Amy, Andy, Sarah, Jeff, and I skinned up Ski Santa Fe
to ski the Nambe Chutes located in a high alpine bowl just to the west of Lake Peak
in the Pecos Wilderness
of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
in New Mexico. We were joined by Andy/Sarah's snowclimbing husky Nina. We skied a north facing chute from ~12200' (starting from just NW of Deception Peak) down to ~11500'. Then we booted up part way for another lap before booting all the way out and skiing down the ski area back to our cars. Our total roundtrip distance was ~5 miles with a total elevation climbed of ~3000'. Our total car-to-car time was a leisurely 4.75 hours.
The Nambe Chutes consist of about a dozen distinct starting lines that all end up in a big bowl at the bottom. Please see this link
and this link
for more information on these chutes. On this day we skied and climbed the "Boot Out" chute shown in the first link above.
Trailhead and approach
From Santa Fe, take highway 475 and park at the Ski Santa Fe
parking area (~10300'). Your goal is to end up at the top of the Millenium chairlift by skinning up the ski runs on the northern edge (looker's left) of the ski area. From the top of the chairlift, continue skinning NE and you will come to the top of a large north and west facing alpine bowl with Lake Peak
(12409') towering over the western edge of the bowl.
We started skinning around 9:15am.
Skinning up Ski Santa Fe.
We headed NE into the trees just below the top of the Millenium chairlift and arrived at the top of the "Boot Out" chute around 11:15am. The upper part of this chute has a slope angle approaching 40 degrees.
Looking down the "Boot Out" chute.
We ripped the skins off and clicked in, taking the chute one at a time. Being still kind of early in the spring, the snow was pretty firm up high.
Amy dropping in.
Scott in the "Boot Out" chute.
We skied down about 700 vertical ft. to where the bowl flattens out and there are some rocks that are nice for sitting and snacking. We all took a second lap and snacked at our own leisure.
Enjoying a second lap. "Boot Out" chute is the one on the upper right.
I wanna sandwich too!
You could ski down the Nambe drainage past Nambe Lake and return to the ski area parking lot via the Winsor Trail. However, we bootpacked up in order to get another run down the ski area.
Sarah and Jeff booting out.
Amy booting out.
Skiing the frontside.
We got back to the car around 2pm.
References and external links
1. Ski Santa Fe
2. "Santa Fe, Bandelier, Los Alamos" topo map by Sky Terrain
3. Northern New Mexico Avalanche Exchange