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Originally a copper mining village called Twining, this mountain town is all about one thing now: skiing. High in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, in the shadow of Wheeler Peak — New Mexico’s highest point at 13,161 feet — this high-elevation town has been a ski resort since the 1950s. Back then, a family bought the land that would become Taos Ski Valley (yes, the village and resort share a name) and developed a ski area with a homegrown vibe, attracting relatively low crowds to its world-class slopes, known for adventure skiing.
A billionaire conservationist purchased the resort in 2013 and has been sprucing up the slopes and amenities. New lifts, restaurants, and ski areas sprung up, all run as a B corporation — a business required to meet certain environmental and social standards. To that end, the resort is deploying electric vehicles and energy-efficient snowmaking in an effort to lower its carbon footprint, among other initiatives. Just 30 minutes from the artsy outpost of Taos, Taos Ski Valley is an idyllic base from which to explore the snowy mountains and desert plains of New Mexico.
Taos Regional Airport (TSM) is just a 30-minute drive from Taos Ski Valley, and accepts charter flights from a few U.S. cities. Next closest is Santa Fe Regional Airport (SAF), serviced by several major airlines, and located about two hours away. You’ll find many more flight options at Albuquerque International Sunport (ABQ), about three hours away. Once on the ground, a rental car will give you the best flexibility for exploring town, day trips to Taos, and scenic drives. Two Regional Transit District (RTD) bus lines, the Green and Red (which runs at night on Fridays and Saturdays), connect Taos Ski Valley to Taos and other nearby communities.
Winter — extending into early spring — is high season here. As the inches of snow rise, so does the visitor count. (Although you still find fewer crowds here than at buzzier ski locales.) And despite the low temperatures — especially in chilly January — you’re likely to encounter sun, as it shines about 290 days a year here. Late spring and fall are sedate shoulder seasons, and in summer, when temperatures are balmy and warm, Taos Ski Valley is a low-key base for exploring the Carson National Forest and other natural wonders. The resort offers scenic lift rides, and its peakside restaurant is a choice place for an outdoor beverage with mountain views.
Previously known for rugged adventure skiing, the revamped Taos Ski Resort now offers something for everyone. Daredevils can still navigate Kachina Peak, with an elevation of more than 12,000 feet, but there’s also a ski school for beginners and a kids’ area, served by a gondolita, made for pint-sized bodies.
A trip to Taos Ski Valley wouldn’t be complete without a visit to its big sister at the base of the mountain range. This laid-back, artsy outpost replete with adobe architecture is renowned for its world-class museums and gallery hopping, as well as its spas and hot springs.
This three-hour, 84-mile drive loops around Wheeler Peak and connects Taos Ski Valley to neighboring mountain towns like rugged Questa, home to a four-day plein-air painting festival every July. On your journey you’ll also pass mesas, forests, and lush river valleys. Combine it with a side trip to Taos, which is also on the way.