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Taos vs. Durango (Purgatory): which is more fun?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey guys. I recently moved to Albuquerque. My Dad, who has been skiing for ages, and my stepmom (beginner/lower-intermediate) are visiting my wife (solid/upper intermediate) and I in mid January. We're planning on going to either Durango or Taos over the weekend while they're here, but can't decide on which one. Will someone here who has experience with both tell me about the pros and cons of each area. Any input is appreciated, but I'm really interested in steep runs that aren't too terribly moguley (bad knees), the shortest lines and/or fastest lifts, and which place is more likely to have plenty of snow by mid January. My step mom would also appreciate a 'cute' town for shopping/apres ski, but this is of course a lesser priority since the other three of us are only interested in skiing.

Thanks for the input
post #2 of 14
IMO the skiing experience at Taos is far better than at DMR. Both towns are fun, but Taos is more unique. Taos is the right choice unless there is a big difference in conditions.
post #3 of 14
Taos has great steeps with few(er) moguls if you are willing to hike a bit. (but these are not groomed mind you) Despite their reputation, there are also lots of intermediate runs too. Not too sure about real beginner terrain though. The town of Taos is full of lots of things to do besides the usual shopping and spa-ing. Museums, Pueblo, etc.

Durango might have better lifts and more easy terrain, but i personally find it a boring mountain because the runs are pretty similar whereas Taos has more idosyncratic runs - if that makes sense.

You might try the site noted on the trail rating thread: http://www.3dskimaps.com

It shows taos but unfortunately not durango.

If by steeps without bumps you mean groomed steeps, hmmm. Maybe Taos is not such a good bet. Ultimately, you should watch where the snow flies.
post #4 of 14
Go to Taos. Purgatory is not a mountain but long benched ridge. It has no sustained steep pitches. The steeper the pitch the longer the flat until the next one. And there is a lot of flat. It has lots of easy cruisers, but not much else. It also envolves a considerable amount of walking on your skis to get from one part of the mountain to the other. The main intermediate lift requires walking or skating uphill to get to its base every run. They actually have a run named "Walk-a- Lot."

Taos has a better variety of terrain and you do not ever have to walk. Both Durango and Taos offer a historic setting and lots of restaurants and shopping, with Taos winning on the charm factor.
post #5 of 14
for some steep groomed slopes (normally black diamonds), how about Telluride - it's only 90 miles from Durango, but instead, take 550 to Bloomfield, go west to Shiprock, then north to Cortez (I believe the highway has been renumbered to 494 instead of the infamous 666). Tride normally grooms one or two of the front side runs.
post #6 of 14

You could mix it up a bit by going to Angel Fire. Leave Mom in Taos.. unless you want to stop in Red River for dinner on the way back. I'd recommend doing that.
post #7 of 14
No question Taos has the more interesting terrain (by far) and also the more interesting town than Durango.

BUT you will need an above average snow year for adequate coverage of Taos steeps in mid-January. For your group, I agree with the suggestion that Telluride is a better choice than either.
post #8 of 14
Keep in mind that T-ride is a MUCH longer drive from Albuquerque than Taos. (6 1/2 hours vs 2 1/2). Unless the drought continues (ouch!) go with Taos. T-ride has very, very good beginner terrain and steeps as mentioned. But it too can be iffy on snow. Unless there is a huge difference, IMO, it's not worth the extra 8 hours rt of driving in winter conditions.
post #9 of 14
Your stepmother will be severely traumatized by the terrain at Taos and may never ski again. She should enjoy the shops though.
post #10 of 14
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
Your stepmother will be severely traumatized by the terrain at Taos and may never ski again. She should enjoy the shops though.
I don't recall any green runs in Taos with the exception of the catwalks. Try going to Angel Fire the first day and if she can ski most of the runs there then bring her to Taos. If she has problems with AF's blue runs do not take her to Taos.
post #11 of 14
You could do Durango.

The town of Durango (good college town with nice core) is where you should stay - 45 min from mountain.

Skiing at Durango is mostly groomed stair-stepped terrain down 1500-2000 vert with 2 High-Speed lifts. Few bump areas. Not quite steep cruisin' though. It's a nice local area.
post #12 of 14
Telerod is right, I definitely overlooked your mother-in-law in my recommendation of Taos. If you want the best super easy terrain you can't beat Telluride. Lift 10 has some of the longest flatest runs you will ever see. Purgatory is very tough on real beginners because if you aren't carrying a lot of speed you end up walking in quite a few places, plus they built townhomes on the bottom beginner hill over the summer and eliminated a prime green run. Taos has lots of blue runs but not the real green stuff your MIL will need. The only problem is that DMR is about 4 hrs. from Albq. and it is at least another 1.5-2 hrs. to T-ride.
post #13 of 14
Agreed with the above posters. Taos is a tough mountain for beginners. But, the food and atmosphere make it an awesome place to ski.

Telluride is head and shoulders above Durango for terrain. If you head out west from Albuquerque, you can avoid the mountain passes and make a quicker trip of it.
post #14 of 14
In regards to the Angel Fire suggestion. Keep in Mind that there can be drastically different snow conditions between AF and Taos and even Red River because of the elevation difference. Good snow at Taos or Red River does not mean good snow at AF. If the snow is equal, Taos is head and shoulders above Durango.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Taos vs. Durango (Purgatory): which is more fun?