Skiing in Santa Fe + Taos
Concierge.com's insider take:
Neophytes, scaredy-cats, and snowboarders need not show up at Taos Ski Valley, 23 miles outside of town. The first two will likely get their clocks cleaned, and the last are not permitted. This privately owned property is a throwback, which means that fellow skiers are apt to be highly capable, and you won't be held up by slow-moving families. The area gets an average of 300 inches of snow a year and—equally important—more than 300 days of sunshine. Elevations are steep and often rocky—it takes a lot of snow to get everything covered to the point where you won't really hurt yourself if you fall. More than 50 percent of the mountain's 110 trails are expert level: The section known as the Ridge, which has no lift access, is the most challenging, topping out at 12,481-foot Kachina Peak. If you're an average skier looking to achieve expert status, consider the Ski Week program at the Ernie Blake Ski School here. Students are organized into groups and spend mornings together under the tutelage of first-rate instructors. Spring rates are as low as $150 per week (866-968-7386; www.skitaos.org).
Those looking for an easier, family-friendly environment should head to Ski Santa Fe, 16 miles out of town. With 67 runs over 660 acres of terrain, it is smaller and denser, and a good number of the runs are groomed. It also allows snowboarding (505-982-4429; www.skisantafe.com).