I had a long weekend off last weekend but ended up only taking one of the days and heading on out to the slopes.

The weather pattern this winter is not favoring Santa Fe anything like it did last year, in fact early in January it got so warm that I decided that I'd have to not come back unless they got some serious snow. And last week they got maybe 4 inches, while Taos had forecast that they had gotten 8 or more inches.

Since I've not been to Taos this year, I decided I'd take a drive on up there, just because I do like the slopes, and because I wanted to see just how long it would take for a "day trip" from Albuquerque. As I passed through Santa Fe I had to fight a mental battle not to just head on up, especially because I had missed the bypass and had to drive right through the center of town.

That ment that the ski slopes were just one turn away.

But I kept on driving and found myself looking at one of my favorite signs just a bit after noon.

In it's context, you can see why the sign is put there in the first place. The run that angles down is the "easy" way down, but most people just don't see it from where you first get on the lifts.

Like a lot of resorts, in order to get to the summit of the mountain you have to take a series of lifts and Taos is not an exception. Trail map here. It took two lifts to get to the top of the mountain which allows you the opportunity to ski in either of the two main areas, or to climb up for the alpine routes that are expert only. Just as you come off of lift 2 this picnic table sits pearched above the "other side" of the mountain.

I took of my skis and clumped on over to the table where I took the following panorama.

Taos ski area panorama

Full size image is here - note it's very large. Click on the image to enlarge more after it loads in the browser window.

Turning to the right just a bit one is faced with a path to the more extreme portions of the slope that make up the west basin. Part of the west basin is centered in the photo after the next image.

High alpine skiing, Taos, NM

West Basin, Taos Ski Area, NM

From this same point I am including two panoramas, one shot on Monday, Feb 21, 2011, the other on Feb 26, 2005. Both images have links to the larger panoramas.

Taos Ski Area Panorama

Larger image here.

Taos Ski area panorama

Larger image here.

It turned out that my left knee started to give me some serious problems as the day progressed. Even though I had only bought a half-day ticket, I was not able to finish the day. After only two and a half hours I decided I would have to call it a day and head on back to my car.

I wasn't that disappointed, since it was a great day for skiing and the weather was perfect. Now all I have to do is figure out whether the knee issue is serious, or a temporary thing that is probably related to being at low altitude for a week. That tends to mess up my hydration levels and hopefully that's all that it is.