Taos Ski Valley skiing and snowboarding season opens up this week

By Matthew Narvaiz sports@taosnews.com
Posted 11/27/19

Thanksgiving day? Try Opening Day.

Taos Ski Valley will open up its trails to skiers and snowboarders on Thursday (Nov. 28) -- a late November weekday more synonymous with turkey and stuffing.

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Taos Ski Valley skiing and snowboarding season opens up this week

Posted

Correction appended.

Thanksgiving day?

Try Opening Day.

Taos Ski Valley will open up its trails to skiers and snowboarders on Thursday (Nov. 28) -- a late November weekday more synonymous with turkey and stuffing, and less so with the two winter sports that are popular here in Northern New Mexico.

But don't tell Taos Ski Valley CEO David Norden that. He said that on Thursday travelers to the resort can expect a day full of fun, smiles -- and, of course, skiing and snowboarding action.

"Typically the first day of the year, everyone is really enthusiastic," Norden said. "More than anything else, I think it's a really good time of year [and] it's a traditional time for families."

But what will the weather look like?

The National Weather Service based in Albuquerque is predicting a high of 32 degrees, with a chance of snow showers after 11 a.m. for the Taos Ski Valley.

On Monday (Nov. 25), Taos Ski Valley reported 25 inches of snow at its base.

Norden said that Taos Ski Valley has been on track for this upcoming season as far as making snow and getting trails prepped. The team at the resort has been working on producing snow to flood the trails, using a combination of pumping water and compressing it up the mountain and through hydrants, then using a snow gun to create a fine mist that creates a sheet and, in turn, the snow.

Recently, however, the resort has seen a recent influx of snow -- and more will continue to inundate over the coming days.

The more snow, the better. Norden can agree.

"The natural snow absolutely helps," Norden said. He added that it's a way to build the base of the ski trails -- which can help out with opening more terrain in the future. Just not early on.

Four trails will be open on opening day. The Rubezahl and Pioneer beginner area trails will be open and can be accessed by the Pioneer lift, and the Powderhorn and Whitefeather trails will be open and can be accessed by Lift 1.

More trails and lifts will be open as the season progresses.

The resort itself has seen a makeover since the previous season, however. The Blake Residences, a new condominium style of housing, will be built throughout the winter season. Because of this, though, the ski area will have to be accessed by Sutton Place instead of Thunder Bird Road.

On top of that, Taos Ski Valley has added a new avalanche mitigation system. According to a Taos News column from Norden, the system has Gazex exploders that use propane and oxygen to make an explosion above the snowpack. This was implemented in the aftermath of two skiers dying in a human-caused avalanche in late January of this year. The new mitigation system was planned prior to the fatal avalanche.

Norden said that these kinds of freak accidents are terrible but that they sometimes happen. In that respect, he said skigoers can "make themselves familiar with snow safety. And if there is ever a concern about an area, they should talk to our people and ask what the condition of the slope is."

Norden said that Taos Ski Valley is constantly trying to find new ways to keep people safe.

Correction: The original version of this story misspelled the Gazex system name and incorrectly stated it was two snowboarders who died.  This updated version also clarifies that the Gazex avalanche system  was already in the works prior the avalanche that killed two skiers.

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