For somewhere in the American Southwest, the Taos Valley has a strangely Austrian feel. This may be partly due to the chalet-style Valley architecture and partly to the fact that German Luftwaffe pilots training near El Paso, tend to come up here with their families-you can hear quite a lot of German on the slopes.

Once inside this European-style ski lodge though, the atmosphere turns Western, especially at the Thunderbird Lodge & Chalet, which has live music in the Twining bar and the best food in the valley. The lodge is within a short walk form the lifts. There are 30 units with private bathrooms and aside from the whirlpool and saunas there is haute cuisine dining with an extensive wine cellar. The Inn at Snakedance pre-dates the ski boom, so you have to go there. It’s less than 10 yards (9 m) from the chairlift and offers good ski packages. Hot tub, sauna, spa, and massages all add to the comfortable setting. For a little peace and quiet try the Chalet Montesano-somewhat precious but no kids under 14. Hot tubs, lap pools, fitness centers and saunas are common, and most of these places are close to the lifts and trails.

So all in all there is a fair selection of hotels, lodges, condos and B&Bs in the resort and a far greater choice for all budgets in Taos Town, from cozy adobes to cottages in the mountains. In the resort, the St. Bernard Hotel is famous for having been there forever, also because owner, Jean Mayer, is an amazing character who welcomes every guest into his lodge and serves every family-style gourmet meal himself. There are also condos as part of this complex. Also in the Village there are vacation homes to rent.

Higher up the mountain, the Bavarian Chalets and rooms at the famous Bavarian restaurant provide the best luxury lodging options. These ski in, ski out vacation rentals are far and away the most high end properties for rent at the ski area.

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