Our Mountain Our Weather

Changes in our climate & our outlook

We all know the mountains as a place to go to cool down during the hot summers.  The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are a unique range among the Rocky Mountain states, a narrow band of ridges and 13,000' peaks running north-south from Colorado to Santa Fe.  To the west of the Sangres is a vast landscape of high desert mesas and deep-cut river gorges, to the east more arid high desert and grasslands.  As you get closer to the mountains from either side the landscape swiftly transitions to a wetter, cooler environment where forests and wetlands abound.  The mesas gradually climb then suddenly rise into steep and rugged mountains, a majestic and dynamic scene for anyone travelling from near or afar.  If the mountains in Taos have been your destination on a road trip or after flying to New Mexico from your home state, you've probably felt the vibrant energy of mountain magic as you get closer to the range ~ it's an unforgettable and indescribable feeling, something we love to remember about our first trip to this amazing part of our planet Earth!

Every mountain community knows how weather and conditions change and are an important aspect of our lives.  This year has brought some unexpected conditions, which we've never really seen before.  As many of you who ski and snowboard in Taos know, after several great snow years the 2017-18 Winter was drier than normal, it was actually the driest on record.  Most of the snow came during February and March so we had a decent season in the end, but still not enough snow for Kachina Peak to open.  Everyone kept a positive attitude ~ something to love about the people who call Taos home year round or part time ~ which made for a great season overall.  But still with the lack of moisture we must adjust our schedules and plans.  As of June 27th the Carson National Forest had to close due to wildfire danger, a pressing decision we agree with even though we're bummed about many of the local hiking trails being closed.  So with an active wildfire in the mountains southeast of Taos in the Carson NF, we started researching historical weather records and trends, and found some uplifting information!

Looking back at snowfall records kept by TSV's Ski Patrol, most dry years are followed by an average or above average snowfall year.  The driest Winter before this year was the 1991-92 season, which was proceeded by the memorable 92-93 season which many locals recall some of the deepest powder days they have skied.  Same for the 2001-02 Winter which was the most recent dry year, 2002-03 brought many great powder days and late snows during April and May extended the backcountry skiing season well into Summer and kept the rivers flowing all year, the 2003 rafting season is still talked about in local circles.

Perhaps the most motivating factor we've found is the National Weather Service's long range outlook ~ beginning this July their forecast shows an exceptional likelihood that an El Niño event  is developing and could continue through the Winter months!  There is no guarantee when it comes to weather, especially long range, however the NOAA meteorologists are seasoned pros and we trust their wisdom.  As the monthly outlook maps show potential for above average precipitation across the southwest, once the monsoon season takes hold we could see the current drought come to an end quickly.

Times of drought are common in northern New Mexico, they are usually short-lived and no one we've spoken with remembers a year the monsoon rains didn't come.  Every year there are wildfires during June so this is akin to what we'd expect to see.  Even with the Carson National Forest temporarily closed there's a lot of open hiking and biking trails, and campsites close by on BLM land ~ and lots of other activities to do in our area unaffected by the forest closure, check the links on our Website or Contact Us directly for more specific info and recommendations.

We're confidant the monsoon rains will come soon and another epic Summer season in Taos will unfold... All the positive energy and vibes help so keep your rain dances, two steps, tapdance, and all your other precipitation-conjuring activities going strong!  See you in the mountains! See latest Trail Conditions & Closures.