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East Fork Ski: Not the Caldera ski tour

Sun, 2019-01-13
Norbert Ensslin and Zack Baker
662-1408, 412-5961
Are dogs allowed?: 
Not allowed

As the Caldera is unlikely to reopen for our Sunday trip, let's ski along the East Fork of the Jemez River instead!


Meet at 9am for a carpool and departure. Return around 3:00 p.m. Bring a lunch. We will start at the Las Conchas trailhead and finish at the East fork trailhead, a total distance of about 5 miles with an anticipated travel time of 2 hours. The trail follows the meandering East Fork of the Jemez River for approximately two miles before climbing up to the top of the mesa. The trail then descends almost imperceptibly through quiet woodland for about 3 miles to the Eastfork trailhead. Car pools and shulttles will be set up to facilitate the trek in one direction.

This is somewhat less complicated than the original Caldera crossing, so it's open to less skilled cross country skiers.



This year we finally have enough snow again to do the popular ski tour from Pajarito to the Valle Grande!  We plan to go on January 13th, UNLESS the government is still shut down or a snowstorm is expected.   The tour starts from the west end of the ski area parking lot, follows the nordic tracks past Canada Bonito, and descends into the Valle de los Posos on Pipeline Road.  Then we travel south through the Valle de Los Posos, enter the Valle Grande, and travel west to the Visitor Center.  

Skiers can depart anytime between 8 AM and 9 AM.  Before departing, all skiers must sign a Los Alamos Mountaineers Club trip waiver.  This year there is no Valles Caldera Preserve access fee, but skiers can leave donations at the Visitor Center if they wish.
This is a roughly 11-mile-long trip.  It requires a MODERATE level of fitness and an ADVANCED level of cross-country ski experience because of the one-mile-long descent on a narrow jeep road. Skiers should be able to maintain an average speed of 2 miles per hour in order to arrive at the Valle Grande staging area with some margin of safety before closing time.  Specifically, skiers should turn back at the gate where we descend into the Valle de los Posos
• if they cannot cover those first two miles in about an hour, or
• if they have too much trouble with the descent to the gate, or
• if they arrive at the gate after 10 AM.
Within the above constraints, skiers can travel at their own pace, staying between the lead group that breaks trail and the sweep group that brings up the rear.  We do ask that no one skis alone, and that each group of skiers carries a cell phone with them.  (Reception in the Valle Grande is pretty good, but there is some missing coverage on the north side of Cerro Medio.)
To avoid the need for a special use permit, we will NOT be allowed to leave cars at the Visitor Center overnight.  So each group of skiers will need to make arrangements for getting picked up at the Visitor Center at the end of the tour.  But let us know if we can help you by sharing information about possible drivers or riders. 
Advanced signup for this trip is required with a deadline of Friday night, January 11.  That way we will know who to expect at the trailhead and what transportation arrangements you've made.  Norbert will be out of town from Jan. 2 thru 9, so please e-mail Zack at if you have any questions.  Hope to see you in the Valle!

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