I had written off Taos Ski Valley because of where it was located. Considering how far south it is, I was skeptical of the terrain and conditions in New Mexico. Let me tell you how completely wrong I was about this resort.
Taos is the most like the east coast of all the western mountains we have ridden. They have variable terrain, which could pose a problem for the beginner skier. Remember, we were told conditions were the best they had ever seen, and there were still quite a few exposed obstacles.
Their advanced terrain is some of the steepest, toughest skiing I have ever experienced. I was primarily at Taos to participate in a PSIA (professional ski instructors of America) Tricks in the Trees clinic. There was no easy way into this training as all the trees were quite advanced, especially in the upper mountain.
The peak is a must-see; it is only accessible from the Kachina chair lift and only has advanced terrain. Once you are at the top, take a quick hike up to the peak. You will likely see some Big Horn Sheep thriving in their mountain habitat.
One current downfall of the resort is that the base area only has one direct lift to take you up and over to your other lift options. If Lift 1 closes due to weather, but the other lifts remain open, you either have to drive around to the back of the mountain or already be up the mountain. They plan to put a gondola on the back side of the base area, but it is a bottleneck, especially for the first chairs in the morning.
The village is quaint and cute and has your basics; restaurants, ice skating, and stores. The Apres was super fun. They had a bubble machine, fire pits, and a lively crowd.
Their pricing and food options were amazing for a ski resort.
Tenderfoot Katie's Food Court: They had some of the best food pricing I have seen at a resort. A hotdog with fries was only $8, which is unheard of!
Whistlestop Cafe: The perfect mid-mountain break for a quick snack and water. The perk was them having a DJ outside so you could start your Apres half day.
Black Diamond Espresso is an amazing breakfast cafe facing Lift 1. It had the best mocha I have ever had, and while you wait for the lifts to open, you can relax by the fire with your breakfast. Such an amazing experience.
Parking is limited at the resort, so it is important to get there early. Early, before the lifts open. There are copious amounts of free parking, which they guide you to. It is so easy to get dressed in your car and hop on their shuttle, which will pull up next to your car and drive you to the base area.
Paid parking is limited and was around $40 for the day if you choose to do that. When we went, they didn't even let us go to paid parking, so I can't speak on whether the price tag is worth it, especially since free parking was so convenient and easy.
There are a couple of places to stay around the resort; however, they are not budget conscious. When I think of staying somewhere for two nights, I only want to pay $300.
We found this adorable AirBnb, which gave off the New Mexico vibes from the archways to the color scheme. It had a full kitchen which was great for cutting costs on dinner. They were outstanding hosts and even went out of a way to give you options for exploring places. Their link is below.
To Ski Taos, New Mexico: Best Skiing and Snowboarding in New Mexico - Taos Ski Valley, SkiTaos.com
To our Airbnb