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Taos Ski Valley

 

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Trail Map
Trail Map
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Conditions


Average Annual Snowfall: 265" 
 
 

Transportation
Transportation
AIR TRANSPORTATION

 

Albuquerque International Sunport
Airlines operating from Albuquerque include American, Continental, Delta, Frontier, Great Lakes, New Mexico Airlines, Southwest, United and US Air.

 

Santa Fe Airport
Airlines operating from Santa Fe include American Eagle.

 

Denver International Airport

Airlines operating from Denver include Aeromexico,Air Canada, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Continental, Delta Airlines, Frontier, Great Lakes, JetBlue Airways, Lufthansa, Mexicana, Midwest, Southwest, United and US Airways.

 

Colorado Springs Airport

Airlines operating from Colorado Springs include Allegiant, American, Continental, Delta, Frontier and United.

 

LOCAL TRANSPORTATION
 
 
 
 

Lodging
Lodging
 
Name Description Maximum Occupancy Price Range

Edelweiss Lodge & Spa

 

 

 

 

 

Spacious 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom condominiums are all beautifully appointed with unbeatable views.  Stay in luxury and enjoy the exercise room, outdoor hot tub, cedar sauna, or one of many exceptional day spa services including Balinese massage, hot rocks therapy, facials and body scrubs.

 

 

Extra person charges may apply

 

 

 

$175 and up

 

 

 

 

Powderhorn Suites & Condominiums

 

 

The Powderhorn offers suites, condominiums and hotel rooms with fireplaces, scenic balconies, kitchens, Jacuzzi room, and more.  Amenities include Internet access, hot tub and sauna.
 

Extra person charges may apply

 

$164 and up

 

 

Amizette Inn B&B & Restaurant

 

 

Convenient location offering complimentary breakfast, Internet access and a hot tub. 

 

 

Extra person charges may apply

$79 and up 

 

       
       

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Dining

 

Dragonfly Cafe

 

The Love Apple

 

Taos Pizza Out Back | 575 758 3112 | 712 Paseo del Pueblo Norte (main drag) great funky place with super pizza

 

Lambert's located at 309 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur Taos, NM 87571

 

REAL ESTATE
 
 
 
DEALS
 
 
 
WHAT'S NEW
 
 
 
ACTIVITIES
 
 
 
Sagebrush Inn in town has a great, old cowboy bar and on many weekend nights in season (check first) western swing music that attracts professional level local and not local dancers. It is full of atmosphere and a hoot to watch.
 
SERVICES

 

Rental Equipment Rates


Lesson Rates

 

GOOD, BETTER, BEST
 
 

 

Taos Ski Valley
Description:

Taos Ski Valley is one of the gems of North American skiing, with a stunning mountain setting in Northern New Mexico. Although it has a reputation as an experts-only destination, Taos is an ideal choice for any skier serious about improving technique. Taos offers solitude, remarkable natural beauty and bone dry powder in abundance. This season Taos will welcome snowboarders for the first time.

Details:
DetailValue
Snow making percent49%
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Magic carpet
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Rope tow3
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Poma
Lifts-Surface Lifts-T bar
Lifts-Surface Lifts-J bar
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Single
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Double5
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Triple1
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Quad4
Lifts-Chair Lifts-High speed quad
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Five person
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Six person
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Eight person
Lifts-Gondola
Lifts-Tram
Lifts-Coggle train
Lifts-Funicular
Lifts-Other
Lifts-Total number of lifts13
Lifts-Total lift capacity15,000/hr.
Trails-1-Beginner24%
Trails-2-Intermediate25%
Trails-3-Advanced
Trails-4-Expert only51%
Trails-5-Terrain park1
Trails-6-Half pipe
Trails-Total110
Runs-Steepest run
Runs-Longest run
General-Base elevation9207'
General-Vertical drop2612'
General-Owner
General-Mountain range
General-Annual skier visits
General-Back country access
General-Total area in bounds1294 acres
General-Snow making coverage
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Posted

Pros: Challenging terrain, great vibe, excellent ski school

Cons: Sometimes it doesn't snow as much as it needs to.

 

I first visited TSV in 1970. I was going to school in Denver and flew down to Santa Fe, where I hitchhiked up to Taos to meet my family. I scored a great ride through the Rio Grande canyon from Velarde to Ranchos with a fairly young Hispanic guy in an old pickup who, as it turned out, was the deputy sheriff of Taos County. My first clue that I had entered a parallel world was when this guy offered to share his aromatherapy materials with me. But that's a whole other story... 

 

I can pinpoint the location and time when I fell in love with New Mexico, It was later that day while driving through Arroyo Seco, taking those two slow windy turns on what was still a gravel road, seeing those old adobes and cottonwoods in the foreground and snow-covered Pueblo Peak in the brilliant blue background, and getting a strong, clear message that this was a place that operated along different lines than most other parts of the U.S.  

 

I eventually moved to northern New Mexico and spent most of my adult life there, I skied Taos as much as possible, and it became my favorite area. 

 

The area, like Northern New Mexico in general, has something of a quirky, iconoclastic feel. It's a true skiers mountain, but they all say that, I guess. People come here to ski and tend to stay. A fair number of the lifties are non-skiing locals who have worked at the area for years, sometime decades. There’s continuity among the people who work and ski here that is sometimes missing in other resorts.  

 

The trail names alone could fuel an entire episode of Jeopardy (“I’ll take the Mexican Revolution for $500, Alex”….oh, wait, how about ‘Operation Valkyrie’ co-conspirators for $1000”?).  And the trails behind the names never cease to challenge. 

 

Some days at Taos will be all about working on steep-skiing or firm-snow skills. If it hasn't snowed for a couple of weeks, the hard misshapen bumps on Rhodas or the double fall line on Reforma will conspire to throw you into the trees. You will find every rock in Hunzikers, Longhorn, and El Funko. And the wind will funnel relentlessly up through the West Basin when you are trying, unsuccessfully, to just cruise mindlessly on firm and unforgiving snow. 

 

But some days will set you up with memories that will stay with you for a lifetime.  You will find multiple untouched stashes in the trees. You’ll be there when the patrol opens the entrance to the Bambi Chutes or to the ridge. Or you’ll finally get every turn just right on Lorelei. 

 

The ski school here is superb, at least in my experience. The whole approach to skiing seems to be more mountain-specific and tactics-driven than at any other area I’ve visited. In other words, the emphasis here is on whatever works for the steep, narrow, bumpy terrain of Taos, rather than on some blending of generic skills.  

 

If you visit Taos and you have the luxury of holding back as long as possible until firming up your plans, try to ensure that the mountain is reporting at least 6 or 7 feet of settled base. In my experience this is magic number at which the entire mountain can be skied without too much worry about rocks.

Posted

Pros: A worthy choice at 40 inches.

Cons: Not enough racing. A minor irritant for parkies, there is no pipe.

My overall rating of Taos leaves out one star. And that star represents snowfall. The one element the revered Mr. Blake did not anticipate was global warming. When he flew over the Sangre de Cristo's in the late 40's, the years were blessedly wet. Weather patterns have been unkind to skiers of the southern Rocky Mountains for the last two years. If one goes to SNOTEL at the NRCS website and tinkers with map records of winter precip over the past roughly 15 years, one will notice, however, that the Sangre de Cristos have not fared any worse than Colorado's big name resorts along the I-70 corridor. An example: during the horrible year of 2012-2013, Taos actually had more snowfall than most Colorado resorts. This current season, snow depth was superior to the likes of Breckenridge and Vail up until late March. These SNOTEL records graphically reveal small scale circulation patterns explaining why little ski areas like Wolf Creek Pass or Grand Targee get dumped while Telluride and Jackson Hole get skunked. Taos sits at the edge of one of these small scale circulation patterns. Sometimes (but not always) storm circulation draws warm air from the Sonoran desert up the shoulders of the Sangre de Cristos and a few more inches of snow falls. It is, in a sense, similar in microclimate to the Carinthian Alps, a region that can have very decent snow when the Haute Savoie has doodly.

 

All this being said, I assert that Taos is worthy of attention at 30 inches of cover. I say this after a horrible season (2012-13) of tolerating machine made snow in Colorado. What Colo. resorts can do with snow guns is miraculous. Colorado mountains, between November 15 and December 24 roar at night ... incessantly. Mile upon square mile of forbidding grayness transformed overnight into white wonderland. Colorado resorts are so good at this that they can actually make more money during a snow drought than they can if there are snow storms. If there is less than 30 inches of snow in the west and you simply have to ski ... go to Colorado.

 

Taos runs a close second, however. Colorado snow guns are miraculous. Taos snow guns are an art form (in keeping with the Pueblo far below). There is just barely enough available water runoff to use during the early winter. What management must also balance is the high cost of compressed air against limited skier numbers (as mentioned by other reviewers, there are no lift lines). The last part a snow gun artist must consider is terrain. This is where the Taos canvas comes alive. But there are several aspects to consider.

 

Of course, there is the original art of Mr. Blake et al, which runs toward Expressionism. The terrain most often praised in reviews is the petrifyingly steep. But the gentler slopes have equal merit. They are snow catchers. They also have little steep options that keep them interesting. Taos is cursed with certain unavoidable cat tracks, zones of blessedly short characterless links. They funnel traffic. They are irritating for experts to negotiate. They are equally irritating for novices. But, as said, they are blessedly short. They are not nearly as irritating as the miles of runout found at most Colorado resorts. Between the cat tracks at Taos are fascinatingly complex bowls of moderate steepness capable of gathering snow - top to bottom. And on both sides of the mountain as well.

 

The art I find most worthy of discussion today, however,  is what I would label Post - Modernist Landscape Mannerism - the combined use of snowgun and snowcat to alter reality and transform consciousness. Taos guns put snow in fascinatingly unexpected places, at spots unusually steep - thus eliminating scratchy sections of bump runs. Enough drifts down to the flats so that it can be distributed over the cat tracks. Cat drivers do so on a daily basis without touching the soil of the mountain and distributing little rocks all over the hill (as I have often seen in Colorado). With no more than 20 inches of natural snow, I have had very good days of skiing at Taos.

 

In a period of snow drought, I believe Taos is worthy of consideration as a destination resort. At 40 inches, it is second to none. At 60, Taos is hard ski area to match - at least in the U.S.

 

As for beginner terrain, previous reviewers have a legitimate complaint. There is just barely enough. A new beginner area called "Pioneer" attempts to address this issue. I would say that it is only a partial success. There's just not enough consistently gentle terrain at the base ... or for that matter, anywhere on the mountain. This absence of adequate learning terrain will be an eternal issue here, but it should not deter families. The ski school compensates by being extra-thorough on the basics. Transitions a beginner must negotiate are major as they go from one lift to the next. What I notice as an instructor is that the staff here communicates well amongst themselves (resulting in excellent homogeneous groupings of students) and they seem to have an unusual enthusiasm for the sport. At other ski schools an instructor is expected to be an entertainer. A children's class is considered daycare. At this place, however, if a young skier intends to join other family members on the upper mountain, it is one of those major benchmark events in life ... like getting accepted to Rice or Brandeis, like scoring a TD for Lubbock HS. The kid had better have all the basics down. This is the approach that the ski school takes. It is the only ski school where I have ever seen young people hike with their instructor not only to side areas but to genuinely out of area zones. I have spent one year on the staff there and I hope to be able to keep up for one more!

Posted

Pros: Tree skiing, out of the mainstream. Own vibe.

Cons: Lack of snow at times. Little night life. Limited intermediate terrain.

Great terrain for experts! Laid back vibe with plenty of good food at the base and so compact! Everything is close. Everything; dining drinks lift tickets, lodging, etcetera. A place for the true expert. Martini trees! A unique ski area.

Posted

Pros: best in NM, steeps

Cons: simply not enough snow, lift lines, attitude

256" is just not enough for this resort because it is so rocky.  Because of the lack of snow and crowds (and possibly also it's southern location) it gets crusty pretty fast. 

 

I'm sure it's amazing on a big powder day but they just rarely get those. 

 

One of the reviews on here says that the mountain needs 7 feet (84") before you ski it.  But the average MAXIMUM depth is only 96".  In the two years that I skied there 10/11 and 11/12 I wouldn't be surprised if it ever got over 84". 

Posted

Pros: Great weather, fantastic terrain, world-class ski school

Cons: Thin snowpack at times

I have skied Taos Ski Valley http://skitaos.org/ as my home resort for the past 8 years.  Growing up I had heard of TSV as being a great ski hill.  What an understatement. The place is spectacular.

 

One can easily stay in the city of Taos, or at the Ski Valley 20 minutes north of town. In town there is a thriving art scene and strong presence of American Indian culture and heritage.  It is a very low-key, laid-back sort of place loaded with good restaurants.  Try Guadalajara grill guadalajaragrilltaos.com/ for some great food.

 

When you arrive at the Ski Valley there is ample FREE parking and free shuttles that take you right to the base area.  The hill looks steep and scary for some at this point but don't worry, there are plenty of acres for beginners and intermediates slightly out of site to the west and on the back side of the hill.

 

The Ernie Blake Ski School is well known as being one of the best in the nation.  My 4 year old niece takes lessons each time she is there and is progressing well.  They also have 99 dollar Ski Weeks in January.  6 days of 2 hour lessons for 99 bucks.  Well worth it.

 

The expert terrain at TSV is some of the best I have ever seen.  Some is lift served and much is available after an easy 15 minute hike.

 

There is a notion that 70 inches of base is what TSV needs to be in full operation.  Not true.  TSV is a high alpine environment and the wind puts snow wherever it wants.  Even in heavy snowfall years, rocks can be found.  Often there is great skiing at TSV with a 40-50 inch snowpack.  I will never again "wait" for 70 inches, too many great days missed that way.

 

For a nice long hike try to summit Kachina.

 

Its an hour or more of mostly boot pack with some steep icy sections. The skiing on the way down can be Epic, especially if you drop in above Hunziker as the red line in the above pic shows.

 

The terrain park at TSV is not very large or well developed.  Perhaps because the entire place is a REAL terrain park.

 

TSV.  Very unique in the age of mega resorts.  Perfect just the way it is.

 

 

 

Posted

Pros: Challenging Terrain, affordable in town lodging, ski school

Cons: Mediocre beginner terrain, slope-side lodging is way overpriced.

I've lived in SE Texas for the last few years and have made it a habit to make it out to Taos when I want a weekend ski getaway without the Summit County hassle/price tag. I usually stay in the town of Taos because I find the slope-side lodging is a poor value - shoddy rooms for crazy high prices. Good lodging deals can be found in town though (just google Taos Powder to pillow to get an idea). If you do stay in town, the drive into the valley is only 30 minutes or so and the road is well maintained. Scared of driving in winter conditions? The town runs a shuttle into the valley that costs something to the tune of fifty cents. Just ask your hotel front desk where to catch it nearby. The mountain has great diamond terrain - chutes, glades, etc.. It keeps this expert skier occupied all day for several days. I typically don't waste my time on the ridge; despite the pretty views, the runs are very short and aren't worth the long hike up. The beginner terrain is limited in both quantity and quality (per my fiancé), but this is a moot point because they have a *Top Notch* ski school that will have you on the blues and beyond in no time. The valley also has great slope-side dining options and great gear shops for any last minute items you may need. I had my boots fitted slope-side at TSV Bootfitters and I would highly recommend these knowledgeable folks to anyone looking for a new pair of boots. Overall, I enjoy Taos every time I want a quick getaway for a reasonable price and I believe this is a ski area that should be on everybody's bucket list. wink.gif