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Taos

Swiss bliss, Spanish spice and native American ancestry meet and mingle in Taos. The glue that binds it together? Quiet slopes, truly formidable expert terrain and lots of dry Rockies powder. Taos lives and breathes skiing and wasn’t “manufactured for the masses”. If you’re after high-tech holidaying look elsewhere, but for rugged perfection, you won’t find better.

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

At a glance: • Snowsure • Rustic charm • Award winning ski school

Great for: • Experts • Off piste • Quiet ski holiday

Swiss bliss, Spanish spice and native American ancestry meet and mingle in Taos. The glue that binds it together? Quiet slopes, truly formidable expert terrain and lots of dry Rockies powder. Taos lives and breathes skiing and wasn’t “manufactured for the masses”. If you’re after high-tech holidaying look elsewhere, but for rugged perfection, you won’t find better.

Taos Resort

Everything about Taos, apart from the name (it’s pronounced like “house” with a T), sounds lusciously Hispanic. Set in New Mexico’s Sangre De Cristo Mountain range, beneath 12481ft Kachina Peak, and 18 miles from an old Spanish pueblo from 1540.

The ski resort, in fact, was founded back in 1955 by not-so-Spanish Ernie Blake and his wife, Rhoda. A tough man for a tough mountain, Ernie had been an interrogator of German war criminals and a suspected spy by turns. The couple lived in an 11ft camper and without electricity for decades, pouring their heart and soul into the hills. Today this home-grown feel can still be appreciated in the European style ski village, and many of its staff are in fact second or third generation descendants of Ernie and Rhoda.

A reflection of its history, the town of Taos just 25 minutes down the valley is a melting pot of influences; Hispanic, European and Native American. Many choose to stay here and commute to the slopes, as it has more and cheaper hotels, a thriving art scene and livelier nightlife than the mountain village, which compensates with ski-in/ski-out access. Staff clearly enjoy their work at both, and it shows in the friendly service.

The warm welcome, unique cultural experience and formidable terrain make many ardently passionate about Taos. They’ll tell you it’s well worth the trip to get there. We’re inclined to agree.

Stats & FAQ

Location: New Mexico, USA

Established: 1954

Open: December - April

Downhill: 1294 acres / 110 runs

View our detailed Taos snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Taos snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ)155 miles, 3 hours
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 24%

  • 25%

  • 41%

Top Altitude:12481ft / 3804m
Bottom Altitude:9200ft / 2805m
Resort Altitude:9200ft / 2805m
Longest run:8km
Slope Orientation:N E W
Vertical Drop:3281 feet / 997 meters
Skiable Vertical:
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:No

Snow Report

  • Top
  • 3cm
  • Base
  • 36cm
  • Forecast
  • 71cm

Web Cam

Taos web cams
Downhill Runs:1294 acres / 110 runs
Beginner slopes:24%
Intermediate:25%
Advanced slopes:41%
Lift Pass Price: $98 (single day adult pass)
Nearby resorts:

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Taos

Over half the marked trails are black or double black and there are also lots of great chutes and terrifying off-piste. If you don’t like to repeat runs, Taos might not entertain beginners and intermediates for more than a few days. But If you’re an advanced intermediate looking to push yourself, this could be a very good fit.

Beginners will be delighted to learn that they can experience all the iconic views of Taos from almost day 1, since the green runs aren't heaped in a cluster at the bottom of the mountain. Almost every chairlift (there are 11 of them) has a green from its summit. To get you ready to ski these, first timers can build confidence in comfort on the Pioneer lift and slightly more difficult Strawberry Hill lift near the base. Take the greens down from lift 4 to the Bavarian Lodge and imbibe until the lifts close – a shuttle bus will take you back to base.

A lot of the intermediate runs at Taos lean towards the more difficult side, meaning the more advanced are more at home. But this can also mean quick progression for someone who’s more used to casual cruising. Start at the trails off Lift 7 to get a feel for the pitch of the terrain and work your way up to steeper descents like Porcupine and the Powderhorn bowl. A Race Clinic with the ski school will do your technique a world of good.

Taos has always been a mountain for experts, however, or at least for those willing to push themselves and get off the groomers. 45% of the piste map is black and features some of the best tree-line skiing and longest uninterrupted fall-lines in the US. The only potential downside was that many of the runs required a hike – but that’s no issue anymore. A new lift for the 2014/15 season reaches Kachina Peak, where the steep chutes and gullies are abundant. Less tracked out areas that still involve a short hike, like West Ridge, remain challenging and blissfully powdery.

Like the staff in town, many of the ski instructors at the Ernie Blake Snowsports school have worked here for more than 20 years – unlike the rotating young workforce of many other resorts – and know the terrain like the back of their hand. Book in for a clinic to supercharge your technique.

Taos Apres Ski

It’s said that the founder Ernie Blake used to hide pitchers of martinis in trees around the mountain for skiers needing a glug of liquid courage… Today, generous bouts of daytime drinking is still how this resort likes to play – with tall glasses of German beer out on sun-blasted patios, or hot cocktails tucked away indoors. The Bavarian Lodge sundeck is a favourite for beers, soft pretzels and waitresses in dirndls. Don’t leave without trying a green chile cheeseburger, piled high with blue cheese and pickles. The St Bernard Lodge fries them up on the patio.

Half a dozen bars make up the afterhours options, including the Martini Tree, where you can pay tribute to Blake with a pitcher of his favourite tipple. For a slice of Swissness, the Thunderbird Lodge plays live jazz in the surrounds of old ski chalet with roaring fireplaces. If you’re feeling energetic try the tubing hill, ice skating, snowshoeing, snowmobiling or cross country out on 33km of trails – where you may spot a local “skijoring” (skiing with their dog…).

For more excitement, and a stronger taste of the area’s Spanish roots, head to Taos town. “Organic before organic was cool”, the Mexican meals here are in a league of their own. Expect to be asked if you are green or red (local speak for hot or mild). The Love Apple, housed in a former 19th century Catholic church dishes out baked tamales and delicious skillets of queso fundido with ingredients all sourced from local farmers. Perfect for a culture vulture, snazzy boutiques and art museums abound and even the liveliest nightspots (Alley Cantina probably takes gold), are housed in centuries-old structures.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Taos

When is the best time to ski Taos?

High elevation, combined with New Mexico’s dry desert climate leaves lots of bone-dry champagne powder, of which there’s about 305 inches every season. 300+ days of glorious New Mexican sunshine do little to dampen this, partly because Taos’s mostly north and northeast-facing turf holds snow well, and partly because the resort’s steep slopes are heavily gladed (though later season skiing can turn slushy).

Snowmaking covers every one of the beginner and intermediate slopes, ensuring everyone’s likely to find good coverage for the earlier months.

The fact Taos is a little further out of the way than some means through-traffic is minimal, making this a fantastic destination for a relaxing break at peak dates.

Peak Dates

If all you want for Chrimbo is a rustic retreat with plenty of untracked powder, Christmas in Taos shouldn’t disappoint. For good boys and girls, lessons with the famed Ernie Blake Snowsports School make for presents that guarantee gratitude.

Fireworks, laser lights and a torchlit parade tend to come out for New Year in Taos, before the resort moves en masse to the Martini Tree. Come morning, make it down a Kachina Peak couloir and come out a new you.

Whether you have kids or are looking to escape them, Half Term in Taos should help you find peace. Taos doesn’t do lift queues, so there’s R&R for everyone.

Things are winding down come Easter in Taos, which can see some smashing deals and often special events like Pond Skimming Championship – seeing who can ski the furthest across an 80ft ice-cold pool (in costume).

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Families in Taos

Despite its reputation for terrifying terrain, Taos is quite family friendly. Ski lessons through the Kinderkäfig Children’s Center start at the age of 3, and children 6 and under have previously skied free with a skiing adult.

A sweet feature, look out for the Coldsmoke photographers around the tops of chairlifts and some of the trails to take action shots and family photos. Check out the finished snaps at the end of the day in their shop down at base for a fantastic memento.

The tubing hill often opens for evenings, while you can climb to 12,000ft on snowmobiles for a thrilling afternoon adventure.

GroupsGroup Holidays Taos

A group trip to Taos will give you tales to tell for years to come. Ski some of the sheerest slopes in the US by day, knock back beers and burgers by afternoon and come nightfall toast the man who made it all possible at the Martini Tree.

For something different, head into Taos town to soak up its Native American ancestry (and the ubiquitous Margarita), changing things up from the European experience up in resort.

More Taos Holiday Resources


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