Quick Guide to Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico

I’m a huge fan of Taos. Steve and I go whenever we can, mostly to ski. This was the first place I’d skied outside of New York State and that was last year when I first came to New Mexico.

Even though I’m mostly going to be talking about the Taos Ski Valley, I am going to talk a little bit about the town because you’re obviously not going to be spending 100% of your stay in TSV. I mean maybe you are, maybe you get to stay in a really cool cabin on the mountain, and in that case, I’m extremely jealous of you. Please invite me.

ski taos

Where to Stay:

I’ve stayed at three places in Taos, ranging from the cheapest you can find, to pretty expensive, at least for a regular basis. Here they are from cheapest to most  expensive.

Abominable Snowmansion

This place is pretty much my favorite. It has all of the quirks I like in a hostel. It’s homey, it’s a little outdated, it’s full of ski bums sitting around a fireplace drinking and playing cards.  Like you’d expect from a hostel it has a kitchen, living area, male and female dorms, as well as private rooms- which are just empty dorms- as well as teepees for the summer months and small all-year cottages. I’ve only stayed in a private room that’s, like I said, just a dorm that we rented out completely, so for me and Steve to stay in a room with a double bed, and 4 bunkbeds was pretty funny. For a single bed it’s around $20-30 even in the winter so it’s really not bad if you’re just looking for somewhere to crash after spending all day on the mountain. Also, it’s between town and the Ski Valley so you’re really close.

Kachina Lodge

We found a really good deal on this place and decided to try out something different. It’s a really big complex so there are plenty of rooms. The rooms are what you’d expect, nothing really to write home about- just a bed, desk, TV, and a bathroom, but one thing I thought was different for a locally owned hotel was they have a roku in the rooms so you can watch Netflix and other streaming apps as long as you have subscriptions to them.

An Earthship!

We stayed in a Earthship because it’s been my lifelong dream. We rented one through Airbnb but you can also book directly through the Earthship community for a good deal more money. Steve and I both love the idea of earthships and love them even more after having stayed in one. It’s crazy that there’s no heat in the house, and even in January we were so cozy warm just from the greenhouse and the thermo- ground insulation. We want to go back and stay in the spring  just to see if there’s a difference and also to spend more time outside. It was so freezing cold that it was difficult to hang out and appreciate the area and the house.

ski Taos

Where to eat:

I obviously haven’t eaten at every place in Taos but we’ve actually been to quite a few places. For the most part we like to try all new things but a few are too good not to go back.

Michael’s

You’ll probably see this if you Yelp anywhere near Taos. This place is always packed when we go.  They have weird hours, especially on weekends so check before you go. Just a word of advice, avoid Sundays right after church time. It’s crazy. We always come here when in Taos. They have great breakfasts and a lot of New Mexican favorites. Plus, it’s pretty cheap.

Guadalajara Grill

Seriously good Mexican food. This is usually our last stop on Sunday on our way back home. There are two locations and we stop at the one right before we leave town. We order and get take away so we won’t get home too late. I usually get the veggie tacos which are really good. It also comes with rice and refried beans which are pretty much my favorite.

Taos Mesa Brewing

We’ve been back here a few times. Every time we come they have something going on like a music video premier, or a band, or something else artsy. They don’t have a very extensive menu but what I’ve had, or have seen others have is really good. I usually get the tacos with sweet potato fries. And they aren’t just regular old tacos, they’re super good and fresh. I like the Mahi Mahi, and Steve usually gets the smoked steak which is pretty spicy. We obviously also go for the beer. They have a bunch on tap from their brewery as well as from others around New Mexico.

Taos Diner II

There are two locations, hence the II, but we’ve only been to this one. I’m pretty sure they’re exactly the same, but just to be sure, I want to make clear we just went to this one.   This is a breakfast and lunch place. Steve and I went for breakfast and I got a really good green chile breakfast burrito. Pretty much my staple when going to breakfast places in New Mexico. I would probably go again, but only if Michael’s wasn’t open. I’m sorry, I have a soft spot for that place.

Martyrs

This place is really expensive and we only came here on a very special occasion. Okay, it was the day we got married. But obviously it was for a good reason. We had such great food. I had salmon, and Steve got steak and we had appetizers and desert, and wine and everything and we were so fat when we left. If you have a really fat wallet, or are looking for a really nice place, this is definitely it.

ski taos

The Valley

Getting to TSV is pretty easy. There’s only one road in so you really can’t get lost. It’s a really scenic ride, especially if it’s just snowed and the trees are covered. Once getting there you’ll be shown where to park and pretty regularly a shuttle comes by to pick you up. There are the typically sites around there: rental shops, food places, clothing stores, and the ticket sales. Right next to the first lift is the main lodge where Steve and I have had a ton of beer after our ski days.

Season Dates

End of November to middle of December- usually weekends only

Middle of December to April- Daily

Obviously this depends on the season. So check the website for specifics.

ski taos trail map

Good to know Stats

Average Annual Snowfalls- 305 inches

Average Days of Sunshine- 300+

Total Acreage- 1,294 acres

Number of Trails- 110 total: 24% are beginner, 25% intermediate, 51% expert (I’m not sure how they came up with those percentages.

Number of Lifts-15 total: 4 quad, 3 triple, 5 double, 3 surface lifts

Base Elevation- 9,200 feet

Summit Elevation- 12,450- Kachina Peak

Hours- 9 AM to 4 PM

They also have snowmaking capabilities on all beginner and intermediate trains, as well as one terrain park.

In 2014 they opened a lift to Kachina Peak where you could previously only get to by doing some serious hiking.  There were mixed reviews about this because those who had hiked it thought the chair lift was going to bring some less rugged people to the top, while others thought it was a great opportunity.  It’s not the highest ski lift in North America, “only” reaching 12,450 feet but it’s by far the highest in the state. I also happened to get married at the top on a freezing day in January.  Needless to say, I probably wouldn’t have hiked that on my wedding day, so I’m happy it was built.

ski taos

Prices: Full Day/ Half Day

Child- $55/48

Junior( 13-17)- $75/57

Adult- $86/72

Senior(65-79)- $75/57

Over 80- Free

Check the website for more accurate info and Liftopia to find some great deals.

My Thoughts

I probably don’t need to tell you that I really like skiing in Taos. It was the closest to us where we lived in New Mexico, it’s my first real Western mountain experience, and I got married on Kachina Peak. I can’t wait to go back with Andrew and see how he does on skis.

Have you ever been to Taos Ski Valley? Tell me what you thought.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at you extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the links. You can also see my full Disclosure and Terms and Conditions (you know, the real boring stuff).

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Quick Guide to Taos Ski Valley
Quick Guide to Taos Ski Valley
family travel resource guide
2018-01-31T10:16:02+00:00

About the Author:

Hey, I’m Mackenzie, a writer, traveler, and photographer living in North Texas. Been to 65 countries solo, now taking the baby along. I blog about family travel while writing novels and binge-watching British TV.

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