TAOS SKI VALLEY RESORT GUIDE
Images courtesy of Taos Ski Valley
Taos Ski Valley Resort Overview
**Operating Guidelines: Taos Ski Valley encourages guests to purchase lift tickets online, in advance. Ikon Pass holders must make reservations at ikonpass.com for Winter 2021-22. Face masks fare required in indoor public spaces for guests ages 2+. Childcare will not be offered this season; though children ages 3 to 5 may particpate in half-day private lessons. Restaurants will require proof of vaccination and reservations for indoor dining. For the latest on Taos' covid operating guidelines check their Winter Operations Plan.
Tucked in the Sangre de Cristo range, Taos Ski Valley is reputed to be among the most challenging resorts in North America. And yes, it has a lot of chutes and tightly spaced glades that will delight experts. But Taos is also a great place to learn — doing here will set you up for pretty much anything — or to sharpen your skills. The renowned Snowsports School runs several distinctive programs, including terrain-based learning and the signature Snowsports Week, which includes 12 hours of lessons over six consecutive mornings for a modest price ($300 in 2019-20), and keeps fans coming back year after year. Friendly and unpretentious, Taos is rewarding whether you want to cruise groomers or hike to hard-to-get lines. Owned since 2014 by billionaire Louis Bacon, TSV is improving every year with better snowmaking, a spruced-up base village and the construction of the new luxury Blake condos. Don't worry, though: Taos is independent and holding on to its soul — this is not your conventional ski-factory resort.
Pass Summary: Taos Ski Valley is part of the Ikon and Mountain Collective Passes. The Ikon Pass provides 7 days at Taos and the Ikon Base Pass provides 5 days (with holiday restrictions). For those skiing more than 5 days at Taos, there are several season pass options with excellent value including 50% off buddy passes, exchange pass privileges at Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain, special deals for midweek only access, and special pricing for military, seniors and youth.
Snow-Making & Grooming
Extreme / Off-Piste Terrain
On Mountain Dining
There is awesome gnarly terrain but don't fear if you're not up to it: it's clearly marked and much of it requires hiking, which means you won't wander into it by mistake
Groomers are undersung but excellent — you can have serious fun on those blue runs (e.g., Lone Star, White Feather Gully)
On-mountain lodging and dining are fairly priced for a top-tier ski area; you never feel like you're being gouged
Friendly, laidback vibe that's all its own, fueled by the surrounding Southwestern culture
Lack of crowds means that lift lines are rare and powder remains untracked longer than at comparable resorts
Relatively little beginner terrain and some of Taos' blue runs may test quite a few intermediate shredders
Not the most accessible resort: The airport in Albuquerque is almost 3 hours away; Santa Fe is closer but a regional airport
If you prefer luxury lodging, there is only one option, the Blake
Higher elevation. The base is at 9,207 feet and a lift reaches 12,481 feet — may require a period of adjustment
Relatively limited range of cuisines, focusing on southwestern fare (burritos et al.), Alpine European and high-quality American
Sign up for a Snowsports week at the high-quality ski school, a bargain for 12 hours of instruction over six days. The annual women's week includes such perks as free demos and boot-stance checks at BootDoctors
For a greater variety of and cheaper lodging options, consider staying in the hamlet of Arroyo Seco (20 mins away) or the town of Taos (35 mins away) then take one of the free shuttles instead of driving up yourself
After a powder dump, The Kachina lift is often closed for avalanche control; keep an eye out for opening announcements and rope drops
The self-contained Rio Hondo Learning Center hosts kids' lessons and day care
Taos Air offers direct flights to Taos regional airport from smaller airports in Austin and Dallas-Love Field (starting at $220 one way), and Carlsbad-San Diego and Hawthorne-LA (starting at $150 one way). Fare includes two free checked bags and free gear rental at TSV
For an in-depth breakdown of Taos' terrain, head to our Mountain Guide. Top trails and mountain stats included.
Getting To & Around
Taos is one of the most remote top-tier resorts in the Rockies, but this relative isolation has helped preserve its character and ensures small crowds, even on powder days. There aren't any other major resorts nearby but Taos offers plenty for consecutive days of skiing — and repeat visits.
Closest Major City: Albuquerque, NM
Distance: ~155 miles Southwest
Travel Time: ~ 2 hours 45 minutes drive
Closest Town: Taos
~20 miles, ~30 minute drive
Santa Fe, NM: ~89 miles, 2 hours drive
Denver, CO: ~300 miles, ~5 hours drive
Taos stands alone in the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range. There are a few smaller resorts, but closest major resorts are more than 5 hours away.
Closet Neighbors on the Ikon Pass / Mountain Collective
Other Colorado Resorts on the Epic Pass
Travel by Plane
Closest Major Airport: ABQ (Albuquerque International Sunport)
~155 miles Southwest, ~3 hours
Larger Regional Airport: SAF (Santa Fe Regional Airport)
~98 miles Southwest, ~2 hours
Closest Regional Airport: SKX (Taos Regional Airport)
~18 miles Southwest, ~30 minutes
Taos Air offers direct flights to SKX to/from Austin (Million Air Terminal), Dallas (Lovefield), TXCarlsbad-San Diego and Hawthorne-Los Angeles, CA
Private planes can also come into / out of SKX
Travel By Bus
The North Central Regional Transit District (NCRTD) provides free public buses from/to Taos Ski Valley and Arroyo Seco, Taos and El Prado
Airport Shuttles: Taos Transportation provides shuttles from/to the Santa Fe and Albuquerque airports to Taos Ski Valley
Round trip shuttles are $160 round trip from Albuquerque (ABQ) and $120 round trip from Santa Fe (SAF). Click here for full pricing and to make reservations
Travel by Car
A car is not essential when visiting Taos Ski Valley.
Pros: Helpful for exploring the town of Taos and off-mountain dining options; parking is free with a quick shuttle to the base
Cons: No true use for the car once in the area, public transporation is easy
Ride shares: (e.g., Uber, Lyft) are available but not reliable here