Some People Say The Best Four Letter Word About Skiing Is “Taos.”

Big, high, dry, up in the sky: That’s Taos. Credit: Val E.

When I looked up at the main slope, I was speechless, then the words came—steep, moguls, trees. Wow. At 12,000 ft, Taos’ Mt. Kachina is close to the top of the World.

The resort is located in northern New Mexico, which one seasoned skier described as “a mix of a desert and mountains, unusual and beautiful.” The Blake family discovered, founded, developed, and an Taos Ski Resort since the mid fifties.

In 2013, new management built new lifts, hotels, and other facilities. The result is a cute, small, Euro-style village with an obvious French-Swiss touch and a huge mountain with well groomed slopes, moguls, cornices, glades, and trees almost up to the very top. Snow is quite dry there because of the altitude. Taos is a breathtaking resort in more ways than one; the town is the highest municipality in the US.

Secret Knowledge

Note single chair on left. Credit: Val E.

Kachina Peak is the highest peak reachable by a triple chair in the North American Continent.

Resort lodging options include hotels, condominiums, and bed and breakfasts. The new jewel of Taos is the luxury Hotel Blake, named for the resort founders. The interior is elegant, the restaurant is high-end, and the rental area looks like a high tech lab.

The Ernie Blake Snowsports School is one of the highest rated ski schools in North America. Ski instructing services for groups, especially for ski clubs, were quite reasonably priced.

One of the best parts, besides the slopes and snow, is super friendly employees. Ski lift operators and ski patrol people were waving and smiling like old friends. One ski resort host kindly ride with me just to introduce to the mountain.

Community

During my week stay at the resort, I talked to a few local skiers, some of them were from the 50+ category.

Here is what an expert skier, originally from Hollywood, said: “I moved to Taos after 16 years in Los Angeles in the film business. Taos is a ski town which has world class skiing and an ancient cultural heritage—one of the oldest in the US. It’s also an artist’s town and has dozens of galleries. Taos gives you access to a wider choice of restaurants and apres ski activities. It is great for couples where one doesn’t ski or who like cultural activities.”

A very confident female skier shared: “We came to live in Taos from NYC after years of skiing here. My husband doesn’t ski anymore. He wanted to retire in a friendly community with a synagogue. Now I ski Kachina peak almost every day.”

Another young looking retiree told me: “I am from St. Louis, flat country. I ski in winter and hike in summer. People come to Taos because you can be whoever you want to be, and nobody is asking questions here.”

Taos Ski Valley is a rugged mountain, pioneered by people who put skiing first and all else second. If Virginia is for lovers, then Taos is for skiers!

Taos By The Numbers

2.5 hours by car/bus from Albuquerque International airport

4 espresso bars, including one ski in, ski out

15 lifts

25 miles to Colorado

$105—one day adult ski ticket (18-64); $85—one day senior ski ticket (65-79); 80+ year old – ski free

$408 ski pass for 6 days (65-79); shorter day pass combinations are available

110 trails 55 for beginner/intermediate and 55 for advanced/expert skiers.

305 in—average annual snowfall

7,000 ft—Taos city altitude

9,207 ft—Taos Ski Resort

12,481 ft—Kachina Peak

Click here for Trail Map

Click here for Taos Ski Resort Website

Trees up to the top are a trademark of Taos. Credit: Val E.

 

2 Comments

  1. Just a warning to flat landers visiting Taos. If you fly in there is a good chance you will end up with elevation sickness particularly if you stay at the mountain base (about 9000 feet). If you drive and give yourself enough time to acclimate (or live there) there should be no issues.

  2. seth brown says:

    I came to NM as an 18 yr old college student. i skied Taos for the next 25 yrs virtually every weekend. My most important ski memories were there.
    Skiing here is a sport, not a service. It’s one of the best areas on the planet for competent, confident skiers, period…The culture, the food, green chile beer, oh yeah….I’m 65 yrs ols now with 7 combined knee operations..( no more bumps).havn’t skied there for a number of seasons; somehow, not being able to ski the hight T, etc anymore, makes my memories as a current and future cruiser all the better. God bless Taos, if you’re a “skier” it’s a must..

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