Taos Spring Snow Stashes Abound

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Set against a blue sky and a jagged mountain range, the slopestyle course in Tignes included six jumps, compared to the usual four. "This was a great venue," said Orage marketing manager Mike Nick, who used to compete in X Games events. "And when I looked down at the crowd during the superpipe event, there were so many people, it felt just like Aspen." At the men's snowboard superpipe event, event organizers said they expected around 5,000 spectators. Instead, roughly 17,500 people showed up.

Taos, NM, April 5--Just because the New Mexican landscape unfolds in the earth tones of April, don't think the Taos Ski Valley is without great spring skiing.

I must admit I was skeptical, as I headed for my annual spring pilgrimage to Taos, after hearing that the area had experienced a below-average snow season.

But I was pleasantly surprised to find that a late surge of winter had made for surprisingly good conditions.

"We've had a hard time convincing people that we have snow," admits Chris Stagg, vice president of marketing. "But March has been a good snowfall month and more is coming, plus we have 100 percent snowmaking on all beginner and intermediate trails."

Hiking 20 minutes to Highline Ridge last week was well worth the effort. Powder stashes still lingered in the trees of Billy Sol and Cornice Chute, making for some great expert skiing.

Although the occasional rock lurks under the boot high powder of Lorelei Trees or among the soft bumps of the High Traverse's steep chutes I had the trails all to my self.

Skiing down St. Bernard, one of the steep narrow chutes below West Basin Ridge, demands hop turns but rewards with soft powder in the West Basin below.

With unbelievers storing their skis for summer and more snow in the forecast, the bumps on steeps of the Ridge or the untracked powder in the glades below will make for some fabulous final runs of the season.

So fabulous, Chris Stagg exclaims, "If it's this good on a bad year, no telling how good it can be."

From now until the April 9th closing day lift tickets cost only $31.For Taos ski info call: (505) 776-2291, or visit: http://www.skitaos.org./base.phtml