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Valle Crossing Ski Trip (delayed)

Sun, 2013-02-10
Norbert Ensslin

 Ski Tour from Pajarito Mt. to the Valle Grande, Sunday, February 10, 2013


NOTE: Sign up for this trip is via email ( or phone (662-1408) NOT via the Mountaineers website.


This ski tour is a repeat of the popular trip from Pajarito Mountain to the Valle Grande visitor center that the Mountaineers have done for the past few years. This is a Los Alamos Mountaineers trip, but is also open to members of the Southwest Nordic Ski Club, the New Mexico Cross Country Ski Club, and other guests who are known to the trip participants from these clubs. 


Advanced signup for this trip is required, with a deadline of Thursday, February 7th.  This way we will know who to expect at the trailhead and what transportation arrangements you've made. Please e-mail Norbert at or phone at 662-1408 to sign up so that we can communicate back and forth about weather conditions, snow conditions, car-pooling options, skiing experience, etc. If it does look as though there might not be enough snow to do the trip, we have the option of postponing the trip for two weeks to Sunday, February 24. If so, I will notify participants via e-mail by Friday, Feb. 8th.



The ski tour will start from the west end of the ski area parking lot, and skiers can depart anytime between 8 AM and 9 AM. Before departing from that location, all skiers must sign a Valles Preserve waiver and (if not on file already) a Los Alamos Mountaineers Club trip waiver. At the parking lot, we’ll also collect the $10 Valles Preserve access fee (in cash) from everyone, so please bring the appropriate change.


We appreciate that the Valles Caldera staff are again allowing us to do this trip as a "sanctioned group event." We are asking trip participants to take responsibility for assuring their own abilities to complete the trip. The ski tour is roughly 11 miles, with an estimated 6 hours of skiing time. It requires at least an intermediate level of cross-country ski touring experience, and includes a difficult descent on a narrow jeep road. So the trip is not for beginners. Skiers should be able to maintain an average speed of 2 miles per hour in order to arrive at the visitor center 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 into the Valle de los Posos 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.)


Each group of skiers should work out their own arrangements for getting picked up at the visitor center at the end of the tour.  There are several options for doing this, including arranging a car shuttle with other skiers, getting someone to come and pick you up, or leaving a car at the visitor center on Saturday, the day before the trip. Let me know if I can help you by sharing information about possible drivers or riders.  PLEASE NOTE that if you leave a car at the visitor center on Saturday, you must sign in with the staff when you get there, and also leave a note in your car saying that it will be left there overnight. If the Valle staff do not know whose car is in the lot at closing time, they are obliged to start a search and rescue effort. This almost happened once, so please help us prevent this!



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