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Pajarito Mountain to Valle Grande Ski Tour

Sun, 2019-02-10
Norbert Ensslin and Zack Baker
Are dogs allowed?: 
Not allowed

Leaders:  Norbert Ensslin,, Zack Baker,
Regrettably, this ski tour is postponed to Sunday, February 10 because of the ongoing government shutdown and other Mountaineers schedule conflicts.  We have checked with the Valle staff and confirmed that the caldera is closed to public access.  We want to thank all of the skiers that signed up for the original trip date, and we hope that most of you can still join us on this new date.  As before, the new date is conditional on the government being open by then, and on having enough snow to do the trip. 

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 an intermediate level of cross-country ski touring experience, and includes a DIFFICULT or MODERATE (depending on snow cover) 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, February 8.  That way we will know who to expect at the trailhead and what transportation arrangements you've made.  Please email Norbert or Zack (  Hope to see you in the Valle!

Trip Location: 

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