Ski Santa Fe

For more general backcountry snow talk that might not fit into the other forums.

Moderators: scotthsu, Bob, Matt, mark

jpurcellrd
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:33 pm

Re: Ski Santa Fe

Post by jpurcellrd »

The quote was generalization and not specific to the current situation necessarily. And like I have said SSF has been incredible for access so it hasn't been an issue and I am grateful for that. I think everyone here is giving SSF or any ski area a little to much power. This is your land as much as it is theirs. As far as one person ruining it.... There will be 500 people up there skinning, hiking once the snow flies. It's not just skiing either. I run up there all the time. If you start from Big Tesuque campground and run up to the towers and out to Lake peak it's a great run. How would I impact anything up there if I did this? There's zero risk to SSF. I am a responsible adult that would stay 500ft from anyone up at the ski area while wearing a mask.

I applaud people for being conservative during these tough times. Again, should I not go trail running? I could run up to Atalya and twist my ankle requiring a possible rescue. I would also argue mountain biking out a Glorieta would be more dangerous than skinning and skiing at SSF. Should I not go mountain biking? Should we not go low consequence rock climbing? Everyone of these activities has risk... heck biking in town probably has more risk than taking two ski laps at the ski area. I'm not arguing for people to go do these things if they aren't comfortable, but it seems a little silly to shake your finger at someone for doing low consequence activities. Mental illness is real. There's a whole host of other issues that can present themselves when depression sets in on top of an already depressing situation (domestic abuse, alcoholism, suicide, etc.). Going outside doing low consequence activities is a pretty safe activity during covid that has great benefit. Hell, I would even say it may be a better use of time getting in shape (controlling blood sugar, improving BP, losing weight, etc) for combating Covid.
User avatar
danshorb
Posts: 178
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:38 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Re: Ski Santa Fe

Post by danshorb »

jpurcellrd wrote: Mon Nov 23, 2020 10:35 am The quote was generalization and not specific to the current situation necessarily. And like I have said SSF has been incredible for access so it hasn't been an issue and I am grateful for that. I think everyone here is giving SSF or any ski area a little to much power. This is your land as much as it is theirs. As far as one person ruining it.... There will be 500 people up there skinning, hiking once the snow flies. It's not just skiing either. I run up there all the time. If you start from Big Tesuque campground and run up to the towers and out to Lake peak it's a great run. How would I impact anything up there if I did this? There's zero risk to SSF. I am a responsible adult that would stay 500ft from anyone up at the ski area while wearing a mask.

I applaud people for being conservative during these tough times. Again, should I not go trail running? I could run up to Atalya and twist my ankle requiring a possible rescue. I would also argue mountain biking out a Glorieta would be more dangerous than skinning and skiing at SSF. Should I not go mountain biking? Should we not go low consequence rock climbing? Everyone of these activities has risk... heck biking in town probably has more risk than taking two ski laps at the ski area. I'm not arguing for people to go do these things if they aren't comfortable, but it seems a little silly to shake your finger at someone for doing low consequence activities. Mental illness is real. There's a whole host of other issues that can present themselves when depression sets in on top of an already depressing situation (domestic abuse, alcoholism, suicide, etc.). Going outside doing low consequence activities is a pretty safe activity during covid that has great benefit. Hell, I would even say it may be a better use of time getting in shape (controlling blood sugar, improving BP, losing weight, etc) for combating Covid.
J Purcell, you've got a point. Ski SF has the best terrain in New Mexico. No other terrain exists. Well that's not totally true, but if want to ski boulderless, treeless grass it is.

Alternatively, if I respect their request, I have to drive and hike miles into expert terrain and risk having a real adventure and maybe not even skiing that great of stuff, rather than the ski basin groomed experience. We have a world of backcountry options, but I see why you are focusing in on this small patch of our mountains: Groomers. Because right outside the area there's plenty of fun to be had, but you are focused on the groomers. A quick drive and quick skin, and boom.
I hope we take up hiking outside of Ski SF on our own terms and not use the "I've got my freedoms" argument to justify skiing on their maintained trails. Those trails don't just naturally stay obstacle free on their own, which is why we are drawn there and are seeing them as a uphill ski resource. Let's just state that clearly for the record. I've not seen you post up about the sweet, well-spaced trees on SF baldy's west ridge yet, nor the backside of Heavens. Your convenience is managing your take on what's possible, and affecting your view of the company with the 1) lease 2) maintained trails and 3) a request about those trails. Be clear, those aren't publicly maintained groomers It would be just forest up there without the company maintenance.

It's fine to be focused on skiing/hiking the company's groomers, but that's your own train, and not one that necessarily needs to be promoted here. We've got options.

I hope as the snow flies, experienced users announce that they are NOT going skiing in the area, but instead getting over to the backside of Baldy. Digging pits for the world to see. Posting up observations from the Penitente bowl, exploring the grassy back bowl of Doctor Creek. Even though, the manicured groomers of SF are very alluring.

Like you said, there will be 500 people up there, kinda like a Sturgis, or a maskless Trump rally. Let's not be those people, let's be better. For now, sacrifice, and, heck, do a little exploring for god sakes.

Also BC skiing is NOT a low consequence backcountry activity, nor is MTB, nor trail running. All us WFR's know that. So, stay sane and stay safe. Your points about needing to get out for mental health may be the most important point of your above post. Hope the rant isn't too offensive, but I just see opportunities galore without us focusing in on the negative aspects of this Ski SF request about some groomers.
The only two things you can truly depend on are Gravity and Greed. -Jack Palance
jpurcellrd
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:33 pm

Re: Ski Santa Fe

Post by jpurcellrd »

Sounds good man! I wasn't promoting it, but inquiring the legality of it. I think it's a valid question. Not just for this instance, but for future instances as well if they come up. Yes, it's really nice that they maintain the area, but they are monetizing resources as well. They aren't doing me a big favor. Quite frankly if you haven't noticed I actually wish the ski area wasn't there to begin with. Yes, you are also right that I like to go ski there after work or before work for ease of access (sometimes) although if there's snow I would prefer to go do laps on lost fork or tootsie roll if I am pressed for time. It's sometimes tough to do an 8 hour adventure when you have a two year old and full time job. Your implying that I like to take my dog up there on Saturday's while there are bizzillian people skiing down which is fine your feel to have your opinion. I actually trail run up there way more than I ski for the access (big vert and easy yes ACCESS to lake peak, SF Baldy and beyond).

You just told me I should take walks around the block because it's to dangerous out right now, but now your saying I'm lame and should go farther out. Gotcha!

Lol, well I don't know if trail running is a high consequence sport, and I would consider skinning up SSF backcountry skiing.

Aspen vista parking lot as well as the ski areas parking lot have been full all summer it doesn't mean you can't be safe and avoid large amounts of people. Please don't imply I'm going to pack 10 people in my car and drive up, have a party with my bros and do couple laps. I'm quite the opposite of a trump supporter but thanks for implying!

I thought this would have been a fruitful conversation as we weather this crappy time. Thanks for sharing your .02. I learned alot about where I ski, where I should go and how I should act in the backcountry!
jpurcellrd
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:33 pm

Re: Ski Santa Fe

Post by jpurcellrd »

Dan:

Next time I start a thread I will make sure I post my ski resume. Hopefully I will be worthy enough to have an opinion/question on access to public lands. I'll make sure and run everything by you before I ask a question. Hopefully I do enough cool things to be able to post. Thanks for motivating me to go outside the ski area. I never thought of the possibilities out there. It's really hard for me to leave ski area because I hate powder, solitude, and like you said adventure. Maybe you could show me how to be so awesome.

I started the thread asking whether or not it's legal to shut public access to the ski area when they are closed. Some how or another it turned into how I should go explore more, it's to dangerous right now to be at the ski hill anyways.

Just some food for thought: More people might post observations if there weren't people arm chairing.
User avatar
danshorb
Posts: 178
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:38 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Re: Ski Santa Fe

Post by danshorb »

jpurcellrd wrote: Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:18 pm Sounds good man! I wasn't promoting it, but inquiring the legality of it. I think it's a valid question. Not just for this instance, but for future instances as well if they come up. Yes, it's really nice that they maintain the area, but they are monetizing resources as well. They aren't doing me a big favor.
Like I said, I hope the rant isnt too offensive. And as you noted with lost cyn, etc, there's a ton of opportunity without pushing the issue of whether or not the request by the ski area is legal. Also I hear you loud and clear on many of these points youre making. And apologize i can't write so good as to show I'm somewhat in agreeance with you. I get it!
That said, the policy and request in discussion is a non-issue, and needs to be pointed out as such. Otherwise, what you're writing here about its legality just seems like needless stirring of the pot of animosity towards Ski Santa Fe. They are a great member of the community here, and the announcement is responsible and reasonable.
The only two things you can truly depend on are Gravity and Greed. -Jack Palance
User avatar
danshorb
Posts: 178
Joined: Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:38 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Re: Ski Santa Fe

Post by danshorb »

Your resume has nothing to do with it.
Whatever the case, I'm embarrassed i even participated in this thread, and apologize. Stay safe.
The only two things you can truly depend on are Gravity and Greed. -Jack Palance
User avatar
Dorman
Posts: 50
Joined: Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:12 pm

Re: Ski Santa Fe

Post by Dorman »

Wow! Y 'all could have been doing much better things with your time. Like, seriously... Nobody's talking about the fact that we were able to get turns in October in New Mexico!!!!! Sandia was so fun.
jpurcellrd
Posts: 52
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:33 pm

Re: Ski Santa Fe

Post by jpurcellrd »

1. Your 100% right! And that's really fun.
2. I have a bit of a boring job and like to argue.
3. Don't ski at Sandia it's dangerous (JK do whatever you want. I don't want to start another tirade)!
4. It was awesome while it lasted, but we've been skunked here lately. I hope it starts to turn around!
User avatar
JBella
Posts: 721
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:19 pm
Location: Usually somewhere between Mexico and Canada.
Contact:

Re: Ski Santa Fe

Post by JBella »

I've been researching and addressing this topic for years, the following are my opinions and interpretations based on my own research and conversations with USFS employees - anything I write is not legal advice or definitive policy - regarding ski areas that operate on public lands managed by the USFS, USDA, under a Special Use Permit. When I met with some of the Carson NF employees a few years ago they somewhat clarified this matter, and my interpretation is that while any ski area's approved plan of operations is active, they can absolutely restrict access to the areas within their permitted area at their own discretion. Every ski area has a different operating plan - most are typically seasonal but some plans may be year-round, they are effective depending on specific dates and aren't determined by whether the ski area is open or closed. For example at TSV, when the Winter operations plan ends (I don't know the specific date with their current agreement this season) and before the Summer operations plan begins, the lands within the permit boundary are open for anyone to access via typically legal means such as hiking, snowshoes, skis and other human-powered modes of travel. None of the roads at this resort are designated as motorized use roads which are shown on the Questa Ranger District MVUM, hence snowmobiles and vehicular travel are not allowed for the public to use.

The standard USFS ski area SUP states in Section 1. F. Area Access; "Except for any restrictions as the holder and the authorized officer may agree to be necessary to protect the installation and operation of authorized structures and developments, the lands and waters covered by this permit shall remain open to the public for all lawful purposes. To facilitate public use of this area, all existing roads or roads as may be constructed by the holder, shall remain open to the public, except for roads as may be closed by joint agreement of the holder and the authorized officer."

"authorized structures and developments" is generally interpreted to include structures such as lift shacks, lift machinery and parts, restaurants, lodges, snowmaking equipment, and any other buildings or physical manufactured structures that are on lands within the permit boundary, and "developments" can include anything and everything else - such as groomed or ungroomed slopes, trails, signs, gates, fencing, reclamation areas, water bars, etc., and generally any lands which are used by the permit holder. This broadly allows ski areas to restrict access anywhere they deem necessary - and yes the Forest Service and any employee(s) tasked with overseeing the permit could be considered the "authorized officer", hence this legal ability to close these areas is granted to the permit holder, and the specific areas of this "agreement" within the permit area most likely do not need to be stated on the SUP.

So yes at specific times ski areas can restrict access to, and prohibit specific activities on, lands covered by their SUP while their operations plan is active. The best way to determine when an operations plan is active is to cordially contact the USFS District Office where the ski area is, and/or contact the ski area and request this info. Where this policy becomes murky is situations like the upper parking lot at TSV (aka the Coyote Lot) which is within their permit area, and mostly maintained (plowed) by the ski area, but much of which is and always has been shared with the public as a main access point onto the Columbine-Hondo Wilderness and Wheeler Peak Wilderness via the Wheeler Peak Trail #90 (Bull of the Woods) which is an official USFS system trail and trailhead and has always been openly accessible for anyone to use, including the ski area and their employees - however in an email earlier this Summer which one of TSV's management and mountain ops staff members sent out to various resort employees, he acknowledged the "non-exclusive use clause in their permit" then goes on to state that some "timely guidance" was sent out by the NSAA (which I'm assuming is the National Ski Areas Association) and included the text as follows;

"Public Access to Ski Areas Lands and our Non-exclusive Use Permit Clause

Several ski areas have asked how to articulate the fact that the recreating public does not have unfettered rights to access ski area permitted lands just because they are National Forest System lands. Below are some talking points on this topic. These should be helpful to public land resorts in light of COVID-related volume management.

The Forest Service adopted a policy in 2013 recognizing the ski area’s right to control access to any “improvements and services” provided by the resort within its special use permit boundaries. (Forest Service Manual 2340 paragraphs 4, 5). Pursuant to this policy, the ski area can charge fees for the use of, or deny public access to:

●Trails or terrain that the ski area has constructed, grooms, or maintains;
●Areas where manmade snow has been applied;
●Services offered by the ski area;
●Chairlifts and any other facilities of any kind constructed or maintained by the resort; and
●Parking lots maintained by the resort."[/i]...

While this policy as stated is murky because it comes from an organization representing ski areas, and not directly from the Forest Service, it is also alarming because TSV, Inc. is claiming that this interpretation of their SUP allows them to "deny public access to" an important access point and parking lot because they maintain it, when it is also the parking lot for an official trailhead and one of only two access points onto the Wheeler Peak Wilderness that is accessible during the Winter, the other being the William's Lake trailhead along Kachina Road. I do not believe the US Forest Service would, or should agree with this concept or statement made by TSV, Inc. about this parking lot. And if TSV, Inc. were to attempt to deny public access to or charge a fee to use this parking lot, it would be a very poor decision on their part that would not benefit the community, it would actually create loss to the community by interfering with historic and legal access to large swaths of USFS lands which their permit area is adjacent to, and create a situation that should never be on the table - due to these facts such an attempt would certainly conflict with their B-Corporation standards.

*******

What ski areas most likely cannot do, again these are my own interpretations and not definitive legal policies; I do not believe they can prohibit access to lands within a SUP boundary when their operations plan is not active and no developments are underway; restrict or prohibit access to adjacent public lands via Historic Rights of Way and established easements which cross lands covered by their permit; allow exclusive access for certain individuals or groups such as employees by stating they have "earned the right to be up there"; use the lands for any reason not specified by their permit - i.e. a ski area can't close to skiing and decide to start a mining operation or claim that mineral rights are granted by their permit; nor can they develop or build new trails without proper approval. I'm sure there are a trove of other things that could be on this list, these are just some I find relevant to this discussion.
User avatar
Bob
Posts: 581
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:10 am
Location: Santa Fe

Re: Ski Santa Fe

Post by Bob »

^^^Nice summary. Thanks.
sody
Posts: 65
Joined: Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:23 pm

Re: Ski Santa Fe

Post by sody »

Here is SSF season policy for uphill in the area:

https://skisantafe.com/winter-operations-2020-2021/

Ski Santa Fe permits uphill traffic with updated restrictions for the 2020/2021 season.

The Covid Safe Practices for Ski Areas require us to track each user within our permit area and to limit the total capacity. Because of capacity limitations we will have restrictions on uphill use Weekends and Holiday Blackout Dates (12/26-12/31, 1/16-1/17, 2/13-2/14).

Uphillers are required to wear a face covering while traveling up and down the mountain.
No Lift Ticket or activated One Pass/Peak Plus required Monday-Friday excluding Blackout Dates and Holidays (12/26-12/31, 1/16-1/17, 2/13-2/14).
Saturday, Sunday, and Blackout Dates a valid Lift Ticket or activated One Pass/Peak Plus Card are required for all uphill access from 8AM-5PM.
Saturday and Sunday uphill access is permitted without Lift Ticket or activated One Pass/Peak Plus Card after 5:00 pm and before 7:30 am, users must be back in the parking lot by 8AM.
Please know and follow, including preseason, all the Uphill Access Guidelines.
sombreroguy
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:24 pm

Re: Ski Santa Fe

Post by sombreroguy »

Well it's official, Ski Santa Fe on a weekday is more expensive then Taos. $88 vs $85. Just a FYI
Post Reply