If you like your skiing steep and deep in an uncrowded resort with views of the New Mexican desert, then Taos Valley is your Valhalla. There are few ski areas left that are still run by the founding family with a passion for skiing, and with such a welcoming feel, But Taos is one of them.
The cacti and sagebush of the arid New Mexican desert might not seem an obvious location for a ski resort, but the big mountain that overshadows Taos Ski Valley offers some of the most legendary double black diamond skiing to be found in the United States. And intermediates and beginners won't feel left out either, with plenty of varied runs and an excellent ski school that all levels are encouraged to join.
Taos is about as far south as you can get for big skiing in the Rockies. It was the brainchild of founder Ernie Blake who sought to create a world class ski resort in a tiny corner of New Mexico. The resort is an eclectic mix of desert southwest and, oddly enough, Austrian/German architecture. However, it is the European that seems to predominate and if one squints just enough to miss the cacti, one might mistake Taos for the Tyrol.
Taos Ski Valley is known for its expert slopes and its sunshine. With over 300 days of annual sun it's perhaps the sunniest and warmest big ski resort in the Rockies. The north-facing slopes hold the snow well, but the southern facing slopes on the opposite side of the valley are often completely bare. It's an odd visual, but Taos is an odd place. It is the rare resort on Ultimate-Ski.com that we are almost certain words cannot adequately describe. Taos simply has a unique feel that is unparralleled in the ski world. A bit desert southwest and a bit of Austria might seem like a mismatch, but Taos pulls the hodgepodge off in a way no other resort can.
Taos is in the midst of a rebirth as the Blake family has sold the resort to environmentalist billionaire Louis Bacon. Bacon is providing an injection of capital the resort badly needed. For 2014-2015, the resort is installing a lift to the summit of Kachina Peak, increasing the lift-serviced vertical drop by over 1,000 ft.
Updated for Winter 2015-16 - David B. Cronheim