Taos

New Mexico, USA

Taos Ski Valley is a fantastic ski resort, rich in Native American culture, & with challenging terrain for the whole family. Located in New Mexico, it's a relatively unknown ski area, perfect for those who love light and dry powder snow, a distinct lack of crowds, and a small-town ski resort vibe (with a hint of European influence). The terrain itself is anything but small, with fantastic heart-racing trails, hike-to double black runs, and plenty of options for intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Add to this the small town of Taos, with incredible Native American history, and you have a wonderful ski vacation option for individuals and families alike.

Scout Loves

  • Nice compact base area
  • Rich Native American history and culture to explore
  • Feels like a small family ski resort, but with fantastic facilities & amenities
  • Plenty of advanced terrain for expert skiers

Scout Tips

  • Ski lessons are highly recommended (Ski Week is a popular choice)
  • Lunch at the Bavarian Lodge is a must! It feels like you've been transported to Germany.
  • Make sure you head to the historic town of Taos, with cute adobe mud brick buildings.
  • Taos is part of the Mountain Collective.

Scout Review

Taos Ski Valley is definitely a unique ski resort, bursting at the seams with incredible terrain and local history. Until 2008, skiers were only permitted at the resort, with snowboarders now allowed to enjoy all Taos has to offer. It's a great little resort area, much smaller than others in the USA, so it has a wonderful small family hill vibe, but with superior facilities and services. We love that the resort is home to many generations of families, so you'll interact with many members of the same family throughout your stay - from the lift ticket office and cafes, to the noticably experienced lift operators (a vast difference from the fresh-faced young guns at the larger resorts in North America). Taos Ski Valley is also well-known for its commitment to environmental awareness and joint economic efforts with the local community.

The terrain has some fantastic snow conditions, with some of the best terrain in North America. Kachina Peak is a must-ski, with nice steep chutes and open bowls, allowing you to fully experience the New Mexico powder snow. A short bootpack up to the Highland Ridge (for those feeling energetic) is well worth the rewards. The designated first timers area is top notch and away from the other trails, where skiers and snowboarders hoon by.

The base area is nice and compact, with great facilities all within walking distance, and a few good restaurants and bars in the central village. You'll notice a European feel to the resort area, with restaurants like the Bavarian Lodge transporting you to Germany, offering fantastic lunch and beer options for your mid-ski fuel up. The Blake hotel is a fantastic new addition to Taos Ski Valley, with an unbeatable location. You can't go past the Rathskeller Bar, for a nice and cosy lounge with fireplace and live music. 

A side trip to the historic town of Taos is a must! Adobe mud brick buildings line the street with a strong Native American arts and culture scene. The Taos Pueblo is an incredible experience as well - the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the continental US - built more than 1000 years ago and a designated UN First Living World Heritage Site. Great for families and those wanting to learn more about Native American culture.

Taos Ski Valley is full of surprises, and perfect for those wanting to add a little culture to their ski vacation.

Taos Skiing

If you're looking for some new and exciting terrain to explore, Taos Ski Valley delivers. Boasting super fun steep groomers, great fall line skiing, and lots of black and double black trails to keep even the most advanced skier happy for days on end, Taos has gained a reputation as having lots of steep expert terrain. Alongside this, is the snow - and lots of it!. An average snowfall of 7.5 metres combined with the steep pitch of the majority of runs creates fantastic conditions for powder skiing. 

There are plenty of trails suited to beginner through intermediate, with almost half of the resort made up of blue and green runs. There is a great bunny area right near the base of the resort which is ideal for those starting out, with gentle slopes and no crowds. The trails are super long, so provides great opportunities for learning and progression. Upper mountain trails and the long steep fall line groomers are perfect for intermediate skiers, and the NASTAR race course is a popular hit, offering racing runs for only $1 a turn. 

The majority of the black runs are Taos are non-groomed, so expert skiers can expect some challenging moguls. Taos has some great hike-to terrain, with the notion that the further you hike the better the freshies will be. The Highline Ridge offers some short and steep powder lines, whereas Kachina Peak boasts great open bowl skiing and natural features such as spines and cliff-drops. There are a few double clack tree runs including the Castor and Lorelei Trees, however, most of Taos isn't gladed, despite having a vast amount of terrain below tree-line.

Expect no lift lines at Taos. The resort has a mix of chairlifts, all mainly slow running, however, the distinct lack of crowds means you're not in any hurry to get to the top and fight for freshies. Taos is home to great dry powder snow, and being higher in elevation and north-facing, the snow quality is particularly good and sticks around longer.

Taos For Families

The facilities and services at Taos are well developed, and families can expect exceptional customer service. There is a great family culture at the resort, with many generations of local families working at Taos. The mountain is home to simple but great eateries, with many options for families on and off the slopes.

The Kingerkäfig Children's Centre offers full day nursery and childcare for kids aged 6 weeks and above. They incorporate a good mix of indoor activities and snow play. The Earnie Black Ski School is an award-winning service, with highly experience instructors that have over 20 years experience providing coaching, and know the terrain at Taos really well. Half and full-day lessons and group/private lessons are available, and the Ski Weeks are a popular choice for visitors to hit the slopes with like-minded skiers and receive instruction along the way. A Burton Learn to Ride Centre is also available for snowboard lessons and programs.

The learning area for kids is next to the ski school in a separate zone away from the more advanced skiers, but a bit of a walk from the main base of the resort. Taos is a great spot for kids who are confident in taking the next step in their skiing and hitting some more advanced slopes, as there is a distinct gap between the runs suited to novice skiers and the steep green runs further up the mountain.

The resort has great facilities in terms of rentals, retail shops, medical services, and repair / tuning services. Taos Ski Valley has a small tubing area for the kids, and a teen centre where the kids can hang out and play video games. Snowmobile tours are also a good family activity.

Taos Accommodation

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There are plenty of options to choose from for lodging at Taos Ski Valley. Both the village at the resort area and the town of Taos have good accommodation, ranging from hotels, lodges, and condo complexes. At Taos Ski Valley, most of the lodging is ski-in/ski-out or incredibly close to the slopes, so very convenient for families. The village has a great European vibe, but a quiet nightlife, and is popular with families where access to the slopes is top priority. The Blake is a brand new hotel at the base of the resort, with an unbeatable location next to the slopes.

The town of Taos offers more in the way of culture, restaurants, bars, shops and galleries. Lodging is available for a wide range of budgets, and great value for money. Being a former Spanish settlement and with a wonderful Native American culture, most of the lodging has intriguing architecture, and this follows throughout downtown Taos. More economical options are available on the outskirts of town (about a 5 minute drive) and between the resort and the town of Taos.

Resort Activities

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Taos Ski Valley has a great tubing park for the kids, which will keep them entertained well into the afternoon.

Outside the resort, a visit to the Taos Pueblo is a highlight - the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the US, founded almost 1000 yeares ago by the Pueblo Indians. It's a UN First Living World Heritage Site due to it's unique history and architecture. A fantastic place for the whole family to learn some Native American history, and only located a few minutes out of town.

Hot ballooning, and snowmobiling is also popular for visitors to Taos.

Getting There and Around

Taos Ski Valley is located in New Mexico, right at the southern end of the Rocky Mountains. The resort itself is roughly 32kms from the town of Taos.

The Taos Airport is small and caters primarily to charter flights. Albuquerque is the major gateway airport for Taos, with shuttle from the airport to the ski area running daily (once per day). Private transfers are a good option and they run from any airport to Taos or the resort.

Car rental is a good idea for those heading to Taos, as it provides easier access between the ski resort and the town. The shuttle services (public bus) aren't that established and limited throughout the day. It's only a 25 minute drive from the resort to Taos, with a gentle car ride and very well looked after roads (no steep pitches and well ploughed).

When To Go

The Taos Ski Valley season runs from mid-November through to the start of April, conditions permitting. The best time to visit Taos is January and February, when snowfall is at its peak (just be aware it can get bitterly cold during these months).

Facts & Figures

Mountain Information   Lifts   Terrain    
Base Elevation 9200ft / 2806m Gondolas 1 Beginner 24%  
Summit Elevation 12480ft / 3804m Express Quads 0 Intermediates 25%  
Vertical Drop 3270ft / 997m Quad Chair 4 Advanced 33%  
Skiable Area 1200ac / 524ha Triple Chairs 3 Expert 18%  
Annual Snowfall 300in / 7.5m Double Chairs 2      
Longest Run 4.9 miles / 8.0km Surface Lifts 3      
Operating Hours 8:30am – 4.00pm          
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