The Call of the Mountains ~ From First Chair to New Friendships

~the connection

What was it that first sparked your attraction to skiing? For many of us it was the same thing ~ the desire to be outside, in the mountains, surrounded by nature. Breathing the clean, crisp air early in the morning as the lifts start spinning, watching the sun rise above the ridge to the east. We see perfection in the snow crystals, the way they catch the light and sparkle like colorful glitter on the first lift ride of the morning, coupled with the feeling of anticipation as the chair takes us further from the city, away from the stresses of work and responsibilities, into the alpine surrounded by the forest and blankets of fresh snow.

There are really no words to truly describe the feeling of knowing the mountain as a skier or snowboarder, the connections we feel after being in a ski town for a while and becoming acquainted with a favorite line or powder stash. In these places we feel welcomed, loved and blessed to be right where we’re supposed to be, doing exactly what we’re meant to do. We know why we felt that need to wake up early and get our gear together when the sky is still dark, and understand why sometimes it’s worth it to call in to work and drive up a snowy road before anyone else. Skiers and chairlifts have a beloved relationship ~ lifts are like pets, we look forward to seeing them first thing in the morning and at the end of the day we are grateful for the joys they brought us!

When Lift 5 was decommissioned and it was announced this past Summer that the chairs would be sold to raise funds for hurricane relief funds, locals and out of towners alike were quick to place bids to purchase the chairs. Pictures went up on Instagram of the seats hanging from homemade frames with scenic views of Taos Mountain and the Rio Grande! It was nice to see so much enthusiasm from the community to help our friends who were recovering from the unexpected storms and doing so by preserving a strong part of Taos Ski Valley’s history and culture in a way that will bring positive vibes for generations. Chairlifts also create and grow relationships ~ lifelong friendships have begun when would-be strangers ski up to the “wait here” board then load a chair together. Small talk becomes conversation that could go on for hours ~ “hey do you want to ride Lift 2 together?”, “I’d love to!” A few quick turns and the conversation picks up again. Then there’s the intimate moments of silence shared by friends, a break from the adrenaline fueled shredding every ski town local knows is an important aspect of communal togetherness, the bonds that can only be strengthened with mutual understanding and respect. And on a powder day, a chairlift often becomes the prefered breakfast or lunch spot to take in quick calories via a breakfast burrito or sandwich during the return up the mountain.

At Taos we’re blessed with some wonderful things other ski areas don’t have ~ it takes a bit more effort to get here so the slopes aren’t crowded and lift lines are quick. The terrain is wonderful and on the busier days there’s plenty of room for everyone to enjoy their space and find great lines and snow across the mountain. As the next era of Taos Ski Valley begins, new lifts are replacing the older ones beginning with the new Rueggli and the already popular Gondolita that links the Ski School with the base village. As much as we’ll miss the chairs we’ve come to love, we’re excited for the new ones and hope you will be too!