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X-country Ski from Pajarito Ski Area to Valles Caldera Visitor Center

Sat, 2023-03-04
Jeff Click
Leader Email: 
Are dogs allowed?: 
Not allowed

Date and Time: Saturday, March 4, 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Where: Start at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area parking lot on the west end. Finish at the Valles Caldera Visitor Center.

This trip has been a popular tradition for the Mountaineers over the years. It is a beautiful 11 mile X-country ski tour with viable terrain and beautiful views. The route starts at the west end of the Pajarito Mountain parking lot, follows the Canada Bonita trail northwest to Pipeline Rd, down Pipeline Rd to Valle de los Posos, south to the Valle Grande and then southwest across the Valle Grande to the Valles Caldera Visitors Center. The majority of the route is technically easy except for the descent down Pipeline which requires navigating under and over fallen trees across the road. I skied this about 5 weeks ago. The entire Pipeline Rd section was not fast and easily skiable due lots of fresh snow at that time. The conditions will likely be a little more challenging for this trip.

This is a strenuous ski. Participants should be in good shape, capable to skiing 11 miles and capable of breaking trail in places. The snow will likely soften up later in the day, requiring more effort on the latter stages of the ski when you are getting tired. Skiers that would prefer a shorter outing could plan to drive to the VC Visitor Center late morning. Then, ski out to meet the group in the Valle Grande and ski back with them to the Visitor Center. These skiers could also simplify the shuttle arrangements for getting skiers back to Pajarito Mountain.

The total ski and lunch will take ~5-7 hours, depending on skier speed. Depending on the number of skiers that we have, we may be able to break into a lead group and a sweep group with some skiers in between. No one skis alone. Each group will need to have a cell phone and a radio.

Participants should bring skis, boots, poles, skins (only if you are uncomfortable with the Pipeline Rd descent), wax to prevent snow sticking and clumping to your skis, lunch, plenty of water, sunscreen and appropriate clothing layering. It will likely be cold in the morning and quite warm in the afternoon.

Advanced sign-up is required so that we can make sure that we have adequate vehicles to shuttle folks back to Pajarito. Please contact Jeff Click by Friday 3/3, 2:00 PM, if you plan to go on this trip (, 505-412-8770). Please be sure to let me know if: you have already made transportation arrangements from the VC Visitor Center; if you plan to ski from the VC Visitor Center and you are able to shuttle other skiers back to Pajarito; if you are able to leave a vehicle at the VC Visitor Center the day before to be used as a shuttle; if you require a ride back to Pajarito. We will need folks that are willing to help with shuttle vehicles in order to make this trip successful.

This should be a wonderful outing. The weather forecast is for warm, sunny temperatures and mild winds. I hope you can join us.

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