Land of the Yurts: A World Apart
Yurt sweet yurt provides basic but comfortable accommodations. Photo Kitty Leaken
Land of the Yurts: A World Apart
The lower flanks of Jarosa Peak provides some nice turns for Steve Tanner. Photo Kitty Leaken
Each of the four Cumbres Pass yurts sleeps a maximum of six people (though four is far more comfortable). Pillows, mattresses and clean mattress covers are provided, as are all cooking pots, dishes, utensils and a three-burner propane stove. Water is melted from snow on the stove, so guests need to bring only food, clothing, ski gear and sleeping bags.
Trails and terrain: The Neff Mountain yurt is 2.75 miles from the trailhead — the shortest approach distance of the Cumbres yurts — with a gain of 600 vertical feet. There is some fine skiing off the north and east flanks of nearby Neff Mountain. The Flat Mountain yurt is 4.5 miles in, with a vertical gain of 1,080 feet. It offers 2,500- to 3,000-vertical-foot descents into the Chama River Valley and skiing off the high ridge running between Cumbres Pass and Wolf Creek Pass. The Trujillo Meadows yurt is 4.1 miles in, with a vertical gain of only 380 feet. This yurt is appealing to beginner and novice skiers. The Grouse Creek yurt is also 4.1 miles in, with a vertical gain of 1,000 feet.
In addition to the Cumbres Pass yurts, MacLennan also operates a double-size yurt at Bull of the Woods, accessed from Taos Ski Valley, that can accommodate 10 people. It is 2 miles in, with a steep vertical gain of 1,500 feet. Advanced and extreme skiing terrain lies just out the door. The Cumbres yurts rent for $85 per night Monday to Thursday, $100 on Friday and Sunday and $125 on Saturday. The Taos yurt is $100 per night Monday to Thursday, $125 Friday and Sunday and $145 on Saturday. For additional fees, MacLennan can also serve as your guide and cook. The season runs from late November into April. The yurts are typically booked well in advance every weekend, particularly the Bull of the Woods and Neff Mountain yurts. Most are available on short notice on weekdays. Additional details on what to bring, trail descriptions and other information is found on the company website, www.SouthwestNordicCenter.com, or by phone at 575-758-4761.
Posted: Friday, November 8, 2013 7:00 am
Updated: 3:54 pm, Mon Feb 10, 2014.
Two and a half hours north of Santa Fe lies a world apart, the realm of the southern San Juan Mountains. Here, amidst dark forests of spruce and aspen, sunlit meadows and towering peaks, is a place few people visit in summer, and even fewer visit in the depths of winter, when temperatures commonly reach below zero and snow buries the frozen land.
Scattered across this beautiful landscape are four yurts owned and operated by Doug MacLennan and his company, Southwest Nordic Adventures. The yurts, round canvas-covered structures of Mongolian origin with raised wooden floors, provide skiers with secure and comfortable refuges from which to explore this winter wilderness. Several years ago, I, photographer Kitty Leaken and Santa Fe resident Steve Tanner made a foray into this icy locale, spending two nights in the company’s Grouse Creek yurt.
Or, use your
Friday, November 8, 2013 7:00 am.
Updated: 3:54 pm.