A Steep Learning Curve!
As spring melts away snow-kissed winter dreams, I’d like to give my love to Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico. This is a beautiful, advanced mountain with heart-stopping steeps and a lots of juicy hike-to terrain. Traditionally a skier’s spot, Taos Ski Valley only opened to snowboarders at the end of last season. So it was interesting to see what riding vibe it held (very mellow, as the riders are just grateful to be included). Even on skis, I couldn’t brave the insane plunges. So instead, I strapped into my board to learn to ride, Taos style.
My instructor was named Razvan and he brought me to what he called “the steepest learning hill in the world.” Um, true. That’s him above sitting at the top of it. Since when do you learn on that kind of angle? There is a tiny, very flat learning area to get people standing. But the learning run beside it would easily classify as a blue run back on the baby hills of the East Coast. Scary for a start up! However, what’s great is that if you can learn to ride that hill, you can ride lots of terrain. I have no doubt that Taos primed me for the awesome snowboarding evolution that ensued when I was at Angelfire!
Here are some fast facts about Taos.
Advanced skiers will get the most out of this challenging terrain. But beginners can master their skills on tough bunny run and then hit the long, winding greens.
- Base elevation: 9207 ft.
- Summit: 11,819 ft. from lift, 12,481 from hike, to Kachina Peak
- Vertical drop: 2,612 from lift, 3,274 from hike, to Kachina Peak
- Lifts: 13 total: 4 quad chair lifts; 1 triple chair lift; 5 double chair lifts; 3 surface lifts
- Trails: 110 trails on 1294 acres (with Out To Launch Terrain Park)
- Trail Breakdown: 24% beginner, 25% intermediate, 51% advanced
Taos Ski Valley legend has it that there’s a hollowed out tree on the mountain that has martinis in it. It stems from a tradition the Blake family installed when they created the resort (btw, it’s still theirs; the family vibe at the mountain is awesome). Before there were snowmobiles, scared skiers needed a little liquid courage to get themselves down the hill. Enter martini tree (liquor doesn’t freeze!). To ensure the cocktails are served up safely, they are now kept in a locked box in the tree — and only ski patrol has the key.
Several options are available on mountain. But you may enjoy staying in the cute hippie town of Taos, just a short drive away.
For More Information
Taos Ski Valley Inc.
P.O. Box 90
Taos Ski Valley, NM 87525
Telephone: (866) 968-7386