Snow is life.
360 of Cumbres pass
Here in the Southwest, our snowfall makes up a good portion of the water we drink. So, when it snows here, or perhaps DOESN'T snow here, it means a lot more to us than just some backcountry turns. We've enjoyed some great mountain biking, and amazing sunny weather this December and January, but in the back of our minds we knew it was mid-winter and things were a bit dry to say the least.
Finally, at the end of January, the Southwest received some long awaited snow. For Arizona it had been the driest January in 115 years of record keeping. For us, the call to go ski was high, but New Mexico hadn't really received that much snow. Both Santa Fe and Toas were lying about how much they had gotten, and the Snotel sites weren't reading significant changes.
Problem was most mountains around had High/Extreme avalanche danger, so we knew that wherever we went we'd be skiing low angle terrain… Bound and determined, we decided to find the deepest, closest, and Safest snow.
Last summer we had mountain biked and hiked near Cumbres Pass, and, while driving through there, had spied some good looking terrain (but at the time thought it was a bit too mellow…). With the danger in mind, and some cheap mid-winter hotel prices, we headed up to Chama, NM and Cumbres Pass, CO.
Cracking, whumphing and sliding assured us that the low angle terrain we sought was the right call. Its amazing though, how fun low angle skiing really is. Two days and several thousand feet of turns later, we have some pictures and video of the fun.
hiking up Neff Mountain during a storm and high avalanche danger
Cold conditions kept the snow good.
Skiing allows people to explore areas that would otherwise be rough, off trail slogs.
Next Day we went to some steeper terrain in the sun. The majority of the day was recorded on video. Its below.
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