On Monday and Tuesday this week a large storm dropped 21 inches of perfect winter snow on the Taos Ski Valley. The timing could not have been better after a very dry and warm February and the Freeride World Qualifier event beginning on Wednesday.
Kachina was closed on Wednesday for control work but the West Basin opened promptly and was promptly inspected by a hundred or so freeriders. Almost everywhere was skiable and sendable. West Basin 2 between St Bernard and Thunderbird were especially epic. Turbinator nose and Chute were incredible with full coverage and endless powder wall to wall.
The Freeride competitions a 2* and a 4* (the highest level below the world tour) were held on West Basin on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. “The conditions are the best I’ve seen in the 4 years that I’ve been coming to Taos for this event“ said IFSA head judge Brant Moles. “It’s exciting to see so many more creative options available for the athletes”.
Spectators were not disappointed with athletes hitting huge features in the waterfowl and heavy timber area. Female skier Rachel Croft had a standout run with an incredible line through the heavy timber cliffs to become the clear winner. Sam Kuch from Canada won the male skier division by an impressive 2.5 points with three 360’s off of large cliffs. Overall Taos did a great job of organising with professional commentary, a live-feed, barbeque and drinks at the bottom of the venue. Full results and video highlights can be found on the Taos Freeride Facebook page.
While the West Basin is well and truly skied out now there’s still plenty of snow left over from the storm. The traverse far skiers left towards Wonder Wall and Wild West Glade is well worth it, no skiers have been there the past 4 days and the glades are superb. On the front side, the trees between North American and Long Horn have kept the snow in great shape. The bumps in Jean’s Glade are super soft with hero snow.
Kachina peak opened on Thursday to hikers only. Those who put in the effort were rewarded with knee deep smooth powder from top to bottom. The lift opened on Friday and Kachina quickly turned into a mogul field. Far skier’s right and left however around Cabin Chute and Hunziker Bowl are still skiing well. The best runs for sure are the one’s you have to hike to between Nino’s Hero’s and Treskow.
Conditions are set to remain cold so conditions should stay good over the next few days.
Next week’s forecast for Taos Ski Valley: