are falling again over the pine, spruce and aspen forests of
the Southern Rocky Mountains, blanketing the world in a quiet
cocoon of white. It also marks the time for the return of this
column. Every other week throughout the winter it will explore
the snow sports and travel scene in New Mexico and southern
Colorado, with occasional forays further afield. Please feel
free to contact me with questions or comments: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The biggest news regarding regional resort developments takes
us to Telluride, located in the spectacular San Juan Mountains
of southwestern Colorado. This season, Telluride opens a new
slice of terrain that will please both beginner and intermediate
skiers, and has experts chomping at the bit for the day the
rope drops on entering Prospect Bowl.
Part of $14 million in improvements carried out over the summer,
Prospect Bowl adds 733 new acres to the resort's base, served
by an impressive three new high-speed quad chairlifts. The new
terrain consists predominately of groomed corduroy beginner
and intermediate slopes, which has historically been the resort's
Achilles Heel. But experts are also looking forward to the first
lift-served skiing on Gold Hill-1500 vertical feet of above
treeline ridges and bowls that drop down to isolated glades.
Gold Hill's stashes previously could only be reached via hiking.
The new Gold Hill chair tops out at a dramatic 12,260 foot elevation.
The new lifts are part of six new chairs installed at the resort
in the past three years.
Telluride developments include the new Station Recreation at
the Mountain Village, which offers nighttime tubing, sledding
and snowbiking. Also new on the scene is Blue Point and the
Noir Bar (970/728-8862). The restaurant serves fresh mussels,
oysters and clams, and offers a fine selection of fish, steaks
and chops, while the lounge-with leather sofas, faux fur bench
seats and a fireplace-is just the place to gather for an apres-ski
news of the region includes the installation of a new triple
chairlift at tiny Sipapu (southeast of Taos). The new lift increases
the area's vertical drop by 200 feet, and access to a handful
of new runs and a snowboarding terrain park.
Fire is opening a new 400-foot-long halfpipe for snowboarders
and freestyle skiers this season. The pipe was designed by Chris
Gunnarson, who created courses for the ESPN Winter X Games.
It is located at the summit of the high-speed Chile Express
quad chair, and has a special "grinder" machine to
provide fine maintenance throughout the winter.
Ski Rio, which was expected to be open again for business this
season, has announced it's opening would be delayed. The smallish,
family-oriented resort, located north of Taos almost on the
Colorado border, has been plagued in the past by financial and
management difficulties, and occasional spotty snow conditions.
Contact Information & Seasonal Schedule
Fire: 800/633-7463 or www.angelfireresort.com,
open Dec. 14 through March 24; Crested Butte: 888/463-6714
open Dec. 15 through April 15; Durango Mt. Resort: 800/982-6103
open through April 7; Enchanted Forest (XC): 800/966-9381
open; Monarch: 800/228-7943 or www.skimonarch.com,
open; Pajarito Mountain:505/662-5725 or www.skipajarito.com,
opening as soon as possible; Red River: 505/754-2223
open fulltime Dec. 14 through March 24; Sandia Peak:
505/242-9133 or www.sandiapeak.com,
scheduled season Dec. 14 through March 17; Ski Rio: 505/758-7707
Ski Santa Fe: 505/982-4429 or www.skisantafe.com,
scheduled season Dec. 8 through April 7; Sipapu: 505/587-2240
scheduled season Dec. 13 through early April; Ski Apache:
505/336-4356 or www.skiapache.com,
open through March 31; Taos Ski Valley: 505/776-2291
scheduled season Dec. 14 through April 7; Telluride:
866/287-5016 or www.Tellurideskiresort.com,
open through April 7; Wolf Creek: 800/754-9653 or www.wolfcreekski.com
open through April 7.
Contact Ski N.M. at 505/984-0606 or www.skinewmexico.com
for reports on New Mexico ski areas and to order a free winter
trip guide; Colorado Ski Country at 303/825-SNOW or www.coloradoski.com
for Colorado reports; or individual areas: Angel Fire--800/633-7463
x 3; Crested Butte--888/TO POWDER; Durango Mt. Resort: 800/525-0892,
ext. 6; Enchanted Forest (XC)-800/966-9381; Monarch--800/228-7943;
Pajarito--888/662-7669; Red River--505/754-2220; Sandia Peak--505/857-8977;
Ski Santa Fe--505/983-9155; Sipapu--505/587-2240; Ski Apache--505/257-9001;
Taos Ski Valley--505/776-2916; Telluride--970/728-7425; Wolf
of Santa Fe (email@example.com)
is the author of four books, most recently Pueblos of the Rio
Grande: A Visitors Guide (Rio Nuevo Publishers). His first day
on "sliders" was 40 years ago.
Other SNOW TRAX 2002
Snow Trax from Last Season