January 5th, 2022
What is a Bluebird Day?
By definition, a bluebird morning is a morning after a storm when the sun is shining bright without a cloud in the sky, and the world around you is covered in a fresh coat of fluffy snow from the night before. But what does it mean to skiers in New Mexico?
Here in Taos Ski Valley, a bluebird morning is waking up with the giddy excitement of a child on Christmas morning knowing that today is going to be an extraordinary day on the slopes. The blinding sunrise bounces off the bowing sage and piñon while magpies chuckle as you slide into boots.
Trucks push through unplowed driveways where coyote prints brag dance moves from the night before. Rounding the bend, the neighbor’s kid waves from his UTV plow ready to make some lunch money.
Turning up the volume on the radio, you hear Paddy Mac on KTAOS jealously report the snow totals, and spot a fellow skier needing a ride from the cattle guard. Driving along the windy canyon road, you smile and chat with your new companion about what runs you hope to get first tracks.
After a record-timed boot-up, you march through the Taos Ski Valley Plazas barely taking a moment to wave hello to familiar blue jackets. The lift ride is one of peaceful meditation where the sunlight bounces playfully between snow-covered trees. Peering through the branches, you squint to see if the Ridge is open for hiking...
Gosh darn, it is.
Steadying your anxious breath, you ascend through the woods on this New Mexico Bluebird Day. The pine tree branches droop low from the weight of snow perched on their needles transforming them into creatures of white who lean in and whisper “good morning”.
Atop the Highline Ridge, looking out at the glistening Sangre De Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains, you close your eyes to say thank you. Thank you for: the run you are about to drop into, the existence of this Rocky Mountain Range that provides us the opportunities to push ourselves physically and mentally, and for their extreme elevation which captures the moisture and dumps it down the lines so we may float through the New Mexico bone dry powder that we love so much. In turn, this snow will melt and provide nutrients for those whispering trees, giving shade to the dancing coyotes, homes to the chuckling magpies, and mountain runoffs to support our acequias (irrigation ditches and canals), so the neighbor’s kid can help his grandfather harvest hay for cattle this summer.
You open your eyes, push off your poles, and go.