs of skis into his soft ski bag for the flight home.

Photos taken around 5pm, so that's why it's so empty.

TSV entry Mar2021 - 1.jpgTSV entry Mar2021 - 2.jpgTSV entry Mar2021 - 3.jpg

Heated walkways are very helpful
TSV entry Mar2021 - 4.jpg
 

Members Online



Top