Mountain Guide

Taos Ski Valley Trail Guides

 

Beginner

Children can find their bearings at the Rio Hondo Learning Center, which also includes daycare. Adult beginners can learn the basics with the school's terrain-based approach, which introduces gently increasing steepness. Lift 1 and Lift 2 offer gentle cruisers that are long enough to allow everybody to find their groove. Snowmaking covers 100% of the beginner terrain, which includes the heavily trafficked runs back to the base.

Intermediate

Taos' Blue runs (25% of terrain) are uncommonly varied and fun. They cover everything from cruisers to slightly bumpy trails to welcoming glades. There are a couple of mellow groomers off Lift 8, and they tend to be neglected by experts on powder days, making them an easily accessible playground. Be aware that Blues often harbor mild bumps (the word "gully" in the name is a giveaway); this makes them great to work on your mogul skills in a friendly environment, but could also be a deterrent for lower intermediates.

Advanced/Expert

Adventurous skiers and riders, welcome to heaven! In 2015 the Kachina Peak lift made a huge swath of advanced and expert terrain easily accessible. The lift is closed relatively frequently because of high winds at the top (it's among the highest lifts in North America) but if it's open, head over!For hike-to glades, bowls and chutes, the Highline and West Basin Ridges are well worth the effort.

  • While Taos is famous for its challenging terrain, the resort can be surprisingly friendly to intermediate skiers and is fairly easy to navigate

  • Come here to avoid attitude and high prices, Taos is a cool hill that still operates in a down to earth manner

Top Trail Picks

Category
Trail Name
Description​
Area / Getting There
 

Starting Out

White Feather

The first run for most beginners after leaving the dedicated learning area; a gentle groomer that can get crowded in the final section, when faster traffic returns to base

Lower front side. Exit Lift 1 to the right

Learning

Honeysuckle

One of the longest beginner cruisers on the mountain; go straight at the fork to Lower Patton (another Green) to Lift 4. Stay on Honeysuckle to Rubezahl for a Green return to the base 

Back side. Exit Lift 2 to the right

Bumps (Learning)

White Feather Gully

Short run, perfect for practicing mogul skiing; the bumps are usually regularly spaced and not too deep

Lower Front side. Exit Lift 1 to the right, stay on White Feather until you see the sign for the gully

Groomer

Lower Stauffenberg

A relaxing cruiser that tends to be neglected by experts on powder days and holds on to powder stashes

Lower front side; Exit Lift 8 to the right

Burner

Lone Star

A godsend for intermediates to test their endurance on mellow bumps (stay to the sides for softer conditions) 

Back side. Take Lift 2 to Honeysuckle (Green) then make a left on Lone Star

Glades

Walkyries Glades

Taos is famous for its tightly spaced glades but this run (so big it's almost a mini-area) right next to the terrain park is a bit more forgiving

Back side. Exit Lift 7 to the right then look for the gate on skier's left

Fresh Powder

Hunziker Bowl

This fairly relaxed Black run often holds powder stashes because its opening can be delayed during big dumps. Watch announcements for openings and rope drops

Back Side. Exit Lift 2 then take Easy Trip (Green) to Hunziker Bowl.

Bumps (Advanced)

Al's Run

One of Taos' most famous runs is under Lift 1 so prepare to be scrutinized; it's pretty much a field of moguls from beginning to end. The bottom segment can be rocky with low snow coverage so take Lower Inferno (Black) on skier's left about 2/3 of the way down

Lower front side. Exit Lift 1 to the right

Steep

Blitz

Blitz and Reforma run parallel; both offer a solid pitch, making a a good introduction to Taos' steep terrain

Upper Front Side. To skier's left of Lift 2

Steeper Glades

Lorelei Trees

Steep and densely glades, this one has it all. And you don't even have to hike for it!

Upper front side. Take Lift 2 or 7A to Bambi, then enter Lorelei on skier's right

Chutes

Twin Trees

Highline Ridge has a wealth of steep lines that retain powder because the hike keeps people away; Twin Trees is one of several chutes in that area

Highline Ridge; Take Lift 2 then follow the signs to Highline Ridge and hike for about 20-25 minutes

Burner

Main Street

The easiest, most straightforward way down Kachina Peak. This open, bowl-like run is paradise on a powder day — it's a workout

Highline Ridge. Kachina Peak Lift.

Steep & Deep

Longhorn

After a steep and narrow entrance, this long run widens somewhat and offers — you guessed it — fun bumps

Upper Front Side. Take Lift 2 or 7A to Bambi, then enter Longhorn on skier's right

On Mountain Dining Recommendations

Taos dining bears the twin influences of the hill's history (it was founded by a Swiss immigrant so yes, bratwursts and fondue are common) and location (you could easily eat green chili at every meal). The food at both the base and on the slopes is way above average while priced reasonably for a ski resort. Our top picks are below:

Whistlestop Café

Conveniently located just off Lift 1, on the way to Lift 2, this intimate mid-mountain chalet has a limited but highly satisfying menu — the mac and cheese is seriously addictive, and everyone appears to eat bratwurst. TSV does not sell single-use water bottles so many people refill at the water fountain. As usual with Taos, the Whistlestop is all about the vibe: relaxed, friendly, and with killer views from Adirondack-style chairs outside.

taos_onmountaindining_whistlestop.jpg

The Bavarian

The Alpine tradition runs deep at Taos: the resort was founded in 1955 by the German-born Swiss citizen Ernie Blake, and one of its most popular restaurants, the Bavarian, was hatched by a German immigrant in the 1990s. Sitting next to Lift 4, the Bavarian offers specialties from its namesake region as well as imported beers. Reservations are encouraged in the evening, especially for Tuesday's popular fondue night.

taos_apres_thebravarian.png

Tenderfoot Katie's Food Court

It's hard to avoid this base food court, right right in front of the meeting point for the ski school and Lift 1. The central location makes it an easy place for a break in the middle of a ski day — especially since the chili verde is excellent. As usual with Taos, the quality is fairly high at surprisingly reasonable prices.

Hamburger and Fries
 
Terrain Mix
 

Taos Mountain Stats

Size / Elevation
  • Peak: 12,481 ft | 3,804m

  • Vertical Drop: 3,281 ft | 997m

  • Base: 9,200 ft | 2,805m

  • Total Area: 1,294 acres |5.2 sq km

Terrain Overview

​Mountain Range: Sierra Nevada

  • 110 Trails   

  • 2 Terrain Parks

Peak
  • Kachina Peak (12,481 ft)

Bases
  • Resort Center (9,200 ft)

On Mountain Dining

  • 7 on mountain / base area options (see our guide)

Lift Stats

Uphill Capacity: 15,000+ ppl / hr

14 Total Lifts

  • 1 Gondola

  • 1 High speed quad

  • 3 Quads

  • 4 Triples

  • 1 Double

  • 4 Tows

  • 2 Minimum lifts to access peak from base

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