In and around Santa Fe we are lucky to have a few exceptional BC ski
areas that require a varying degree’s of experience. The Most Popular
BC run in Santa Fe is the Big Tesuque Peak run. Big T as we know it locally
is beautiful Open Powder run which descends from the radio towers on Big
Tesuque Peak. Just behind the ski Basin. Access can be attained via the
Big Tesuque Creek Trail, the Aspen Vista road or from the Ski Basin. Often
People will end there day at Santa Fe with a Big T run to really close
out the quads. Make Laps from Aspen Vista. Always Ski with a Partner as
Big T is not patrolled and can be a dangerous place. USGS Aspen Basin Quad.
Nambe Chutes (Deception Peak/Lake Peak)
A spring classic, Nambe chutes should be avoided in the dead of winter due
to potential avalanche conditions. While some people do ski the chutes year
round I have personally seen a five foot crown in the Nambe chutes telling
me that it can rip out big. Ski at your own risk this is a serious alpine
undertaking.Always asess conditions and ski with shovels , avalanche beacons and probes. None of these tools are effective if the user does not have proper knowledge of their use. Always ski with partners.
The Nambe chutes can be accessed from the Ski Basin or more appropriately
from the ravens ridge Trail off of the Winsor Trail out of the Ski Basin
parking lot. Climb ravens ridge to the top of Deception Peak , Nambe
chutes descend to the North west into the Nambe Basin. The Skin out to
the Windsor trail is long and should be avoided if snow conditions permit
a climb out. Remember avalanche is as likely climbing in the Nambe chutes
as it is skiing assess conditions before taking the easy route out. If
snow is unstable descend to the Winsor and skin out to the parking lot.
In spring the nambe chutes can provide a great place for long Yo-Yo
days. Nambe is usually skiable into May.As the days get warmer wet slough avalanches are possible.USGS Aspen Basin Quad
Warning: Avalanche Area!
Heavens Hill used to be a secret stash but we all took too many buddies to
the secret stash and have now made it the most well known and finest backcountry
ski shot in Santa Fe, Perhaps, one of the best in New Mexico. The nice thing
about Heavens is there is a pretty serious weed out factor with two peaks
to climb and the skin of the day up Santa Fe Ski Area (the old Poma line is
Heavens Hill provides a rolling 2000 ft descent through evenly spaced
aspens and pine trees. Snow conditions are usually good and avalanche
conditions are moderate. Skiers should be prepared to be in the mountains
for 8 hours as Heavens is a very long day. The Top of Heavens Hill is
Northwest of Lake Peak 12,409 ft. reference the USGS Quad for Aspen Peak.
The route to Heavens Hill can be tricky and at times Perilous. The “Cat
Walk” to Lake peak is an exciting 9 foot traverse on a knife edge
rib. All aspects of ski mountaineering come into play on this approach.
Be prepared for a small climb with skis on your pack. I have seen people
rope up here, cowboys and cowgirls stay home.
The route from the summit of Lake Peak is vaguely as follows. Lake Peak
has three prominent ribs that make up the mass, descend the rib to the
North Skirting the Northwest Side of Nambe Basin. Once a saddle has been
reached your course should skirt the prominent Basin to your North Eastern
aspect. The direct Line skis through the 11,200 ft mark on the USGS Aspen
Vista Quad. Heavens Hill Makes a perfect diamond shape with the top of
Lake Peak the High Point on the diamond and the Windsor trail the low
point on the diamond. The Best Lines are down the center. Don’t
miss the Winsor as you could be in for a major epic. An Alpine start
is appropriate as well as a complete backcountry ski safety assortment:
Beacons , shovel, Ava-Lung, Thermos, food etc. Don’t forget the
Map. Be Careful and respect Mother Nature. This is out there.
HEAVENS HILL IS A REMOTE PLACE! SKI WITH
PARTNERS,ONLY THE MOST EXPERIENCED BACKCOUNTRY SKIERS. AVALANCHES
ARE COMMON IN THIS ENTIRE REGION.THERE IS NO REPLACEMENT FOR EDUCATION
AND THE PROPER GEAR.SANGRE DE CRISTO MOUNTAIN WORKS BY NO MEANS ENCOURAGES
OR DISCOURAGES SKIING IN THIS AREA, THIS IS SIMPLY A GUIDE TO THE
AREA. BACKCOUNTRY SKIING CAN BE FATAL.
The Lost Fork is a small shot off the aspen vista road. The approach to the Lost Fork is a long slog up the aspen vista road to the second to last turn in the road before heading to the summitt. This jump off is not obvious and best skied first with someone who knows the entrance to the track. Once the track is located, ski up through the moss covered pines to the ridge, approximately 600-900 feet above the road. This little shot is great for a quickie after work or on a solo BC powder day although we do not recommend skiing solo. The lost fork is a fun descent with a long luge run out on the Aspen Vista road. A better suggestion would be to ski Lost Fork and the skin to the radio towers on the Big Tesuque ( See above description )to fetch some more of the fresh. Lost Fork is a remote ski site, please be prepared for all conditions and enjoy. Please ski with care. For more info consult our Back Country Checklist.