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TR Taos Ski Valley (TSV) Jan. 28 thru Feb. 5, 2023

marzNC

Angel Diva
As Divas who have been following the Jan. 29 MOTH thread know, there is a small group of Divas at Taos for a Ski Week this week. All of us have done multiple Ski Weeks in the last decade. I also have other friends around for a Ski Week, with a few groomer skiers doing a Ski Week for the first time. Most people flew to ABQ, plus there are several who live in Albuquerque or drove to NM late last week. People are coming from IL, OH, TN, NC, FL, VA, PA, NY, and MA.

Hopefully others will chime in and/or provide pictures during the week.

For general notes about Taos Ski Weeks:

Early view of the mountains that include Taos Ski Valley, late January 2023
TSV first view 27Jan2023 - 1.jpeg

Arroyo Hondo (blue trees) between blue groomers, Jan. 28
TSV Arroyo Hondo 28an2023 - 1.jpeg
 
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marzNC

Angel Diva
Happily, travel was pretty uneventful getting to Taos this time. Meaning flights were on time.

@DebbieSue didn't have her ski bag when she landed at ABQ but it arrived in time for her to have her skis for the first Ski Week lesson on Sunday morning. We took advantage of having a group that arrives at different times, as happened last year when someone didn't get all their luggage. Southwest is happy to have a friend pick up a delayed piece of luggage so that they don't have to figure out how to get it to TSV.

Heard that there will be several people (we don't know) who didn't do the ski off on Sunday morning because they didn't have their skis yet. Two of my friends were told their intermediate group will probably be split in some way after Monday's ski off. Possible they are people on a ski club trip.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
There are four Private Ski Weeks, which were set up by a Diva months ago. Other people are spread out in various regular Ski Weeks. My BIL is a first-timer, F-IL, and C-ABQ are sharing a room at Alpine and are in the same intermediate Ski Week group that will stay on groomers. F-IL is skiing more after retiring a few years ago.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
looking forward to more pictures over the week!
Not sure there will be that many pictures. Everyone I know is doing a Ski Week, either Private or Regular (6 morning lessons). Most people don't stop for pictures during a lesson.

I snapped a couple while my group was waiting for another group to ski the bumps on the side of the groomer off Lift 4 called Shalako. We are 60-something advanced skiers interested in spending time working on technique more than guided "adventure runs." Since three of us worked with Derek last year, we knew more about what to expect and so did he. We've spent most of the first couple days doing drills on groomers, as well as learning why a drill is ultimately useful in bumps. One goal is to learn how to ski bumps slowly, even if they are not very well formed.

MarzNC's Private Ski Week with Derek, includes @DebbieSue
TSV 30Jan2023 - 1.jpeg

View from near top of Lift 4
TSV 30Jan2023 - 2.jpeg
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Fair to say that the difference between the weekend and weekdays is significant at Taos. Can tell in the parking lot in the morning as well as on the slopes. Even though it was a very nice day, there were few people around after lunch. The wind was picking up on the front side, so most people still skiing heading up Lift 2 to get over to the Kachina side.

Lift 7 goes over Maxi's, which has been turned in to a wide blue. It had been a terrain park with a few large features for a while. Not sure when that started, but it was there in 2017 during my first trip to Taos. It can be a good trail to learn to experience higher speeds because there are multiple head walls with flat sections in between.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
There are three Private Ski Weeks going on for the advanced skiers who have been skiing black bumps and trees for a while. For all of them, the group is working with the same instructor as previous year(s). While even regular Ski Weeks are addictive, that's even more the case when it's possible to continue working with the same instructor and group of ski/travel buddies.

This time the only people I know who have never been to Taos before are not part of TheSkiDiva. They did the ski off on Sunday. They are groomer skiers over 60 who have only started to ski more after retirement.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Another blue sky day, with wind on the front side. Heard the snow was good on the front side black terrain. My group worked on drills on groomers that are directly related to skiing bumps slowly and in control even if the bumps are a bit weird.

At lunch time, those interested meet up in the cafeteria. Midweek it's not hard to get a large table. The tables are set up the way they were pre-pandemic. The food isn't as interesting though. In particular, there isn't a soup and salad bar any more. A few people are bringing sandwiches. I found that getting a taco from Rhoda's without sitting indoors the quickest approach. Can eat it outdoors or take it into the cafeteria next door.

@DebbieSue on the last section of Hunziker's, our Private Ski Week group skied it in the morning too
TSV 31Jan2023 - 1.jpeg
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
A few scenery shots. Most people are heading home Feb. 4-5. I and @DebbieSue are skiing this weekend, so might be a while before there are more detailed trip report posts.

Warmed up quite a bit compared to a few days ago. I'm wearing shell pants and only a light vest under my ski jacket. When the sun goes behind the Ridge around 3pm, it cools down pretty quickly.

View of short runs off the Ridge, requires hiking, from Lift 7A
TSV views Feb2023 - 1.jpeg

Lift 7A, a center-pole double, can get back to the base another way if don't want to ride Lifts 7/7A
TSV views Feb2023 - 2.jpeg

View of Kachina Peak from near the top of Lift 2, terrain in the pic is mostly double-black
TSV views Feb2023 - 3.jpeg
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
@marzNC what do you mean by “even if the bumps are a bit weird”? Is that in regard to shape? I would definitely love some tips on tactics for large strangely shaped bumps that have big and/or rough drop offs all around them.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
@marzNC what do you mean by “even if the bumps are a bit weird”? Is that in regard to shape? I would definitely love some tips on tactics for large strangely shaped bumps that have big and/or rough drop offs all around them.
Yes, it's about the shape of the bumps. At the moment there aren't any VW Bug size bumps around. But there are sections that people call "gnarly" or "nasty" that are easier to ski with techniques that aren't necessary for nicely shaped soft bumps.

Note that the technique taught in a given Ski Week depends on the ability level of the class. Looking back at my notes from a year ago, I realized that my instructor started with a technique that is more common. This past week he quickly moved on to another technique because the class was stronger. He added back the other technique on Day 6, since he knew we already knew how to excecute the technique. The idea is to have multiple options when skiing steeper terrain and/or nasty bumps. Fair to say that an advanced intermediate or low advanced class would focus on more fundamental techniques related to skiing bumps.

A common idea for all Ski Weeks has to do with the pole touch/plant when skiing bumps. But the emphasis changes. This week my friends include several older intermediates (over 60) who generally only ski groomers. Their classes started working on easy bumps by midweek.

My group worked on technique on black terrain by Day 3. We skied a double-black on Day 5. We were skiing black terrain by Day 3. Meaning not just one run, but different runs with bumps after warm up.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
Yes, it's about the shape of the bumps. At the moment there aren't any VW Bug size bumps around. But there are sections that people call "gnarly" or "nasty" that are easier to ski with techniques that aren't necessary for nicely shaped soft bumps.

Note that the technique taught in a given Ski Week depends on the ability level of the class. Looking back at my notes from a year ago, I realized that my instructor started with a technique that is more common. This past week he quickly moved on to another technique because the class was stronger. He added back the other technique on Day 6, since he knew we already knew how to excecute the technique. The idea is to have multiple options when skiing steeper terrain and/or nasty bumps. Fair to say that an advanced intermediate or low advanced class would focus on more fundamental techniques related to skiing bumps.

A common idea for all Ski Weeks has to do with the pole touch/plant when skiing bumps. But the emphasis changes. This week my friends include several older intermediates (over 60) who generally only ski groomers. Their classes started working on easy bumps by midweek.

My group worked on technique on black terrain by Day 3. We skied a double-black on Day 5. We were skiing black terrain by Day 3. Meaning not just one run, but different runs with bumps after warm up.
Can’t wait to see how the ski week is later this month. I have no idea where I will be placed, but looking forward to it!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Can’t wait to see how the ski week is later this month. I have no idea where I will be placed, but looking forward to it!
It pays to remember that someone who has very good form on a groomer can end up in a Ski Week group that is a bit too adventurous. For instance, if the group is skiing black bump runs on Day 1 and someone isn't comfortable, it could be worth talking with the instructor after the Sunday lesson. Doing another ski off on Monday is perfectly fine.

Chemistry matters too. For instance, suppose a group is mostly seniors from a midwest ski club who are over 60. That might not be the best fit for someone who is in their 30s. Or someone who mostly skis out west on soft snow.

I've had friends who didn't understand that Sunday is a warm up day. The instructors are evaluating the group chemistry and individual skills. The detailed lessons start on Monday morning.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
For people who are skiing Taos for the first time, there are a few relatively short black bump runs that can give an idea of what that means at TSV. Tell Glade is under Lift 8. At some point in the past I assume there were trees but now it's just a bump runs. Intermediate and advanced groups learn and practice bump technique there. Moe's is a short bump run off Honeysuckle that gives some idea of the steepness and size of bumps during a week, especially if there has been a snowstorm recently. Papa Bear is a black run with bumps on one side and groomed snow on the other. The groomed side can get pretty slick in the afternoons.

The trail map is a bit deceptive for the frontside blacks. They are a lot longer than it would appear on the trail map. Jason and I did Inferno to Edelweiss Glade, as well as Spencer's Bowl to Lower Inferno. Each run probably took 20-30 minutes. We had done Inferno and Lower Inferno with our instructor. I've skied the other runs before but in better snow.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
The trail map is a bit deceptive for the frontside blacks. They are a lot longer than it would appear on the trail map. Jason and I did Inferno to Edelweiss Glade, as well as Spencer's Bowl to Lower Inferno. Each run probably took 20-30 minutes. We had done Inferno and Lower Inferno with our instructor. I've skied the other runs before but in better snow.
Can't edit . . .

What I meant is that Jason and I did those runs this morning. We also did Blitz, another black run that we did with our Private Ski Week instructor. Exploring Edelweiss Glade was new territory.

The best snow on a black run last week was Upper Hunziker. That requires a little "hike" that doesn't require taking off skis. There is also an entrance lower down. The year I did two regular Ski Weeks, the first class didn't do Lower Hunziker until mid-week. The second class did Lower Hunziger on Day 1, and without much coaching.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
To get from the "front side" to the "back side" or the Kachina side, the route starts with Lift 1, a short groomer run past the Whistlestop to Lift 2. At the top of Lift 2 there is a trail sign, a view of Kachina Peak, and the start of the green trail called Honeysuckle. Honeysuckle starts as a cat track and then opens up into a fairly wide green. There are a few blues off Honeysuckle that lead to Winklereid (green) that goes to the base of Lift 4.

To get back to the main base from the backside there are two ways to go. Either riding Lift 7 (triple with no safety bar) and Lift 7A (center pole double with no safety bar), or taking the long cat track called Rubezahl.

Trail map at the top of Lift 2, the hike to the Ridge starts at the top of Lift 2
TSV to Lift 4 Jan2023 - 1.jpeg

Honeysuckle goes down to the right, the towers are for Lift 7A (center pole double)
TSV to Lift 4 Jan2023 - 2.jpeg
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
It pays to remember that someone who has very good form on a groomer can end up in a Ski Week group that is a bit too adventurous. For instance, if the group is skiing black bump runs on Day 1 and someone isn't comfortable, it could be worth talking with the instructor after the Sunday lesson. Doing another ski off on Monday is perfectly fine.

Chemistry matters too. For instance, suppose a group is mostly seniors from a midwest ski club who are over 60. That might not be the best fit for someone who is in their 30s. Or someone who mostly skis out west on soft snow.

I've had friends who didn't understand that Sunday is a warm up day. The instructors are evaluating the group chemistry and individual skills. The detailed lessons start on Monday morning.
I'm curious to see how the steep bump runs feel versus Beaver Creek, only because that's the most recent Western bumps I skied a month ago for my own perspective. Some of the blacks and especially the double blacks were extremely steep. The blacks I felt good on, the snow was great and there was no ice to worry about. So I felt pretty confident and could get some okay flow going for longer parts of it. The double black I did was a big step up because the bumps were also ginormous and it felt way steeper on top of that. It was also fine since the conditions were great, but I couldn't get much going flow wise and I was stopping after every few turns. It was also my first day skiing at altitude on the trip, and it was my last run of the day.. so it was a bit more tiring than I'd anticipated and I was happy to be done with it when I finished. It was hard to figure where I wanted to turn when the bumps were so large and weirdly shaped. Would have loved some coaching there! haha I was completely alone on that trail the whole time.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I'm curious to see how the steep bump runs feel versus . . .
What bump runs did you do at Big Sky? I haven't been to Beaver Creek so can't provide any comparison to the terrain there. Have you skied bumps on the Mary Jane side of Winter Park? What bump runs did you ski a Aspen/Snowmass?

In general, Taos is a steep mountain. However, what makes TSV unusual is there are always green and blue bumps even when it hasn't snowed much and the black/double-black bumps have had a chance to grow relatively big. Since I tend to do a Ski Week either relatively early in the season or have been lucky with snowstorms, I've never really skied Taos when the bumps were huge. The only trip I've done after late February was during the pandemic season. There had been recent snowstorms and very few people so it felt like we were doing more powder skiing in the trees than bump skiing in the afternoons.

I'm still getting caught up having just gotten home last night. Took a bunch of pictures the last couple days but need to sort through to decide which ones to post. Took pictures of a few groomers too. :smile:
 

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