More Negative Response from TSV Regarding Access

Events of general interest to Northern New Mexico backcountry enthusiasts

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Re: More Negative Response from TSV Regarding Access

Postby JBella » Sat Oct 15, 2016 12:30 pm

I should clarify some points of this debate. During 2014 I requested from TSV, Inc. via email, a formal written policy regarding uphill access at Taos Ski Valley. They responded with a generic, no name email that uphill access is not allowed during the ski season (which I respect), and listed reasons such as dangers associated with snowmaking operations, unmarked obstacles, skier collisions and avalanches.

Here are some points worth considering;

1. Taos Ski Valley, Inc. has not adhered to the legal clause (24-15-7. E.) set forth in the New Mexico Skier Safety Act which requires visible notice to be posted at specific locations stating if and which runs within their permit boundary are not currently open to access. I have brought this to their attention several times during the past eight years and they have chosen to ignore that fact. During the stupid instagram thing their social media employee stated that they had a sign posted at the entrance to the parking lot, however that is not a "subject trail or slope" where a closure notice must be posted as dictated by the NMSSA, and said sign was either fallen over or covered in snow and was not visible anyways. He also said there was a sign at the bottom of Lift 4, which I did not see while we were there and it is not visible in any pictures I'd taken of most of that area surrounding the Bavarian parking lot, and all the other skiers I asked who had been up there that day did not see a sign. Upon inquiry the US Forest Service told me that their interpretation of this specific NMSSA clause includes the post season when a ski area is not open, and that ski areas in New Mexico must have a legitimate notice posted at the bottom of each base area lift and any other area which may be accessed from an existing road or trail that enters the ski area boundary from public lands, if they wish to keep an area closed. Trees and other natural geologic boundaries are considered to be like a fence or gate - the excuse of "I went through the trees" is not valid.

2. TSV, Inc. uses their lifts to access the Wheeler Peak Wilderness for private recreational skiing while the ski area is closed, without providing the same opportunities for the public and passholders. During May of this year, 2016, TSV's owner along with their COO and two ski patrollers acting as guides (I will omit using names on here, because of my personal respect for the owner and one of the ski patrollers) used Lifts 4 and 12 (12 is the Kachina Peak Lift) to access the wilderness area and ski on Lake Fork. According to the COO in an actual conversation the previous year, ski areas are permitted to use their lifts for anything related to resort operations, however as of July this year the Forest Service has said they have not received any formal request from TSV, Inc. to pursue backcountry access via gates or open boundaries. Whether or not TSV's use of their lifts for certain individuals to enjoy recreational skiing in the Wheeler Peak Wilderness could be interpreted as a scouting trip for potential future endeavors is questionable.

3. A bit more personal - I was told by a veteran TSV employee, in conversation at a local cantina last May that "if we catch you hiking up there again we'll ban you from the mountain and arrest you for trespassing." I asked the employee "what about the fact that I was up there along with a bunch of your friends and co-workers, and several Forest Service employees were up there skiing as well and didn't seem to have any issues?" his response was "they work here and have earned the right to hike Kachina whenever they want to". This is in line with TSV's well-known way of biasing against specific individuals whom they simply do not like, I believe they don't like me because during my four years working the lifts here I reported several safety issues to my supervisors and to TSV's lift maintenance employees, as I had been thoroughly trained to do while working with lift ops and maintenance at Copper Mountain (5 years, I learned from some of the best in the industry here), and also a year at Keystone, 2 seasons at Angel Fire, and a Summer at Purgatory. For example during the 2008-09 season I reported a fraying haul rope wire, bent and worn sheaves, misaligned or bent sheave crossarms, possible cracks in welds on chairs, missing bolts on chairs, bolts found beneath lift towers, chairs that had migrated several feet more than the majority, the misalignment on Lift 7A between towers 5, 5A and 6, chairs parked in the bullwheel at night (a hazard any experienced lift mechanic should be aware of), faulty tower switches that would not reset during daily stop tests, 3-8 foot rollbacks on Lift 1 during normal stops, unsafe e-stop distances, clunky sounds coming from the gearbox, corrosion on Lift 5's counterweight line, rust on motor parts, and lots more minor issues that should be addressed but would not actually prevent the lifts from running. I was told by the lift maintenance supervisor at the time "you need to just shut up and swing chairs." During the 2010-11 season I reported a broken seat pan (the metal pan between the chair frame and pad) on a chair on Lift 1, and was told by the lift mechanic who responded "just don't load any fat people on that chair", then he got on his snowmobile and left - I sh*t you not. During 2013 I blew the whistle on the bent and possibly broken bullwheel at the top of Lift 1 directly to the Forest Service's top guy in the western states (via a connection within the Colorado Department of Tramway Safety Board), the FS sent and inspector who generally agreed with my sentiment, they checked with Poma who told them the bend on the spoke occurred during shipping when the lift was built, I didn't ask about any specifics about how it happened.
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Re: More Negative Response from TSV Regarding Access

Postby danshorb » Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:56 pm

Taos
a bit behind the times, as usual. They don't understand how much this segment of the market has grown, and won't until its too late, and when they do come around, the Sangres won't receive snow any more.
The only two things you can truly depend on are Gravity and Greed. -Jack Palance
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Re: More Negative Response from TSV Regarding Access

Postby Bob » Wed Oct 19, 2016 5:57 pm

danshorb wrote:...when they do come around, the Sangres won't receive snow any more.

:lol:
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Re: More Negative Response from TSV Regarding Access

Postby lobojasper » Tue Nov 08, 2016 6:33 pm

Wow TSV day pass is now up to 98 dollars. Lame
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Re: More Negative Response from TSV Regarding Access

Postby scotthsu » Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:47 am

I noticed that Taos has now published an official uphill policy on their website: https://www.skitaos.com/uphill-policy.
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Re: More Negative Response from TSV Regarding Access

Postby JBella » Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:45 pm

scotthsu wrote:I noticed that Taos has now published an official uphill policy on their website: https://www.skitaos.com/uphill-policy.


I like the direction TSV is going! I was just informed of this minutes ago too, I think it's fair and proper.
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Re: More Negative Response from TSV Regarding Access

Postby lobojasper » Thu Dec 15, 2016 3:10 am

I like the direction its going, but that really only gives us a month or so to ski uphill there "legally", and leaves out the second half of may, everyones favorite time of year. But hey, at least the holier than thou powers that be of TSV are letting us get our easy inbounds fix and we should be excited for even the slightest bit of leniency.

Oh wait, poorly worded second part:

"All winter sports activities, such as (but not limited to) skiing, snowboarding, tubing and sledding are prohibited before and after operating hours due to safety concerns and pre and post season due to safety concerns."

Translation: enjoy the rotten snow after 9am and be home 2.5 hours before dark.

I call BS on that.
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Re: More Negative Response from TSV Regarding Access

Postby lobojasper » Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:39 am

I don't mean to sound like a troll, or disrespectful, but I feel strongly that the TSV social media/public relations are extremely off putting, and maybe condescending. I possible could just be too sensitive, but I've felt snubbed on multiple occasions by employees there (lift ticket not touring) and I also feel like they are trying way too hard to sell it out as a place it was never meant to be. To me, their uphill policy is another example of that.
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