Taos Ski Valley Review
Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico is nirvana for powderhounds who love their powder light and dry, and those who adore steep white-knuckle terrain.
The appeal of the Taos ski resort is multi-factorial. Sure there’s the steep and deep, but Taos also scores highly in the unique stakes. The resort village has a strong European influence minus the glitz, whilst in the town of Taos amongst the New Mexico desert there are fabulous cultural experiences. With the combination of Hispanic and Pueblo Indian cultures, the bohemian town has lots of adobe architecture, interesting people, and novel shops.
Until March 2008 Taos Ski Valley was a sanctuary for skiers only. Now Taos ski resort warmly welcomes snowboarders, leaving only Alta ski resort
, Deer Valley ski resort
and Mad River Glen as the last bastions of ski-only resorts.
Taos Ski and Snowboard Terrain
The Taos ski terrain
is mostly suited to strong intermediates and experts, although it’s mostly renowned for the latter. Over half of the marked trails are black or double black and there are also lots of great chutes and terrifying off-piste runs. The only potential downside is that many of the runs require a hike to get to the goods. Hidalgo is only a 15 minute hike, but the Kachina Peak may take about 75 minutes, or much longer if you normally live at sea level considering the peak is at 3,804 metres (12,481 feet)! The upside of the long hikes is the fresh powder reward.
Taos lives up to its challenging reputation, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t terrain for beginners and intermediates. The only problem is that the green and blue terrain is also challenging. Beginners and intermediates need to be very enthusiastic and athletic, and be prepared to learn fast. Thankfully Taos Ski Valley has an award winning ski school and lessons are very economical. Subsequently, a huge proportion of guests participate in lessons and ski improvement weeks.
Relative to other New Mexico ski resorts
, Taos receives lots of snowfall. The average annual snowfall is 7.5 metres but the snowfall is not consistently reliable. To ensure reasonable coverage, 100% of the beginner and intermediate terrain has snowmaking. The snow that does fall is super dry thanks to the surrounding desert and the high elevation. The other plus is that the resort is uncrowded, so powderhounds don’t have to share the fresh tracks with too many other punters.
Where is Taos Ski Resort?
Taos Ski Resort is located in northern New Mexico within the southern end of the Rocky Mountains. The town of Taos is 32km (20 miles) away from Taos Ski Valley.
The major gateway airport is in Albuquerque, 2:15 hours southwest of Taos. There are shuttles from the airport to the ski area, but unless you stay on-mountain and have no intention to travel to the town of Taos, you’ll probably want to hire a car.
Taos Hotel and Taos Ski Valley Lodging Taos Ski Valley lodging
options are within the charming European village. Most of the hotels and condos are ski-in ski-out, and some offer packages that include lift tickets and ski lessons for the week. The village is compact and non-commercialised, and there is not much of a party scene.
The other option for accommodation is a Taos hotel
in the town. Taos has a larger range of accommodations and these are generally cheaper than those on-mountain. Lodgings include historic hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts, many of which feature the adobe architecture typical of the area.
Taos Accommodation Listings
Taos Ski Valley Culture
There are four generations of the Blake family at Taos ski resort, and many of them are still involved in the management of the resort. Lots of the staff are also 2nd or 3rd generation workers or long term employees, and it shows in the high quality of the service provided. Staff clearly enjoy their jobs, so it’s difficult for guests not to have a good time.
Much of the culture is also about the people that ski at Taos. With many visitors from Texas, everything is laid back and plenty of fun and you’ll need to practise your Texan lingo so that y’all will fit in.
The culture at Taos remains very ski-centric. Even two years after the ban on snowboarding was lifted, only a very small proportion of the guests were snowboarders. With many long term repeat customers, there’s the potential that Taos will continue to have a strong skiing tradition for a long time. It’s probably not intentional, but there are still some small signs of discrimination against the one stick fraternity.
Why Ski or Snowboard at Taos?
Taos provides an alternative to some of the ritzy Colorado ski resorts
. At Taos, powderhounds can enjoy the dry Rockies powder without the crowds. Taos is an impressive destination resort and combined with the nearby town, it provides a culturally interesting and novel ski holiday.
BTW, Taos is pronounced “Touse” and rhymes with house.
Taos is on the Mountain Collective Pass