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Spring Excitement at the Taos Ski Valley, NM

April 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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The first weekend in April marked a memorable event in northern New Mexico. Terry and I had headed up to the Ski Valley for a snowy spring hike on one of the many trails in the area. As it was the last weekend of the downhill ski season, there were several festivities planned. As we completed our hike, we happened upon the first of those, the Red Bull Schlittentag.

Taos Ski Valley, NM Schlittentag is the German word for “sledding day.” What this translates to is daring adventurers willing to propel themselves down a snow-covered hill and over a jump on some variation of a sled they have built themselves. Some of the “sleds” we saw included a Roman Chariot made of cardboard, innertubes with laundry baskets inserted inside, a wooden rocking horse and a loveseat and a recliner mounted on skis.

Taos Ski Valley SchlittentagAccompanying their sleds were the daredevils in costumes. We saw Julius Caesar with two lovely Roman companions, a priest and a nun, several cowboys and cowgirls accompanying the horse and several sledders sans shirts painted red, blue and green. Some groups even had brought music to serenade them on their trip down the hill. The cowboy/horse group provided the song, “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.”

Taos Ski Valley Schlittentag sledsParticipants had to abide by the directives of the Ski Valley. No prefabricated sleds were allowed, nor were engines or batteries permitted. Crafts were not permitted to be launched in any way at the top of the hill, but simply had to propel the riders down the hill. To be considered to have “completed” the race successfully, at least one member of the crew had to cross the finish line with the sled.

"Moonshine" run

“Moonshine” run

One group we saw called themselves the “Shiners.” We found them still welding their sled, Taos County Moonshine, just before the race. While two of the three crew members and parts of the sled were left on the hill, they did successfully complete the run because one member of the crew managed to stay with the sled and propel it over the finish line.

"Moonshine" finish

“Moonshine” finish

Lest you are wondering what this has to do with camping and RVing, campers and RVs are welcome to stay in the upper parking lot at the Taos Ski Valley. While we have often seen both large and small RVs parked in the lot, yesterday we encountered an intrepid group of campers who had spent the night in a tent in the parking lot. Initially incredulous that anyone would consider tent camping at a ski resort during ski season, upon further thought it made perfect sense. With daytime temperatures in sunny mid fifties and night time lows at about 32 degrees, it is actually quite similar to tent camping in Wisconsin over Memorial Day Weekend, something we have done with a six month old infant. As adults, it would be a piece of cake!

Tent campers

Tent campers

Also, though the majority of the cars in the massive parking area were from New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma, we did spot vehicles from as far away as Vermont, Wisconsin and Montana, so clearly overnight accommodations were required. While there are a multitude of hotel rooms and cabins in and around the resort, campers and RVers are easily accommodated as well. Something to consider when planning your travels next spring.

Read more about New Mexico camping and things to do in New Mexico.

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