by Louis Bignami

General Information

Even though the Taos Ski Area is one of the top 25 ski resorts in North America, with -- to the delight of traditionalists -- nary a boarder in sight, coming here just to ski would be a major mistake. Taos Ski Valley even runs ads to this effect in Aspen, the next-to-last boarder ban holdout. As more and more resorts are taken over by management companies, it's delightful to find a spot where the founder's family, the Blake's, go their own way on one of the best ski mountains on the continent, far away from the madding crowds in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. Skiing and Ski Magazine consistently bestow top ten awards upon Taos' steep slopes, bumps, and terrain, with top-25 placement for dining.

While the Taos Ski Area offers a self-contained complex of hotels, restaurants, condos, and more 20 miles from town, it's the combination of skiing with world-class historic, artistic, gastronomic, and scenic attractions in Taos, Santa Fe, and the rest of the beautiful southern fringe of the Rockies that makes this a world-class destination. 

The site of Dennis Hopper's bike epic Easy Rider, Taos is stuffed like an enchilada with a mix of Native American and Hispanic history back to Onate's Expedition of 1598, plus a shot of American history and culture with historic buildings, multiple museums, and a continuing evolution from its "happy hippie" image into a contemporary center for musicians, writers, artists, and culture. With a base elevation of 6,967 feet, you might say Taos defines "legal highs" and functions as a base to acclimate yourself to the altitude before heading high up to the ski valley.
Consider the Anasazi cliff dwellings, mesas topped with pueblos, and Hopi hogans surrounded by sheep in the rosy light of evening, and it's easy to imagine how the Spanish explorers felt when they searched here for the Seven Cities of Cibola. The Spanish knew good spots when they saw them, as Taos, Santa Fe, and California Missions suggest. Going or coming, scope out Santa Fe, where the trail from Texas ended in fandangos and fiestas for explorers and mountain men, and 400-year-old adobes still bake under the bright sun. Billy the Kid washed dishes in a local hotel. D.H. Lawrence and Willa Cather wrote here. Georgia O'Keeffe painted in Santa Fe and Taos, as her namesake Santa Fe Museum'the only museum in the US dedicated to a single woman artist'suggests. Her husband, famous photographer Alfred Stieglitz, loaned Ansel Adams a camera, with which their then-aspiring concert pianist houseguest found his passion.
History buffs can visit Los Alamos, with its Bradbury Museum and douthwest observatories that revel in some of the clearest viewing conditions in the US; Taos Ski Mountain offers star viewings at least once a month, too. Visiting gastronomes start with Southwestern treats from some of the best restaurants in America, but also discover oddments like the three Tibetan restaurants in Santa Fe. Wonderful music -- from flamenco to classical, world-famous Santa Fe opera, and more? -- is everywhere. Shoppers snap up Native American arts, clothes, and crafts in shops and off the sidewalk market around the town square. More artists per capita than Paris paint, pot, and sculpt here. Nearly as many photographers try to mach Ansel Adam's photos of incredible scenic peaks, wooded wilderness, whitewater canyons, and serene, bare country among the mesas.
Then there's the skiing. Few mountains offer so much for the intermediate and more advanced skier. The sign "Don't Panic Looking at only 1/30th of Taos Ski Valley. We have many easy runs too!" may be technically correct, but the 20 percent of easiest runs is only relative, as many have a steep drop at one edge. This is, above all, a spot for strong intermediates and experts. Beginners (and banned boarders) do better at Angel Fire and elsewhere, but the world-class ski schools here rapidly turn beginners into intermediates; for example, Kinderkäfig is the excellent children's ski school, with it's own lifts and terrain. Beginners and intermediates who do ski here will find 100 percent snowmaking on their tracks.
The result of this is a certain aggressive, "down the fall line" ambiance that harkens back to the BB "before boards" days. Taos isn't the kind of place you simply happen upon, as is the case at Tahoe Basin Resorts. Serious skiers who search out the best, plus a sprinkle of locals, spice the slopes high under Kachina Peak. Those who can handle the steepness and adjust to the 9,207-foot elevation base do best here. And do take the time to acclimate where the namesake of Al's Run and one of the mountain's founding skiers, Dr. Al Rosen, used to ski with an oxygen bottle a la Everest.


Solid restaurants in both the Valley and in Taos, plus some incredible culinary options in Santa Fe, suggest careful dinner planning. While rated 26th for dining in 2001, Taos has shown a radical move up as restaurants upscale their offerings to suit an increasingly affluent base of local residents, without, it must be noted, losing the traditional comfortable cafés and budget Southwestern food.
While there is some après ski nightlife in the Ski Valley at the Martini Tree Bar or Bavarian, things slow down when the sun leaves the deck at the Hotel St. Bernard. So, it's either whatever's happening on the nightly entertainment side at The Inn at Sundance, or the highway to Taos.
In Taos itself, the hot spots are the country and western dances at the Sagebrush Inn. Arlo Guthrie has appeared at the Cabaret Room in the Kachina Lodge, but it's always worth walking by the Alley Cantina to see what's shaking. The arts and crafts types, punctuated with a fit ski instructor here and there, hang in the Adobe Bar at the Taos Inn. For a unique "one time" beverage, there's always the Green Chili Beer at Eske's Brew Pub. Some get lucky up at the Taos Mountain Casino, too.
Still, since Taos Ski Valley is more challenging than most, the combination of the steeps and the altitude usually reduce après ski to a drink, dinner, and bed for many visitors to the area.

Dining Out

Funky to five-star restaurant options are split between those tucked into the aspens at the Village of Taos Ski Valley, and along the streets of historic Taos and Santa Fe. The last can be worth the drive each way, but the abundance of prime Santa Fe restaurants suggests a longer stay.
In the Taos Ski Valley, nine restaurants offer wide choices. The Hondo Restaurant in the Inn at Snakedance just won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for the fifth year in a row. They make their own breads and deserts and run to classic European dishes, with complimentary après ski hors d'oeuvres. The Snakedance Grill on the sundeck is a great lunch spot with a slope view. They're open summers, as well.
On the slopes, the log walls and Bavarian tile oven at the Bavarian run to authentic -- as opposed to ski resort -- dishes such as Goulash Suppe (soup), Sauerbraten, Wiener schnitzel, and Lammhaxe, an incredible braised lamb shank. Desserts range from apfelstrudel with warm vanilla sauce to a diet-killing selection of cakes. All this makes up for the lederhosen and such.
In Taos, Doc Martin's, once the good doctor's delivery room, runs to upscale Southwestern classics like blue-corn tortillas under a couple of eggs and some chile -- it's only chili "up north", and cheese; these work up the Southwest's answer to ski breakfasts, huevos rancheros. Lunches average $10, and dinners average $20 and up. More affordable is the Southwestern food at Jacquelina's, the Italian delights of La Luna Ristorante, or the Trading Post Café.  You can do eat well at lunch in a number of spots for $5 to $7, with dinners about twice as expensive in a huge number of local cafés. This is definitely "foodie" country.
Most affordable, especially considering the portion size, is the green chile chicken stew or the "Fatty", a tortilla jammed full of all sorts of good things from Eske's Brew Pub and Eatery. Since it's a brew pub the beer's great, and upper Midwest types can enjoy "brats" better than Milwaukee and a chance to belly up to the bar with the locals.


In Taos Ski Valley the Hotel Edelweiss's Patisserie & Bar offers the odd combination of brews, booze, and the wonderful desserts of Vienna. Think Austria and bask in the warmth of the fire as you forget about diets and savor a coffee "mit schlag"'that's with piled on whipped cream, for "auslanders."
In Taos, Real Grande Gorge Cookie Company serves up cookies and a lot more in a rather plain setting, and the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory handles the sweet tooth set. Both pull passers by off the street with incredible smells. Taos has more cafés than you can count, with the Trading Post Café's Tuscan food -- especially the bargain stews and hearty soups -- and wonderful wall-hung art as the main attractions. Bent Street Deli and Café meals are very affordable; it's also a fine deli with all sorts of wine and cheese to spice up lunch.

Clubs And Bars  

Ski between 11,000- and 9,000-foot elevation all day with no waits at the lift lines and reasonably fast lifts, and raging all night at clubs and bars doesn't exactly fit into the picture. Thus, it's no surprise that near-slope options are limited here, although there are probably seven or eight bars, clubs, and inns in Taos.
In the Edelweiss, the St. Bernard offers live entertainment nightly and possible pit stops for après ski at the on-slope bar and patisserie. Otherwise, it's the Martini Tree Bar above Tenderfoot Katie's. However, Tim's Stray Dog Cantina, with a 9:00 p.m. closing time, tells you about Taos Ski Valley nightlife for the "healthy, wealthy, and wise."
Everyone else heads for Taos with a probable first stop in the Adobe Bar in the Taos Inn, where it's rumored that everyone in town eventually turns up every evening; entertainment by local musicians and imports defines "varied." What else can you call a spot serving up Arlo Guthrie, flamenco guitar, country and western, and good bar snacks -- during the same week? Alley Cantina offers action a bit later, and the two-step fans from Texas and Taos line up at the Sagebrush Inn, where things start sometime about nine at night.
While certainly not Heavenly Valley or Aspen, there's enough to keep visitors watered and locals amused. The former need to know that, at just about 7,000 feet elevation, a little alcohol has a bigger effect than at sea level.


In early April just before Tahoe Ski Valley closes, the Taos Talking Picture Festival in Taos runs to "great and famous movies and film stars galore." Aside from that, there's a seven-screen Cineplex plus a community auditorium that may be back in service by ski season. Seven screens should be enough to handle a ski week, even for the most avid cinema buff.
For film trivia buffs, movies like Fools Rush In, Natural Born Killers, Twins, Easy Rider, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Every which Way But Loose, and a host of others have been made in Taos County.
Performing Arts
Taos, when compared to Santa Fe, is a rather small town, and most of the performing arts attractions come in for a single performance. There is a chamber music festival in late August at Angel Fire, and some jazz during the ski season. Summers find a lot of free performances by Southern Methodist University students, who take courses not far from Taos, and The Taos School of Music is another venue in the area.
However, for reliable performing arts, it's Santa Fe where the local musicians and performances are first class, and the ambiance so world-class that some of the best performers in the world appear here. The Santa Fe Opera is world-class, with its new glass roof and superior summer season. There are at least three chorals, the professional Santa Fe Orchestra, and chorus performances from October through May, not to mention Sereneta of Santa Fe, a professional chamber group, the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra and Ensemble, and more.
Theater companies include the Greer Garson Theater Center at the College of Santa Fe, which does an adequate musical, comedy, drama, and a classic play each year. The Santa Fe Playhouse goes back to the 1920s, with an eclectic assortment of offerings that include "insult the villain" melodramas of considerable merit.  Shakespeare of Santa Fe offers hot performances in the open air on usually brisk nights in July and August. Santa Fe Stages is in the performing arts import business, with great visiting companies year round.
However, the Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco, like the Santa Fe Opera, is the best buy in town, with amazing "Estampa Flamenca" performances from June until September. As a result, the standard of classical and flamenco guitar playing in Santa Fe is extremely high, as you can hear at spots like the Dragon Room in the Pink Adobe.

In December 21 - January 06, when you are planning to travel, the average high temperature is 39oF and the average low temperature is 6oF.
Lowest lift: 9,207 feet/2,806 meters
Highest lift: 11,819 feet/3,600 meters
Vertical drop: 2,612 feet/796 meters
Skier's highs define Taos Ski Valley, and acclimation, perhaps with an overnight in Santa Fe or Taos, is highly recommended. After all, Dr. Al Rosen used to ski his namesake expert double black diamond Al's Run with an oxygen bottle.
Fit skiers willing to take it easy for a day or two at altitude do well here. Simply head down to Taos, at around 7,000 feet elevation, or even lower in Santa Fe if breathing gets hard. In exchange, there is, according to Taos Ski Valley, drier snow than Utah, more skiable acres than Telluride, and more vertical than Breckenridge, with more sun than Sun Valley. Fitness is so important at Taos that the resort offers specific exercise recommendations on their Web site.
Singles can find some action in Taos Ski Valley and more in Taos, but this isn't a single's resort, save for college holidays, such as California's popular Squaw Valley or Vail, Colorado. However, while the quantity may not be there, the quality certainly is, as the typical visitor seems a more serious skier with rather better than average prospects.
For couples, stroll hand and hand past the shops and wonderful old buildings of Taos, share a massage, cuddle up in front of a fireplace, and, if you can tear your eyes off your companion, drink in the scenery. The surroundings define romantic, and Taos residents have to have romance in their hearts to offer up such wonderfully romantic Hispanic hospitality and art.
If everyone skis reasonably well, there are few better places for a group than Taos and Taos Ski Valley. Things here are still "people-scale." You can split up and wander Taos and meet at the traffic light. It's easy to keep track of others on the mountain, and there are enough diversions so that the less than compulsive skier -- or the shopper -- won't feel left out. It's a matter of scale. Christmas provides the nearest thing to crowds. Spring adds whitewater, and summer offers up more mountain madness and activities.
Traditional ski resorts run by families have a special feel and, in most cases, a special sense of family and rather more personalized childcare than you find at mega resorts. Taos Ski Valley, now in second-generation management, does this with an absolutely world-class kids' school down at the bottom of the hill, and with just enough action in the lift base village to keep children interested without straying.  Taos itself is a bit more of an adult/art town, and such is even more the case in Santa Fe, save for the Children's Museum and such. All-adult families, like groups of friends, do well here too.
Getting here is the main problem for groups, and charter buses from Albuquerque Sunport or even a charter flight can solve this problem nicely. Groups larger than 25 will find all sorts of special services, plus considerable savings on lodgings, lift tickets, and other activities. Ski shuttle buses and the excellent Taos Public Transit system in Taos eliminate the need for rental cars.

Taos is a year-round destination, and many of the lodgings are built, decorated, or designed by local artists. Thus, "ecumenical" best describes the over 2,000 beds here. Lodgings run from the romantic ambiance of uniquely decorated double rooms ($150), artist's studios ($300), and suites built around a 200-year old house, down to dorms and doubles at the mini-budget Abominable Snowmansion Skier's Hostel. The last deserves at least a drive by if only for the clever name, and budget skiers enjoy its $15 to $20 beds, double rooms under $40, and free continental breakfasts in winter. It's just 10 miles from the Taos Ski Valley and eight miles from town. There are even teepees for rent at $16 each. Other budget options like the El Pueblo Lodge seem to fill fast on weekends, so reservations are always a good idea. 
B&Bs like the Inn on La Loma Plaza, a great adobe that's nearly 200 years old, can offer wonderful views, fireplaces, and great breakfasts, with some of the best Southwestern food; hand-made tamales and tortillas are amazing breakfast fare. Carey's Studio is the best room, with widows on three sides, a fireplace, and kitchenette. The best (and most expensive) of the B&Bs may be the Casa de las Chimeneas, with their new spa and massage services. Budget B&B owners include some delightful eccentrics who try their hand at artistry in their spare time.
At the posh end of Taos lodgings, the Fechin Inn stands alone. To start, it is only five years old, and while it disappoints some locals who hoped for a clone of the Inn of the Anasazi, everyone's favorite Santa Fe five-star hotel and restaurant, it is first class. It seems a bit like the Santa Fe's Eldorado Hotel, a large, somewhat slicker "modern adobe" style five-star with, it must be noted, a very underrated restaurant. Unlike some of the more colorful historic buildings in Taos, the windows open, showers don't drip, and there's something lively to do in the evening. Rooms run $100 to $200, but suites at $200 to $300 are worth it for the adobe fireplaces and views.
In Taos Ski Valley, over 1,500 beds in condos and lodges are up for grabs. Then too, Village Suites runs to rooms with additional ladder-served lofts above a ski shop for the fit and frisky. South-facing rooms get early morning sun and a view of the runs. At the top end of the market, the Inn at Snakedance offers full services, some rooms with fireplaces ($200), and the slopes are steps away. There is a full range of condos, with the Kandahar Condos ski-in/ski-out options next to the children's center a family choice, and the owner-decorated variety of the Sierra del Sol Condos in the $100 to $200 range.
During summer, camping is available, and there are two RV parks near Taos, as well.

There's a Rio Grande Air 40-minute shuttle from Albuquerque Sunport that lands at 7,064-foot elevation at Taos Municipal Airport ($150 round trip) for those anxious to arrive. However, this misses one of the most beautiful drives through the high desert up past Santa Fe. The drive can be done by airport shuttle -- 1-½ hours to Santa Fe, 2-1/2 hours to Taos. Even those who bus do well to stay at least overnight in Santa Fe.
With good weather it's but an hour or so's drive through rolling hills, with Santa Fe a logical spot to stop for the night and start to acclimate to the altitude. While there is a cutoff that bypasses Santa Fe and saves 10 minutes or so on the way to Tahoe, there's too much in Santa Fe to miss. Overnights in Santa Fe avoid driving on what's sometimes an icy road from Santa Fe to Taos after dark. With dry pavement, Taos is but an hour and a quarter on a most scenic two-lane road along the river, with Taos Ski Valley 30 minutes further.
Very wise visitors might plan two or three days in Santa Fe before the ski trip, with perhaps a short warm-up at the local hill to help acclimate to altitude. Hanging out in Taos at above 7,000 feet before hitting the peaks helps too, but few destinations in the Southwest offer as much art, food, and shopping as Santa Fe, which has rather more of a cosmopolitan atmosphere and considerably larger seasonal crowds than Taos.


"Appropriate to the conditions and modest crowds" best describes the 12 lifts at Taos Ski Valley, operating daily from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from late November through early April. Four quads, one triple, and five doubles handle the mountain, with a couple of surface lifts serving the separate kid's ski area. With a capacity of 15,500 skiers an hour, there are simply no lines during all but the biggest holiday weekends.
Given the number of vertical feet you can ski in a day and the altitude factor, it's clear that high-speed quads might be a health hazard to less than the perfectly fit. As it is, it's not unknown to see fit locals taking advantage of local discount days to flash down the double black diamonds, pile on the lift, and gobble sandwiches on the way back up the hill.

Lift Tickets

Adult lift tickets at Taos run from $32 before mid-December to $47 until March 23 and to $39 until the season ends. Holiday rates from in late December add $5 to the price. Teen tickets are $8 to $10 less than adults; children are about $20 less. Skiers 65 and over get senior rate savings, and those over 70 ski for free.
Multiple-day passes can cut costs $2 to $4 a day, and of course there are many special deals and discounts. Packages come in too many types to detail, with two-dozen different operations in Taos Ski Village between the slopes and town, offering value, romantic/plush packages, family and group packages, and more. Some packages even include air and shuttles to lodgings.
Special Early Purchase Passes -- unlimited and 70-day max -- purchased prior to the 4th of July offer major savings, with some big holiday exceptions. There are a number of other early season and special limitation lift pass options, as well.

Rentals in the Ski Valley and in Taos seem quite reasonable and reasonably uniform, and, except on holiday weekends, fitting goes reasonably fast. There's a huge selection of solid shops, with more high-end equipment than is usual at resorts with less advanced and expert runs. Stay Tuned, Inc., right across from the Taos Valley Ticket office, has at least a dozen models of super-sidecut skis.
However, it's worth trying to have skis and boots fitted early at places like Cottam's, or, best of all, in the afternoon the day before skiing to insure both the best fit and the chance to hit the first lifts and the freshest powder. The closest rental shop to the lifts is the resort operation that offers day rates of $20 for sport, $30 for premium, and $12 for children's skis, with free overnight storage. Renting multi-day for a minimum of thee-plus days cuts $2 off the sport and premium rental packages.
Cottam's in Taos is a favorite shop, as they offer free overnight storage on slopes if you rent in Taos where there are three locations, in Taos Ski Valley, in Santa Fe, or in Albuquerque. They have a very large selection of K-2, Salomon, Dynastar, Rossignol, and Elan skis, as well as cross-country, demo, and high performance packages. They open at 7:00 a.m., so you can get the first lifts up the hill. Day ski packages for straight skis, poles, and boots run around $10. Basic parabolic skis run $20, and performance skis run $25. Junior rates are less. Snowblades and boots are $20. Cross-country skis, boots, and poles, or snowshoes rent for around $10 a day.
Adventure Ski Rentals on Paseo del Pueblo Sur in Taos rents gear for a bit less than in Taos Ski Valley, and you can ask about renting gear in the late afternoon with only a charge for the next day. Plastic seems standard on rentals; otherwise, either cash or ID with images insures the return of rented gear. Note: if you ask you can find rental gear even in summer.

Snow Conditions

Incredible snow that's drier than that in most of Utah's falls is what you'll find in Taos, and the white stuff stays fluffy for the most part, due to the northern exposure. This means bags of powder, excellent rock climbing all year, and more ice climbing than you might expect. Otherwise it's powder city, and the powder stays on the north-facing slopes without icing. 300-plus inches a year is certainly something to boast about.
Storms tend to come, dump, and blow through rather than drag on for a week or two, as is the case in the Sierras. So as soon as the avalanche clearance crew finishes, it's up the hill for 300-plus sunny days (slather on sunblock) -- more than at most other resorts. Snowmaking covers all of the beginner and intermediate slopes, too, with 48 percent capabilities.
In good snow years, spring corn can be wonderful through to the resort's closing date, but it's wise to check on snow coverage in November and early December and after the middle of March.


The usual group lessons at Taos run around $37 for two hours, with morning or afternoon sessions. These are a particularly good first-day choice to help acclimate, and offer the chance to grill instructors about the best runs at any ability levels. The Yellowbird Beginner's Program uses a special lift and slope to teach new skiers basics in a protected environment, with about four-and-a-half hours spread across morning and early afternoon sessions to allow adequate recovery time for legs new to the snow. The cost is $60 for a day, $100 for two days.
Private lessons for one to four run about $95 for an hour, $140 for two hours, $215 for 3-½ hours (half-day) or $360 for a full day (6-½ hours) An Alignment Private lesson defines skier/ski fit with a four-hour session with both a ski instructor from the ski school and the services of a techie from the ski and boot shop. With an hour or two in the shop and the rest on the slopes with a professional observer, the combination of foot analysis, boot fitting, and either Conformable® or Superfeet® footbed and video analysis insures the best gear to skier fit, at about $400.
Specialized lessons include Mogul Mastery at $37 for two hours on the bumps with intermediate, advanced, and expert sessions every afternoon, and Sunday Telemark lessons around noon on Sunday at $35. Gold Medal Ski and Race Camp is just one of several special programs for racers taught by the ski school and Olympic Gold Medallist Deb Allen. There's a December early season two-day program ($60 for coaching, $100 for lift and coaching) and Tuesday Race Clinics at $35 or, for ski week guests, $20.
Most of the instructors come through special clinics for local skiers that allow the Ernie Blake Ski School to find the best and teach the right skills. The resort also offers Alpine and Telemark programs for locals on Sundays and Wednesdays, plus a Sunday Shredders Program through the Kinderkäfig School that's world-class.

Tourist Information

The Taos County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Bureau, Taos Ski Valley, and Santa Fe and New Mexico Tourism facilities can handle most needs in English and Spanish. This has been tourist country ever since artists started arriving before 1900, and the locals will go out of their way to help with maps, directions, and advice about restaurants and such. This is the Southwest, where nobody is a stranger for very long.


Those who fly in from Albuquerque to Taos can rent cars locally, but the Town of Taos' Chile Line runs more or less north and south between the downtown Post office and Taos Pueblo, and east and west starting at 7:00 a.m. Add shuttles to Taos Ski Valley and the odd local cab to the easy walks downtown, plus Faust's Transportation and a half-dozen other firms, airport shuttles, taxis, and tours, and rental cars really are not necessary, except for those who want to access pueblos or other ski resorts such as Red River or Angel Fire.
Taos Mountain runs dozens of free shuttle trips to Taos and Taos County ski resorts, as well.

Overall Safety

Taos Ski Valley has little crime, save for "straying" skis and other gear now and then. The smaller towns have almost no crime, as most residents have deer or elk rifles and an Old West view of the sanctity of hearth and home. The town of Taos has a slightly higher crime rate. Santa Fe is higher still. Albuquerque seems in the low crime range for urban areas, but some neighborhoods aren't entirely safe. When compared to any major urban area, the crime rate seems minuscule.
As always in Ski Country, there's a slightly higher rate of vehicle break-ins in the transition periods between snow season and the dude ranch/rafting summer employment.


Mountain rescue teams are locals who know the mountain, and services are first class. Mogul Medical, right on the slopes, offers a full-service medical facility that specializes in altitude sickness and sports injuries and offers x-rays, pharmaceuticals, and oxygen rentals during the ski season.
In Taos there's Holy Cross, a full-service hospital, and several doctors groups; the locals get lots of practice with ski and rider's injuries and the like. Just an hour away, Santa Fe, given its older and richer population, has every kind of medical treatment known to science and a batch or faith and other types of healers.

International Media

You can find the odd international paper or magazine in Taos and there are a growing number of overseas skiers in Taos Ski Valley. However, aside from Spanish-language local TV and radio stations, there's not much polylingualism around.
Moby Dickens and Ten Directions sometimes have books in languages other than English and Spanish.

Level of Crowds

 You can find the odd traffic jam in downtown Taos -- a town with streets still sized more to wagons than 18-wheelers, where locals complained when the flashing yellow light at the main intersection was replaced by signal lights. "traffic" in Taos terms is waiting one cycle at the signal.
Tahoe Ski Valley is 20 miles away up on the mountain and it's difficult to find crowds on or off the slopes, save perhaps, during the Taos Balloon Festival and the biggest holiday weekends. Locals appear to be fighting hard to keep crowds away by, among other things, voting down an improved regional airport and large developments. So think 1950s with no crowds, no boarders, and no hype.

Rent a Car

Renting a car in Albuquerque is the way to go, because you can drive up 1-25 to Santa Fe and stay a day or three; Taos Ski Valley directions say "exit on 599 north to by-pass Santa Fe," but you might not want to do that. First, because there's so much to see, do, and eat in Santa Fe, and second, because the last hour of the drive from Taos can get very icy at night. So stay, enjoy, and drive via the 80-mile High Road To Taos from Santa Fe via Highway 285 to Highway to 68 to Taos in the mid-afternoon.
Cars also help with the 20-mile shuttle from Taos to Taos Ski Valley, and allow you to access the wonderful 90-mile Enchanted Circle Drive that offers enough old west towns, high alpine lakes, and the wonderful Rio Fernando de Taos to fill a day or more. Factor in trips to Angel Fire or the other ski areas nearby, the vertigo views from the Rio Grande Bridge, and potential pueblo visits going and coming from Santa Fe, and having your own wheels becomes a very appealing option.
Those who plan to stay at the resort and never go down to Taos can survive with the local transport, but skiing here and not visiting Taos is like visiting Vienna and skipping the pastries.