Apres Ski in Taos

Taos Ski Valley Village

Taos Ski Valley’s village is an interesting hodge podge of small, independently-owned businesses that sprung up around the base area. The resort grew out of one man’s vision: Ernie Blake spotted from his Cessna 170 what seemed to be a vast natural snow basin and he moved to Taos valley lock, stock, and camper van in 1955.

The Hondo Lodge (now the Inn at Snakedance) was his first building and the first lift was installed with the help of 16 locals and a mule. The resort was run by Ernie’s family until quite recently and this “hands-on” heritage gives the village a compact, cozy, welcoming feel. But don’t just take our word for it-editors at Ski magazine have given the resort their “Top Choice” accolade too.

However, there are those that would say that Taos’ base village is tired and somewhat rundown. A major base area redevelopment is underway to breathe life into the aging resort core while still respecting the unique “mom and pop” feel of the village.

Nearby, the town of Taos has plenty of accommodations and attractions. It is a former Spanish settlement featuring picturesque adobe architecture typical of the local Native American culture. (Adobe is earth mixed with water and straw, then either poured into forms or made into sun-dried bricks.) The climate and architecture made Taos an artists’ and writers’ colony-D.H. Lawrence lived here during the 1920s (his ranch is maintained by the University of New Mexico) and famous frontiersman Kit Carson lived here too. The local Indian (Pueblo) culture goes back over 1,000 years. Today Taos is well known as a haven for artists and it boasts many varied galleries. Taos is also the home of the oldest inhabited Native American Pueblo (village) in the U.S.

Taos Restaurants & Bars

There are some half dozen bars including Martini Tree Bar (upstairs from Tenderfoot Katie’s) which is one of the hot spots for après-ski action with live music, pool tables, a sushi selection, and wall hangings displaying Taos’s history.

Tim’s Stray Dog, also at Taos Ski Valley, is a must for margaritas, while the Old Blinking Light in town is another watering hole with good food. The Thunderbird Lodge has a popular bar for the 35 set where they play lots of jazz and the atmosphere is old ski lodge style with fireplaces. In town, for the young crowd, the Alley Cantina hosts a continuous party and has pool tables and live music. However, Taos is not nightclub friendly and those looking to bop till they drop will be disappointed.

Taos Ski Valley Activities

Taos Ski Valley is not Aspen, so don’t go there expecting non-stop glitz and entertainment.

But it is one of the most romantic spots in the West and just soaking up the sunshine (over 300 days of it) on one of the restaurant decks can pass as a consummate “activity.” If you are feeling energetic then you can try the tubing hill, ice skating, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. There are several ski and boot rental, repair and retail stores. For convenience and price, renting in the Valley as opposed to the Town of Taos is best. Both Taos and Taos Ski Valley have shops selling everything from T-shirts to Southwestern jewelry. The big event here each year is the Taos Winter Wine Festival, featuring tastings, wine dinners and seminars from January 23rd to February 2.

In Taos Town a visit to the artists of Taos Pueblo is a must. They produce beautiful handcrafted wares using techniques passed down through generations. Tanned buckskin moccasins and drums are characterized by simplicity and enduring quality. Sculpture, painting and jewelry are contemporary expressions of traditional art forms. Check out the micaceous clay pottery, which has been the utilitarian cookware through the ages. Today, Taos Pueblo potters are challenged to produce high quality pottery by putting a high polish on vessels. When you visit Taos Pueblo, you will have an opportunity to learn about the history and culture, as well as to purchase fine arts and crafts.

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