Quarantine! Yes, we all must but I could take no more. I had to get out and snowshoe. Walking and hiking were fine but I just had to do something different. The question was what? I have already written about the up side of Coronavirus. That blog was about discovering new walking trails around Santa Fe. The river trail is interesting and it has taken me to new areas of the city but I needed something else. That something else was snowshoeing.
I had received a pair of snowshoes for Christmas and they were still unused. I ski during the winter and was not sure when and where to try out these interesting gifts. Then the virus hit. Ski Santa Fe valiantly stayed open for a few days but finally gave in and announced the end of their season. A few days later a thought occurred to me. Now that you can no longer ski, why not get out and snowshoe. It seemed like the perfect solution.
Where to snowshoe?
The next question to be answered was where. The Valles Caldera is nice and flat but it is about an hour away. I was sure it still had snow but how much? Of course, I could look out my window and see that Ski Santa Fe had plenty of snow. Ski Santa Fe is was the obvious choice.
On the mountain
I reached the parking lot at about 10:00. No need to hurry. I was surprised by the number of cars in the lot. Being on the mountain was not a novel idea. There were quite a few people with skies. Other were just hiking with boots only. The bottom area was covered by about an inch of snow but I could see up the bunny slope and it looked good. I snowshoed my way up to Totemoff’s. Unfortunately, it was closed so no beer.
Top of the mountain Ma !!!
The question now was do I go back down or head on up. I was here to get out and snowshoe so it was head on up! It was up Thunderbird to Crossover and to the top of Tesuque! It was a hard slog but I made it! I took in the view and headed down. Snowshoeing down is much easier than up. Would I do it again? Yes! The snow still looks good so next time I will go all the way to the antennas.
Want to go snowshoeing? Contact Santa Fe Footprints.
Calling all ski bums! The road trip from Santa Fe to Durango and Purgatory is a must. Do not take route 550. This is the route everyone from Albuquerque takes and it will get you there a bit faster. But the journey is a big part of a road trip and the 550 route does not offer much. So you may ask, what path should I take? Head north on 285, through Espanola, Abiquiu and Chama. Up over the continental divide and into Pagosa Springs. The road, the views and the mighty rockies make for an incredible journey. Head on over to Durango and you have arrived in a unique little western town.
On arriving in Durango you must stop at the historic Strater hotel and have lunch in the Diamond Bell. The waitress are dressed in period tight little corsets, fishnet stockings with a feather in their hair. Oh, and the food’s good too.
The drive to Purgatory ski area will continue the impressiveness of the road trip. Massive mountains rise up on both sides of the road. The Sangre De Christos around Santa Fe seem puny in comparison.
Now for the skiing.
Purgatory is a big ski area and I will be honest, I was a bit intimidated. I have skied many big areas but not for several years. This was my first road trip to Purgatory and I was totally unfamiliar with the mountain. But I gave it a go. The snow was hard packed which is not my favorite but you take what the mountain gives you. The sun came out, I was on the mountain and life was good.
Two hours of skiing and it was time to call it a day and find a good Durango brew pub. The Steamworks proved to be the perfect place. Good food and good beer. Just a short walk from the Stater down charming Main Street so no bothering with parking and driving back after sampling a variety of their excellent brews.
Full Ski Day.
The next day was a full ski day and the final day of the Durango road trip. The sun was out and the sky blue. A great ski day. The only down side was the hard packed snow. I had planned to ski all day but by 2:00 my legs were telling me ‘It’s time to call it a day’.
Back to Santa Fe.
The next day my Durango road trip came to an end. The drive back to Santa Fe was impressive as always. A herd of Pronghorn Antelope close to the road added an unexpected bonus to the incredible mountain scenery.
Click for information about Tours of Santa Fe.
‘You take what the mountain give you! You must enjoy the experience’.That is a quote from a guest on one of my Santa Fe Footprints ski tours. The mountain was angry that day. The fog was thick and the wind was high. We did the lower mountain and it was not bad. As always, the runs at Ski Santa Fe are fun and can challenge you. I saw a small patch of blue sky and we decided to go up top. We rode the lift to Tesuque Peak. The view from the top is normally magnificent. Not today. The fog limited visibility to 20 feet. The wind blew me over. With skill and care we all made it down.
When I apologized for the mountain a guest set my mind at ease. This is skiing and you take what the mountain give and enjoy the experience.
I took guest up several days later and the mountain was much kinder. This day was what a Santa Fe ski experience normally is all about. No lift lines. Sunshine. 100 mile visibility. The mountain was still holding back. A bit of wind. I found the snow a bit hard. Not the normal white fluff that is Santa Fe’s calling card.
As I look out the window the snow is falling. The mountain is saying, ‘Come on! I got what you need!’
Don’t miss the Experience !!!!!