Taos Ski Valley – The Enchanted Circle Gem

Taos Ski Valley

Located 50 miles south of the Colorado border, Taos Ski Valley is an Enchanted Circle gem that attracts skiers and riders with a spirit of adventure. Its untamed terrain, legendary culture, and unpolished charm are steeped in a diverse and eclectic mix of New Mexico traditions and mountain rituals.

The storied resort is known for its world-class terrain and a reputation as one of the best places in the country to ski big, challenging expert terrain. It’s also famous for its long, steep fall line groomers that keep the advanced crowds happy for days on end.

Snow conditions are typically excellent at Taos thanks to the average 225 inches of snowfall a year, which is almost 18 feet per season. The mountain also has a high summit elevation that means it gets a lot of sun, making it a perfect spot for finding a ton of powdery freshies.

Terrain for All Levels

Unlike many other North American resorts, there is a wide divide between the “green” and “blue” trails at Taos. This is because Taos has a large number of runs that require hike-to ridgelines to access, which keeps most of the skiing at this mountain at an advanced level.

For those who don’t want to hike, Taos’ Lower Front Side offers plenty of terrain to keep you busy throughout the day. You can cruise down Powderhorn to get the legs going, or hit a cruiser-steeps combo with Porcupine and Rhoda’s glade to catch some corduroy before the lifts shut down for the day.

You’ll also find some great intermediate and beginner runs at Taos, including the bump run Al’s Run or the gentle blue Porcupine. The town of Taos is a small and quiet community with good shopping and restaurants, and is also an excellent place to take in the sights of Northern New Mexico after your day on the slopes!

Avalanche Safety and Risks

It’s important to understand the risk of avalanche in the area, and this is a very real concern for visitors. Luckily, Taos has some great avalanche mitigation strategies in place and their ski patrol is constantly on the lookout for a potential hazard.

Despite this, there have been many serious avalanche incidents in the past. In January, two skiers died when an avalanche on the flank of Kachina Peak buried them in tens of feet of snow.

While this incident is a reminder that not all terrain at ski resorts is accessible by chairlifts, it’s also a testament to the dedication of the local ski patrol and the hard work of volunteers from across the nation. The ski patrol at Taos is an all-star crew that is always on the lookout for a potential danger, and the mountain has some really great training programs to help teach skiers how to safely ski in a variety of different terrains.

While Taos Ski Valley isn’t the largest or most consistent resort, it has a strong reputation for offering some of the hardest in-bounds terrain in the Rockies. It’s a great choice for skiers looking to challenge themselves without breaking the bank, but make sure you’re prepared to deal with the potential avalanche risks.