Elisabeth Vincentelli                March 2020

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.

RESORT FEATURES

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Quick Take

 LET'S GO 
INSIDER TIPS
  • 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

HESITATIONS
  • 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

  • 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

 

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.

The Lay of the LAnd

Getting To


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 driv Denver, CO: ~300 miles, ~5 hours drive​




Neighboring Resorts


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 California Resorts on the Epic Pass
  • Vail, CO (280 miles, ~5 hours)




Travel by Plane


Closest major commercial 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 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





Coming soon - easy navigation with all of the key spots highlighted 

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