I may have a chance to ski Taos with the family in late February. I know Taos has some challenging terrain, and am wondering how suitable it is for a child who is still on green runs. I see from the trail map that lifts 1 & 5 have a green run, but they are over black terrain and may look scary-steep from the bottom, which may freak out my youngest. Any thoughts from someone who has been there whether a beginner child might find some fun terrain? He will be skiing with me, my wife or an older brother.
Taos with beginner child?
Taos has one of the best children ski school I’ve encountered. Enroll your kid in their program.
They will take good care of your kid and he/she will have a great time and so will you.
My son been in the children ski school since 5 and even today, at 16, he still likes to go there for teen week.
BTW, lift 5 is only open on Sunday & Monday morning for ski-week ski off only.
Thanks for the suggestion, but ski school won't help if he is afraid to go up the lift! He has some fear of heights and has only skied wimpy hills in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Is it true that lift 1 might be intimidating for a beginner child? Is lift 1 a modern high-speed chair with a safety bar, or an antique two-seater?
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Lift 1 is a modern 4-person chair with safety bar and foot-rests.
It does go over Al's Run, a signature steep bump run. That's why they have a "dont' panic" sign at the bottom.
The top part of White Feather under 1 is a good green run, but unfortunately the last part is a main transport route. It is wide, which mitigates the issue, but still.
For true beginners, lift 3 is a very short lift over an excellent bunny hill (not steep, well groomed, short, out of the way so it doesn't get through traffic). There are also some surface lifts, though I didn't notice what kind they are.
Looking at the map, here is what I would do for an all-green route. Now take this with a grain of salt, because I haven't been on most of these runs... And yes, many of the lifts go over scary looking terrain -- but all have safety bars, most have foot rests. In my experience, beginners like to feel like they've explored and been somewhere, rather than doing the same over and over.
Lift 1 to White Feather to Whistlesopt Cafe for potty break. (It's early in the cycle, but you aren't going to have another chance for awhile). Lift 6 to Honeysuckle to base of lift 7 to WInkelreid to Rubezahl to lunch at the base. Youur kid will be impressed when he looks at a trail map and sees he has made a circle around the whole mountain. To shorten it, stop at Phoenix Grill for lunch. The lengthen it, throw in a lift 7 or lift 4 lap. Anyway, that's my (untested) 2-cents worth.
The children ski school area is a separate area way off to the skier left of chair 1. There are couple of magic carpets there and the Rueggli lift for kids (My skis are like 2 feet off the snow when I ride on the chair. Also chair 3 (Strawberry hill) is another slow beginner lift.
Chair 1 is a fixed grip quad chair with a safety bar. There are no high speed chairs at Taos. Once you been there you’ll figure out the reason for their absence.
The area service by chair 8 (fixed grip quad with safety bar and foot rest) is also a great beginner section. Lower Stauffy & Firlefanz are both great cruisers with only a slight steeper section at the end just before the lift. The most dangerous section of the mountain IMO is the lower section of White Feather (catwalk) where everyone trucks down to get to lift 1. Good reason to stay up on chair 8.
BTW, most of the black runs @ Taos require a distinct effort to get into and are generally not visible from the overlooking blues & greens.
Still think ski school is the best way to go for the kids. Also the adult ski week is one of the best thing going in TSV.
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My $0.02 that I posted in the other (duplicate) thread:
Taos has very few green runs and those they do are typically pretty crowded, narrow, and often icy (i.e. Whitefeather).
However, there are some wide blues that most kids would have no issues with (Bambi, etc). Even these runs tend to get small moguls on occasion which can freak out the uninitiated, but they're far from treacherous and really a great opportunity go gain confidence and skill :-) My personal opinion is that these blues are much safe than the greens.
Taos can appear to be a daunting mountain to inexperienced skiers because from the bottom of the base you're looking straight up Al's Run and Snakedance. However once you get up, it's amazing.
This being said, in my experience, kids are pretty oblivious to this stuff and much more adventurous than adults. Great mountain...with great instructors if ski school is an option.
FWIW, I first skied there at the age of 3 (36 years ago) and my 2 kids and nephews all learned to ski there. It is far from groomer heaven, but a great place to learn to ski and the overall vibe is very chill and New Mexico all the way.