A matter of altitude

On Saturday afternoon I played tennis outdoors and went skiing. Only in Santa Fe, I might add. The tennis courts sit on Old Taos Road, where the radio towers that mark the location of the ski mountain are visible 16 miles and 2,500 feet in elevation away. The winter sun, still strong even at its weakest angle, heats the town to over 50F degrees by noon and makes possible a quick tennis match. The same sun divides the ski runs into shadow and light, and warms the long, slow chair lift up the mountain. Lack of snow this year has allowed only the lower mountain to open, though the bright, balmy days have moved up spring skiing to January. More snow is forecast for tonight and tomorrow, and all skiers hope to wake to a white-shrouded world in the morning. But the last few weeks of unchallenged blue sky and sun -- and tennis and skiing in the same day -- have their appeal too.