Big fat flakes keep floating down and piling up. Santa Fe doesn’t frequently get inches of snow at once in town, and the roads can stay bad when it happens. Yesterday we stayed holed up in the house, but we can’t stay couped up today. Ann decides to venture to the office, and I’ve been wanting to take the split board on its first run of the season. The timing is absolutely perfect – I’ve never had a better first run of the season.
The ski area is doing business, but not crazy. It’s engulfed in clouds and snow, still coming down. There were some cars stuck in the snow on the way up, but those who have made it here are having a ball. I put on my split skis and begin the slog up, ducking out of bounds as soon I’m able. The snow here is enticingly smooth and deep. I pass only two other backcountry skiers on my way up. At the top of the quad lift I continue a ways toward Tesuque Peak, but up here there is nothing but wind and white. After taking a quick video, I scurry down again while I can still see my tracks.
When I get back to the quad, I’m surprised to see it start up. I hurry to put the split board together, and get started down just as a few riders come into view on the lift. I’ve earned the first run here by minutes or less.
There are 20 inches of new snow. Enough, with a spot of luck, to carve through the trees and snow fences as fast as I please without bottoming out. I soon realize that my hiking legs are in far better shape than my powder legs! On a snowboard in powder, the back leg does the work, and my left quad soon burns out. One good rest refreshes it enough to fly down the rest of the hill. It’s trackless powder until I hit the groomed runs, which are still fairly powdery. Woot!
Posted also at EveryTrail.