WILD WILD YES - THE TAOS STORY
The giant opened his eyes, and found himself in the back of a cab, on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Horns blaring and drivers swearing - the samoan was poking him with a straw. He felt someone had taken over his body. A second ago they had been dancing with tentacled creatures accompanied by ancient spirits chanting secrets at Meow Wolf. Now they were back in Brooklyn? The giant and samoan stared at each other. What had just happened?
The memories of Taos, New Mexico began swirling with the noises of Brooklyn. Everything was a muddled haze. "What day is it?" the giant asked the cab driver. The driver slammed on his brakes, "If you can't pay - I call the cops!" The giant searched for his wallet - somehow it was full of cash. He flashed some of it at the driver. "It's Tuesday morning - March 7th, 2017." As the operator of the cab spoke, he stomped on the gas, and their heads slammed into the partition. Fade to black.
"Happy Friday", the lot dude sang as they came to in Taos' Eagle parking lot. The giant and samoan stared at each other again - brains racing. They were back in New Mexico? The samoan’s phone said March 4th, 2017. "It's going off up there" said a local looking dude parked next to them. "That's the same dude from last Friday. Saying the same thing", whispered the samoan. They wondered if they were being Groudhog-Dayed, but that didn't make sense. To be Groundhog-Dayed you needed to be miserable, and they remembered their Taos trip clearly - they had loved every minute of it. As usual though, they were easily distracted by the call of the hill. The duo threw on their gear, and jumped on the shuttle, not noticing the person like creature with the joker hat close behind them.
As they floated over Al's Run on Chair 1 - the pair tried to figure out what was going on. They determined that the mountain had brought them back in time for a reason. They were being Back-To-The-Futured! They must examine their recent trip, and Taos history to find out why. Starting with what their eyes were seeing the famous (this is what you see 1st we told you it was steep here) Al's Run. Dr. Al Rosen was a Taos local who got most of the beginning trail-cutting and building permits for the ski area in the 1950's. He was an excellent ski instructor, who skied the last 20 years of his life with an oxygen tank - proving the choice is never to not ski - gangster status.
For those of you reading this story that didn't know that riding or skiing in New Mexico was a thing - let us explain. Taos is #wheretherockiesbegin. The resort lives in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which is in the Rockies. Sangre de Cristo means the blood of Christ. "Right away, you know this isn't a gang thing, or it would be the Blood of Bhrist or the Clood of Christ." cracks the samoan. Sorry, we know she's an idiot (sad emoji face). Anyway, this mountain range is crazy gorgeous. The Pueblo Indians foretold of the magic that would come from these hills. Taos the resort is super high and super long. The base is 9,200 ft and the summit (Kachina) is 12,481 ft - giving you 3,281 ft of v drop. I mean, they sell oxygen in the corner store. Nutso - butso.
"The West Basin Ridge is closed for the Taos Freeride Championships . Does that mean we should go drink martinis from pourons?" the giant wondered. Pourons are a beautiful glass pitcher/tea kettle like apparatus that may or may not look look like a bong/dab thangy. Taos founder Ernie Blake used to fill these pourons with martinis, and hide them in hollowed trees providing liquid courage to his shaken not stirred patrons. Thus, the pourons become the Freeride Championship trophies. "I broke mine trying to use it as a neti pot", the samoan sheepishly admitted. The pair decided instead that the mountain wanted them to repeat the past Friday, and head all the way up. Remy. They had to be careful to not to be noticed by their past selves, or bad-timey stuff would happen. After one Kachina K-Chute lap they instantly became addicted, again (when in Rome). Their quest was forgotten as the dry powdery chutes were ridden again and again.
Minds blown they didn't notice the jester-hatted-creepster watching over them from the lift. Before the Kachina lift closed they decided to do the super tiny hike (like 20 steps) to the actual summit, and ask the mountain for answers. At the summit the views are all time. Wheeler Peak is so close it's like, "Let's play boomerang!", the southern 14ers of the Colorado rockies are hanging ten in the north, and Texas is also out there doing whatever it does. Surrounding Kachina peak and the ski area is 360 degrees of protected wilderness - so you don't have to be sad when you look at it. This spot had to help them solve the mystery - it was all sorts of spiritual up there. We can't tell you what the duo did as they spoke to the mountain. It's mountain-rider confidentiality.
The samoan was awakened the next morning by a dull humming. She didn't think anything of it - probably hung over as usual. The plan was Kachina all day again, because they had done this in Saturday past. They were saving the hike-to-terrain for Monday & Tuesday, when the Freeride Championships were over.
Chutes chutes chutes! They were seriously k-ed out. Wha wha wha whomp whomp. They forgot about their convo with the mountain the day before, and once again didn’t notice the jester-hat creeping. The future duo was on the ridge headed to Cabin when the mountain decided to rebuke their forgetfulness. Kachina summoned the winds. Suddenly nothing was visible but the Highline Ridge (hike-to-terrain). “Whoa”, the giant yelled “we should hike the Highline today.” Kachina shook her head, that was a close one - she couldn't believe that the universe had chosen these morons to save the mountain spirit. Luckily the jester-hatted-creepster had been blinded, confused, and disoriented by the wind and didn’t see or hear the future duo's plan.
The Taos hum got incredibly loud after they dropped the cornice. The giant thought he was taking crazy pills, but the samoan said she heard it too. Seeking a cure, they headed to the hidden hollowed log attached to the Death Rattle Tree, and drank some of the Jim Bean. They also signed the Slayer’s Ear Book, and left some candy as a quid pro quo. “I took this last time,” said the samoan - holding up an oddly shaped piece of bark that was slightly glowing. “Should I take it again?” The universe held it’s breath. “Yeah! It seems important." the giant mused. The loud humming faded into a lull. The pair went on to slay the preserved pow. In honor of the tree - of course - the bark glowing with power and fury (No Boundaries).
That night while eating at The Love Apple in full disguise next to their past selves they discussed the resort. Maybe this isn't a mountain thing, it's like an Ernie Blake (the founder) thing. They went over what they knew - Mr. Blake was working for the Santa Fe Ski resort after WWII (where he worked for US Military Intelligence). During his spare time he went looking for his own resort. He first sited Taos ski hill from his 192 plane and then moved his wife and children to the base where they lived in a trailer. He lived for the ski school and mountain. His entire family shredded the whole hill, and did the hike to the top of Kachina before there was a lift. He put together a magical world with the help of his family and friendos to be enjoyed by all. The love of the mountain is the love of the mountain - free tacos.
The next day they hiked some more, and built up an appetite. They decided they must go to The Bavarian to look for answers, plus bratwurst is like totally good for the knees. While eating, the samoan hit up the ever fantastic erin (a local) and she came to meet them. No clues were found at The Bavarian - but bodacious food was had. Bloated to the point of stupidity, they didn't want to hike to The West Basin. As the group headed up chair 7A everything got very dark. The giant began yelling giddyup. Then he started saying giddyup over and over again. It was weird, and the samoan was embarrassed, but erin caught on, "Oh you want to go to the Wild West Glade?" "Yasssssss queen - Yassss", thought the universe, "Thank goodness for erin."
Jester-hatted-creepster was a bad alien who was in search of the enchanted bark that the samoan took from the Death Rattle Tree. The alien wanted to use the bark to transform the earth to a riderless mountainless utopia. While creeping, the alien heard of the trio's plan to hike The West Basin, and rushed into the ski patrol shack and stole a uniform. It ran up to the hike entrance, and began closing all the hike-to terrain just as the trio arrived. “Oh no", they moaned. Luckily, the universe immediately transported some real ski patrol to the top of Chair 2. “Where are you guys going?”, the real ski patrol asked. “Wild Wild West” the group pleaded. "If you can stay ahead of us - you got it". The bad alien had to go along with the real ski patrol's decision so he stepped in line. Now - the hike isn't that long, but at 11,000 and something feet after brawts and beer coming from sea level - the hike was murderous. But they couldn't stop now - the Taos hum was getting louder and louder. They strapped in rushing after erin on her skis - the ski patrol and bad alien in hot pursuit. Along the bumped up Ridge as fast as they could go. Boards came off again, and they began running as they saw bad alien fake patroller come into view. As they reached the top of Wild West the Taos hum became a roar. They sped off down the massive glades. It was magical in there. The snow was dry & radiant. It was easy to forget they were being chased, except the bad alien was there. Things were getting frantic. Kachina took a breath, and the wind backhanded the alien. A glowing tree appeared in the glades. The samoan quickly fished out the bark from her pocket, it was fluorescent and buzzing. The Taos hum was unbearable. The bark flew out of her hand, and took it's missing place in the tree. The tree got brighter and brighter and then exploded. Kachina blew, and the wind spread all of the tree pieces every which way. Making it impossible for the alien or any future ruiners of everything to capture enough of the mountain spirit to steal it.
They had done it. The mouth breathers had helped saved the mountain spirit. Incredible. The universe was relieved. It was like the confusing time travel, and bad alien incident had never occurred for the group. They were wildly giggling down Wild West. "It's so long - it's like the longest tree run ever", the samoan shouted exuberantly. "It's otherworldly, this Taos land!"
erin beamed while the giant and samoan did some ridiculous wild Wild West dance. The universe shook it's head again at these silly silly people while secretly smiling at their mountain spirt. “Let's give 'em one more day before we send em back to Brooklyn”. And it was written.
Seriously Taos - you blew our minds. Thank you ever so much for having us.